Make, make, make.
Give, give, give.
Tis the season to fall out of routine and into sloth, indulgence, mirth, and despair, seemingly overnight. The highs are high and the lows are low. I did not follow my own advice from holidays past, and suffered as a result. Eating, drinking, socializing, lying around in pajamas. It sounds so peaceful, so relaxing. And then the house is a disaster, and somehow I, too, am a disaster: pimpled, lank-haired, moody, tired yet restless. (Basically I turn into a teenager again, albeit a teenager capable of cooking up a turkey dinner for twelve.)
This morning I got up earlyish and met a friend for a walk/bitch session, then went to a yoga class, and therefore all is rosy again.
I can even face, with some measure of equanimity, the fact that today is my last day in my fourth decade of life. Which is a fancy way of saying that I turn forty tomorrow. I don’t feel old enough to be turning forty, but the calendar disagrees. When I turned thirty, I didn’t mind it at all. I was preoccupied, newly pregnant with my third child, and thrilled about that. I enter this new decade with less of a sense of purpose and occupation. Maybe that’s not true. But maybe it is. A decade ago, I was hip-deep in the care of small children and had published my first book. The path ahead looked clear and certain.
The path ahead looks less clear, less certain right now. I admit that freely, even though it unnerves me, a bit. It unnerves me not to know, exactly, what it is I intend to do or accomplish. It unnerves me to be out here looking around with a sense of freedom, wonder, and possibility. It unnerves me, but of course it also thrills me, intrigues me. I think my viewpoint for this coming decade is going to be broader, wider. I won’t be looking down into the faces of tiny, needy creatures looking up, with arms raised. We can talk about so many things, as a family, that we couldn’t a decade ago. We can consider, debate, plan, set goals. I can set individual goals, apart from them. They can set individual goals, apart from us. Or we can set goals together.
I figure I spent the first decade of life mastering the basics: to stand, to walk, to run, to talk, to read, to write, to get along with others.
I spent the second decade of life experimenting: with identity, with relationships, with my own morals and values and sense of self, with education. (I messed up a lot during this decade, for which I forgive myself; and expect the same from my own kids–the messing up, that is. It’s the only way to learn. I’m still doing it.)
I spent the third decade of life framing in my version of adulthood: continuing education, working toward a career, getting married, parenthood.
I spent the fourth decade of life shifting focus and experimenting with identity once again, as the children grew and I began to claim space and time for myself. Sometimes I think the best parts of my day are made up of hobbies, all of which began in the past decade: writing this blog, exercising, taking photos. I feel like I should call them something more profound than hobbies, but I don’t know what. They aren’t money-earning activities. Yet I value them more than almost anything else I do, for the stability and sanity they provide, which colours every other aspect of my daily life.
The fifth decade is a mystery. I want to imagine it as a really exciting decade, with momentum, experience, and confidence underpinning my efforts.
Here’s hoping. And here goes…