Yesterday, my overly chatty six year old began our conversation with “Mom? Remember 2,000 years ago when you got married?”. It smarted. Why? Maybe because in the last month the following has occurred. My oldest became a teenager, I realized my eyelids are getting crinkly like post Thanksgiving aluminum foil and I turned 35. (Half way to 70 as my helpful husband points out)
The thing about getting older is, I am finding, that along with the sagging and bagging of body parts that had not previously done so thank you very much, there comes a wealth of wisdom. Having a few decades of life tucked under my Spanx has helped clarify my priorities and expanded my experience portfolio in many ways. Here are a few I’ve learned so far.
1. Be Less Concerned with “Being Nice” and More Honest About Who You Are
Let me tell you something I learned as a girl raised in the South- BE NICE. Be sweet, be kind, be witty but not too witty, sexy but not too sexy and at all costs, be nice. Even though it might kill you, be nice. “Being Nice” means something different in every family but in my house growing up it meant don’t make other people mad. Don’t say what you really think. Go with the flow. Smile. A lot.
While there is nothing wrong with being polite, in fact I consider it mandatory for healthy living, there is nothing right with pretending to be something you aren’t, so others will be more comfortable or like you better, or at all, for that matter. Sorry.
I will never sell Mary Kay or Scentsy, stop asking me. I like clearance sales and coupons and salon manicures. I run, but only sporadically. I like expensive perfume and cheap socks…and I am good with that. I know what I like and what I don’t, which might be even more important. I detest racism, sexism, and just about every other “ism” out there too. Oh and scrap booking, hate that too. Whatever anyone else thinks of that is their business, not mine.
2. It’s Okay to Have Dirty Dishes in the Sink
The older I get, the more I am able to let go of the “Strive for Perfection” mantra that plagues me. (along with the majority of women I know) Women today are under unbelievable pressure to work miracles while looking like super models. Let’s be honest. To do EVERYTHING that needs to be done each day, would require an army of helpers…and then some.
The amount of items to check off my daily “To Do List ” is not realistic. I doubt yours is either. Not really. Go take a look at it. I’ll wait.
Instead of “repaint the kitchen cabinets and resurface the drive way before the kids get home from school”, I am going to start writing “Do the best you can today”. If the best I can do that day is write a book while simultaneously volunteering at my kids school- awesome. But if the best I can do is survive the day and feed my kids Banquet Chicken Nuggets for dinner…that’s awesome too. What a relief that brings. Do your best, that’s good enough. Who am I kidding? “Good Enough” rocks!
If you can’t get to the Good Enough Rocks state of mind, surround yourself with friends who suggest you just wear house shoes and pants to bed if your sheets are gritty and you are too tired to change them. Trust me on this one. Love you Sheri!
3. Good Sex and Good Sleep Make You Look 10 Years Younger
For real. While this blog remains PG, let’s be clear, it’s amazing what liberal doses of rest and sex will do for your outlook on life. No wonder God is fan of both! He is a genius.
Sex and sleep make you feel like a million bucks and cost nothing. (if it’s costing you, something is not right) I know what some of you are thinking or screaming right now “YEAH RIGHT”. You are sleep deprived from child rearing, working round the clock and just plain wore out. Me too but I am learning that by making time for the good things in life, there is more life in me. Cliched, but cliched for a reason! Take off your Superwoman cape and go have a nap…unless your husband is into that sort of thing.
4. The Worse That Can Happen, Can Happen. You Will Be Okay.
The worst thing that we can imagine -can happen. Things even WORSE than we could imagine can happen too. In my 35 years the “worst thing that could happen” has, several times. Although I have been angry and hurt, God has scraped me off the ground and put me back together. He even did it when I didn’t believe he could and I wasn’t even sure I wanted Him too.
Bad things happened. When life couldn’t go on, it did. When I couldn’t bear another day, they came anyway and I lived. I have found that at then end of each disappointing, heart shattering day, there were still more blessings that I could count. God provided, even when I didn’t think He had.
God saw when I didn’t think he was watching. God cared even when I did not believe he truly did. Although your heart may be broken, your dreams ruined, God can mend your heart and give you new dreams. It will take time. Be patient.
Thirty five years of accumulated knowledge has led to some other breakthroughs too. I’ve learned that skinny jeans are not my friend although the salesperson insists that chunky girls look great in them. Just add a scarf! ( They lie! ) I know how to make a chicken piccata dish that is so good, it will make you want to slap your mother in law. I can balance my checkbook, practice spelling words with my second grader, pet the dog and make an art project with my Kindergartner all at the same time and not break a sweat or a nail. I can also say “Tonight this family will be in bed at 8:30″ and stick to it! After all, Mama has plans.
What about you? What have you learned so far?