November 22, 2015

number twenty-eight

i often think of the chorus from one of my favorite songs
"that's the way" by jo dee messina:

well, oh, that's the way it is
you gotta roll with the punches
that's the way it goes
you gotta bend when the wind blows
you live you learn
you crash and burn
it's hit or miss
and that's the way it is

do you ever feel like you're waiting for real life to start.
... i think i've been waiting for as long as i can remember.

when i grow up, then real life will begin.
when i graduate high school, then real life will begin.
when i overcome my eating disorder, then real life will begin.
when i finish college, then real life will begin.
when i have a real job, then real life will begin.
when i complete graduate school, then real life will begin.
when i have a relationship and create a family unit, then real life will begin.

the true check marks, though?

i won't be done with grad school for another year and a half. and then *hopefully* i'll get a real job.

but i turn 28 years old this thanksgiving.
that's in four days.
i thought - for sure - by now that i would finally be at the "then" part of my life. that's what was supposed to happen. by at least my late 20's i was supposed to have the spouse and the kids and the dog and the house.

and i see it everywhere... people who have that life.

not just the friends my age, but the younger friends, too.
{because, as friends got married, my new friends kept getting younger and younger}
my facebook and instagram feeds are inundated with evidence of their check marks being marked:
professional photos of happy smiles, toddlers kissing babies, bumps announcing another "bundle of joy" on the way, little families cutting down and decorating their own christmas trees, etc........

i am aware that marriage isn't easy, and that it doesn't simply fix everything.

but i have long believed the saying "no man is an island."
we were not sent to this earth to live by ourselves.
the check marks being marked is what i was taught to dream about, to reach for.
that was the life i was supposed to work hard at achieving.

i was taught that those check marks were my units of measurement.
those check marks would equal a life of success. i wait for real life to begin....

at some point i realize:
waiting for the thens might mean
wasting all the nows.

number 28 looms right above my head... striking fear in my heart.

that fear teaches and motivates me.
i know my future is made up of nows.

nothing will ever be perfect.
life throws punches, remember?
as jo dee sings, "you gotta roll with" them.
"you gotta bend when the wind blows."
i've definitely had my "crash and burn" moments. a lot of them.
but "that's [just] the way it is."

my journey is not even close to what i imagined it would be.
yet, i find beauty and joy in it.
i've heard that it's the little moments that make life big.
i think that's true.

the little moments often involve other people.
because what really matters in life are connections we share with others.
maybe i used to think real life would happen to me...
well, it's happening and i've gotta be the one who takes charge.

heartbreak, heartache, loneliness, sorrow....
the punches, regardless of their type, can hurt.
especially if you fight against them.

i gave a talk in church today about my Heavenly Father and gratitude.
i used the following quote by president hinckley:
never forget that you came to earth as a child of the divine Father, with something of divinity in your very makeup. the Lord did not send you here to fail. He did not give you life to waste it. He bestowed upon you the gift of mortality that you might gain experience - positive, wonderful, purposeful experience - that will lead to life eternal.
i was not sent here to fail.
my life will not be wasted.
i have been blessed with so much.
i love my Heavenly Father.
He knows this birthday marks one of alarm for me.
He also knows what's best for me.

i am single. i am in school. i am making a difference. success can be measured in countless ways. that's just the way it is.