Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
Suddenly swallowed by signs
Lo and behold
Turning mistakes into gold…
~Eddie Vedder, Rise
36 is the weakest you will ever be emotionally. Because something happens when you have children. They tug and pull at you until your heart begins to unravel and what is left is the most tender part of you–the part of you that loves more deeply than you ever thought imaginable. When you are growing up, fairy tales will tell you true love is meeting your prince, motherhood tells you true love is the unconditional love you have for your children.
36 is being the strongest physically you’ve ever been in your life–because it only took you until your 30s to figure out the importance of making your health a priority. And you love it–finding the thing that gets you out the door–grateful to be moving, sweating, and breathing. No amount of makeup will make you feel as beautiful as you do when you are shining from the inside out.
36 is no longer looking for happiness, but realizing happiness is mixed in with all of your life moments. You’ll have happy moments and they will be mixed in with the times when you are exhausted because you’ve been struggling and treading the water of life. They will be blended in with the moments where your heart has been broken–little pieces of happiness mixed in with sharp moments that you have to walk carefully around and through ,so that you aren’t cut too deeply. Because that is what life does–it cuts you and heals you, fills you with both light and dark. Happiness is mixed in all of that and when you are 36, you know happiness is not a destination to get to but a moment you get to hold and then release. And then you wait, because it will be back.
36 is finally realizing not everyone on this earth is meant to love you, or even like you. It’s finally being strong enough to say goodbye to the friendships that never really were–women who are jealous or gossip about you aren’t your friends. And it’s OK to let them go. You realize your focus should be on the people who love you, care about you, and support you. They deserve that.
36 is having full arms, a heart that is sometimes sad, sometimes happy, and grateful for a messy, chaotic life because you know, you really know, this is your one shot, your one and only life, and you want to make the most of it–the ups and downs the joys and sorrows, the todays and tomorrows.
36 is looking forward to a date night with your husband, longing to connect and talk, leaning in, head to head, all eyes on each other. Then you spend the evening talking about your children because during this season in life that is just what you do.
36 is looking forward to two special times in your day: night and morning. When you’ve tucked all your kids in bed and finally fall into your couch, exhausted after a day of living. And when you wake up in the morning to that first cup of coffee that provides the fuel for your day.
36 is finally figuring out you will never quite figure out this parenting thing. You’ll fail miserably and stay up at night wondering if those mistakes are going to mess your kids up, only to be gifted with your children’s grace and forgiveness. And you can only hope when they are all grown up, they won’t blame you for being a bad mom, but they’ll understand you did your very best. When they are all grown up they may critique you and pick apart your parenting saying: I’ll never…and you know they will have their own children and it will be your turn to give them grace and let them know their children will do the same.
36 is being in love with your husband but also knowing love isn’t like the movies. It’s filled with moments of frustration and sometimes anger, sweet moments, every day life moments. It’s knowing your relationship is like a roller coaster of ups and downs and long stretches of straight paths. And it feels the smoothest when you are giving more and asking for less and he is doing the same.
36 is listening to your mom’s birthday message on the phone, hearing right when her voice catches as she tries to hold back her tears. You don’t roll your eyes, because you know, even though your own child is 6, she will be 36 before you know it, and you’ll be leaving the same message, holding back the same bittersweet tears.
This is 36.
Never Give Up,