The day after | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The day after

I originally wrote the following almost 4 years ago, the day after my 30th birthday. It is currently part of a scrapbook page I was looking at the other day and I realized the topic went perfectly with Scribbit's Write-Away contest for this month, which I have always intended to enter but never seem to get it together enough to actually write something. So, I'm posting it here to enter the contest, for all of you to enjoy, and also for me to remember the way I felt that day.

August 14, 2004

Yesterday was Friday the 13th. Very appropriate as it was also my birthday...the one that I've been dreading for months...the big 3-0. It seems silly now that I put so much energy into fretting about it because it turned out to be a rather nice day. And today, the day after, I can't say my life has changed in any sort of dramatic fashion like I somehow envisioned it might. Still, it seems as if I have lost something by leaving my twenties behind. youthful innocence, pehaps? Maybe the feeling of immortality? Mostly though, I feel as if I have shut the door on a portion of my life that was filled with opportunity. Opportunity for growth, opportunity for adventure, and opportunity for forging my future. Many of the dreams I had, big and small, were attained in this last decade. I wanted to grow up and become a responsible adult, graduate from college, get married, have a family. Some of the things I did took me by surprise, but certainly helped to form the Lara of today--things like serving a mission, graduating with a degree in music (not theater as I had originally planned), and having a husband who keeps going to school after earning two degrees. Regardless of whether I planned for these things or not, they are some of the biggest decisions I will have ever made....what I did in my twenties will set the tone for the rest of my life.

As I went through the actions of life today, they weren't any different than they might have been last week when I was still 29. We had a slow morning, which is normal for us on a Saturday. I managed to get a load of laundry in, get the girls ready, and do a couple of other minor chores before we rushed out the door to Target. I had to buy two wedding gifts, two baby gifts and a new pair of sandals for Chloe to fit her ever-growing feet. It was already 11:00 and Joel had a meeting at noon, so he ended up leaving me at the store, buying presents to celebrate the milestones of other people...people still in their twenties. After spending way too long in Target and finding no sandals, we walked over to Payless for Chloe's shoes and then waited outside for Joel to pick us up and take us to the wedding reception of my 20-year old cousin. We arrived at 1:30--late, just as they were cleaning up--but Sarah was still there in her wedding gown, looking radiant as every bride should. Bria was enthralled: "Where are your flowers?", "Where is your boy?" (Bria-speak for husband), "Are you married in the temple today?"

It was then that it hit me. My twenties may be over, but the next twenty years will bring me a whole new series of milestones--those of my children. And my role in those milestones? To teach, guide and cheer them on as they walk the path towards their own future-forging twenties. With this new mindset, I know I have much to look forward to, even if it includes the mundane motions of this afternoon (picking up endless toys, doing piles of dishes and laundry, vacuuming and dealing with temper tantrums), because it also includes the memorable moments of today (eating at Wendy's, bathtime, reading to my children and savoring each new milestone with my family).

The most important purchase I made today was not a gift for someone just starting out, but Chloe's new pair of sandals. Why? Because they will remind me that my children are always growing and that they are constantly walking (too often running) toward their futures--and I have MUCH to do to lead their way.

11 comments :

  1. I love your insight. You are such a thoughtful person. Your reflections are always full of such a positive honesty.

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  2. Man, you are SO OLD....
    and thoughtful.
    I guess we get thoughtful when we get old (not that I would know)...

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  3. There are many blogs I read, Lara, but they are usually filled with only the happy things, or how much I love this or that. But the reason I love yours so much is because of how real you are, and how you look at life as I have wanted you to, one filled with laughter, tears, heartaches, and happiness, the whole ball of wax, nothing pretend. And one that is never blaming of others, you are so grounded. It is a blog that is very much loved by many, and many wanting to have the same outlook as you!! Keep it up, my dear.

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  4. I think in our society 30 is supposed to be this monumental milestone. It is really just another year. We push forward and continue our endeavors. Being a mom you have to put your desires on the back burner and your focus on others. I cried when I turned 28, what had I accomplished on my life list? Having a family was at the top and it was checked off. Everything else is icing on the cake. I kind of look at those other things as goals with no age attached to them. Having three kids is huge and you are doing a great job with your darlings.

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  5. Very interesting to read. A few years ago the idea of 30 seemed so far off that I didn't understand why it bothered people. Now that I'm much closer, I'm starting to get bugged. It is just another year in our lives, but it's one of those that really stand out.

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  6. Very cool piece of writing. I love your perspective!

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  7. I take confidence from the fact that the last 20 years have gotten better and better so I have high hopes for the future.

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  8. Wow! You said that so beautifully, and I have tears in my eyes right now after I finished reading it. It probably doesn't help that this is my year for turning the big 3-0! I haven't thought too much about it yet as my birthday is in July. I think I'll print a copy of your letter to read to myself right before my 30th birthday though. Your letter really does show a new, positive perspective on turning 30. Thank you for sharing! For some reason, I had a really hard time with turning 25, but the big 3-0 hasn't hit me YET.

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  9. I loved this post Lara. Especially as I am ever so close to the big 30 myself. I have many of the same thoughts as you shared. I love how you wrapped it all up at the end and focused on shaping your girls future.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this. As my 3o year b-day approaches -- ok, so it's still 1.5 years away, but it haunts me -- I'm glad I read this. I loved the part about your daughter's milestones. Made me all misty eyed!

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  11. Very insightful post. In my case, I've left my 30th birthday far behind (40 is now looming much closer than I'd like), but the opportunities to dream and grow in my own life keep coming - some having to do with my children, but others just for me. You never get too old to realize new opportunities and dreams.

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