I feel exactly my age. I will be 33 tomorrow. As far as numbers go, it just sounds lucky.
Payson (aka Knuck) asked me on the car ride home what lessons I took from my 33rd trip around the sun, what I learned in the last year. I told him that it was more of self-reflective revelations that stuck out and that seems perfectly right for your 30s doesn't it? At least in our culture, the 20s seems to be about exploration and adventure, the 30s (and sometimes 40s) about individual discovery, and beyond that more of general wisdom that comes from having decades (and witnessing the rapid change of culture) under your belt. We take so long to grow up, don't we? No judgement. I love and respect the process, it's timeless, though I tend to believe that modern, often root-lacking culture draws it out.
Mary Ruefle says in her poem "Provenance":
I hate childhood
I hate adulthood
I love being alive
Life can seem amazingly dysfunctional on the micro, and utterly blessed on the macro. I hope to someday converge the two. The mid-cro, I shall call it.
I replied to Payson, that two things stand out. One, was shining a harsh light on my coping strategies when under extreme distress. I am not often under extreme distress but I had a period just after our move, the first two months of summer where I was at a high level of crisis management around the clock. After that storm was relieved, I became like a bear in a cave: inward, easily irritated and self-soothing (that is to say self-medicating with food and drink) became priority. It was a highlighter on habits that will need to be examined....when I'm good and ready.
The second, and more positive, realization was my growing skill at advocating for my children. My tendency to avoid conflict or difficult and emotional conversations, were put to the test over the last year. When it came up though for various reasons and with various children, I was able to set meetings, organize my thoughts, and articulate them even if my voice shook....or if I shed tears in the process. I hope to be slightly less emotional when faced with advocacy and problem-solving with authoritative members of the community, but for now I have established myself as a take-me-as-I-am mother who one hundred percent has the back of her precious "whirling dervishes". In quotes because this is the phrase used by our beloved counselor, who showers us with validation that our children are all three cut of all very different yet equal shades of brightness and intensity....there is much advocating for their uniqueness in my future.
Tomorrow is just another day but I can grab it as my own: I will yoga, I will paint my toes, I will be kissed by children, I will buy new underwear, I will eat Chinese food and maybe a piece of cheesecake. Because I love being alive!