Today is my first day in my thirties. It sort of feels like going to the doctor to get a shot when you're a little kid. Preparing for the worst, you imagine the needle is the size of a javelin, and you just know the doctor is going to make it hurt. You sit down in the chair, close your eyes, and....it's over? Already? But I only felt a little poke....are you sure that's it? That's how today feels.
I have been agonizing over turning 30 for months now. Something about it made me super uncomfortable. I know that part of it is that I am definitely nowhere near I thought I would be at this age. You know, we make those highly dangerous 'plans' and expect them to just flow through to fruition. How foolish we are.
I definitely thought I would be Dr. Brooke Wilson at this juncture and that I would have a private practice for kiddos with mental illness. I would just be considering marriage, or maybe newly married, and entertaining the thought of children in a couple years. Instead, I'm a child care director, I'm divorced, and I'm a single mother to a 5 year old kindergartner. WHAT IS THAT.
At the time, the idea of a child, of being a mom, scared me silly. I was excited, don't get me wrong, but here I was, just a 23-year-old baby, getting ready to raise my own child. How was I supposed to teach this tiny human how to human, when I was clearly still very much a child myself?
Then I got married, and just like that, got divorced. I don't believe in divorce. Marriage is commitment. It's that all-in, I'm-not-going-anywhere, I-will-follow-you-into-the-dark kind of commitment that isn't a game, isn't a joke. I don't believe in divorce, and I got a divorce less than a year after getting married. WHAT IS THAT.
Then I got kicked out of graduate school. Yes. Kicked out. I filed for divorce, was raising an infant, got an apartment and a part-time job, all in the same month, and missed an assignment. My GPA dropped below the requirement and just like that, I was kicked out of school, frantically waving goodbye to my dreams of becoming a psychiatrist. WHAT IS THAT.
That's how this whole 'life' thing goes. You make this plan, you set up this big beautiful future for yourself, and then, without notice, something deviates from that plan and starts a chain of events that will change every second of your life forever, in very big and very small ways.
Now here I am, one day into 30, and it's all cool. Terrible things happened this year and it breaks my heart every day, but it's going to be o.k. My daughter is a freaking weirdo and is loving kindergarten and life. My job is pretty great and I'm sort of alright at it. I'm in a relationship with the most amazing human being I've ever known. Thirty is going to be o.k. That javelin-sized shot that I was bracing myself for was a barely noticeable poke. I didn't even need a band-aid.
30 is just a new beginning.
Monday, December 21, 2015
When we started this year, everything made sense. Maybe everything wasn't easy, or perfect, but things made sense. I could look around at life and think, "Hey, this is pretty good." I was working 3 jobs, but I loved every single one of them. My family was healthy and happy. I certainly struggled, but things always seemed to work themselves out.
Then Mike's mom got sick. Then I quit my 3 jobs and got one new job. Then Mike's mom died. Then Mike got sick. Then I moved out of my mom's house. Then Mike died. Everything came to a shocking, screeching halt and nothing made sense after that.
I remember pacing in the living room of a dear friend, shaking my fists and screaming at the ceiling about how we can possibly love another person, because everyone goes away in the end, in the most painful of ways.
I remember collapsing into my mom's arms after I spoke my last words to Mike, when he was still awake, and could understand me and knew who I was. He held my hand and told me his missed me and that he loved me.
I remember frantically driving home in the darkness during Labor day weekend, threatened by the closeness of the pain, overtaken by the deep desire to get as far away from it as possible.
I remember driving to his house after he died, so I could say goodbye. That is the pain I will never, ever forget. It's forged onto my soul. The depth cuts almost all the way through to the other side, and no amount of stitches or salve will ever heal it.
Mike was only in my life for 7 years. While he was here, that felt like an eternity. Now that he's gone, it feels like only a split second. I would give absolutely anything to hear his voice again, get another hug, another nugget of his hilarious wisdom, another chance for anything at all.
How can one person touch the soul of another in such a way? How can we possibly allow ourselves to dive into the depths of what we call love? We are creatures full of doubt, full of questions, constantly analyzing the risk of a situation, trying to foresee the outcome. We plan our financial futures to the penny. We buy cars based on their projected safety. We take jobs based on their ability to provide for our lives and our needs, looking into the future for growth and success. What is it about human relationships that causes us to abandon that calculated risk assessment and run headlong in potential heartache?
People that love us give us perspective on ourselves that we might not otherwise see. We choose to see all the things that are wrong with us, on the inside and the outside. When we look in the mirror, we see the pimples, the overgrown eyebrows, the way our noses turn up too much at the end. The people who love us see the way our mouths curve right before we smile. They see the way the lights hits our eyes just so. They see our flaws and they adore them. I think that is what allows us to abandon risk when love comes around. Here is this person, standing in front of you, covered in flaws and imperfections that only they see, hoping against hope that you will look past those flaws to the soul beneath. That is a vulnerability that cannot be conjured.
This year has been deeply, deeply tragic. I can't begin to fathom how this pain will continue to morph and hurt as life goes on, but I hope it doesn't hurt like this forever. I want to love in spite of that hurt. I want to love through the pain. I want the fear of never loving fiercely to outweigh the potential risk. I want the tragedy of all the memories I didn't get to make, to shape the way I love from here on out.