Friday, September 8, 2017

7 Quick Takes: On Turning 42 and Other Nonsense

DUDE. I turned 42. As Gianna is not ashamed to tell everyone, I am OLD. Seriously - remember when we thought 30 was old? I'm a carton of eggs older! Truth be told, I do feel old - the grey hairs and hip pain remind me I ain't no spring chicken these days. In spite of this, I have loved every decade even more than the last. Here are a few thoughts that have been rattling around in my head this week as I face another year checked off the calendar...

 - 1 - 

That first decade was pretty sweet, what with being a kid and all. There are days I would LOVE to be five again, learning everything new, wide eyed, sassily telling my friend he spelled his name wrong. I was privileged to be in a loving home and want for nothing that I knew of (though my mom would later share that she felt guilty that in the early years they had to make do with apartments and hand-me-downs). It was a blissful time in the late 70s and early80s. Bellbottoms were making their way out, and neon was making its way in! I loved listening to music on our turntable and cassette player. There are so many fond memories of me riding my bike and going fishing with my dad, or "cooking" with my mom. While it wasn't always perfect, and I was a bit of a misfit, memories seem to make those first years seem idyllic.

- 2 -

The second decade can pretty much bite it. That's right. I said "bite it." This isn't going to a publisher. I can say that. Those teen years can shove it. Awkwardness, nerdiness, mean girls - no thank you! There is nothing idyllic about those years for me. I was a misfit even more so than my elementary years (where I at least was mostly oblivious). Parties I didn't get invited to, boys who didn't ask me to dance (or only did as a dare and a joke), the popularity train speeding by on the express track leaving me in the dust - none of these make me want to go back. I poured myself into school and extracurricular activities, where I found my tribe for those years. The wounds of this decade still play with my heart and mind sometimes.

- 3 - 

I left that teenage decade behind as fast as I could. I dove into college at just shy of 17, so I guess I lump the end of the teens into my twenties. These were my fun years. They were my heartbreak years too, but I met some of my best friends in these years. It was the era of grunge, and we were trying to forge our own paths and redefine ourselves. I was still trying to figure out my place in the world, but I felt freer to explore and not be bound by expectations at this point. At 20, I came into the Church through the invitation of my best friend (and Jesus, of course), but at 21 I lost my father unexpectedly. So...the decade began with some pretty big moments. I got my BA, my MS, and my first professional job by the age of 23 and thought I'd run the world. Oh, those idealistic dreamers - what a pain in the patookus I must have been! Still, my twenties brought a new tribe of friends who would get me through some lonely years...and help me move into my very own house that I bought while still single. I stopped waiting for "someday."

- 4 - 

Enter the thirties. The thirties were the best. As life has it, there were plenty of ups and downs, but I was beginning to feel more sure of myself. The facades I put on began to fade little by little. Though I had come into the Church in my early 20s, I was finally just now beginning to feel like I belonged there. I learned to surrender my life more fully to God's plans. It was in my 30s that I met and married my husband, had my first two babies, and began to dream about life beyond work. As it turned out, I wasn't really enjoying the candle-burning-at-both-ends life where I was working 60 hour weeks, even if it was for the Church. The thirties brought the new era of TeamMcCormick, where we dreamed together of new directions and passions and callings.

- 5 -

Now the forties. I know the joke is that you're over the hill, but I feel like I'm still climbing it! There are still dreams to be chased and fun to be had. I mean, sure, maybe I'll need a walker or a wheelchair to get to the top, but it's hardly a downward slide. Heck, I had a third baby to celebrate 40, so life is going to keep us on our toes for a while yet. I've entered fully into a sandwich generation where I'm raising babies and caring for my mom. That stinks. I don't love that part of my 40s. It is harder than I ever thought possible and my anxiety makes it really hard to do well. I have amazing family and friends helping me out, and I know at the very least that I don't face this alone. There is a certainty of this now in my forties that in years past would have left room for doubt.

- 6 -

It's also in my 40s that I have gained enough confidence in myself to try to venture out with a small creative business. Let's be honest - God has placed more people in my ever growing tribe to make this a reality. The work has been in the background for awhile, but I feel certain that if it is to succeed, now is the time to really give it a go. I get to write alongside my husband, draw and create in my home studio, and work in parish communications - I'm kind of living the dream. If only the kids would stop waking us up all the time! ;)

I'm hoping my 40s bring with it a greater sense of confidence as a mother. I've had more practice at the other stuff, so this is kind of where I still feel like a newbie. There is always a feeling that I'm getting it wrong, but thankfully every day brings a chance for a new beginning. I'm learning to accept and give more grace, to choose mercy over punishment (slowly!), and to pick my battles and let go of my control-freak nature. Yes, of course it's okay if you wear that polka dot skirt with the striped leggings. Sure you can eat apples dipped in ketchup. (If I say these things enough maybe I will believe them!). Any tips from you seasoned pros on how to keep my cool but raise cool & kind kids are always appreciated!

- 7 -

While I am not one to celebrate my birthday with a lot of hoopla, steaks, eggplants, or Hootie and the Blowfish (bonus points if you know the reference!), there is one thing I love on my birthday - Facebook! It isn't so much watching the notifications roll in that people are wishing me a happy birthday, though that is nice I suppose. What I love is seeing the many different facets of my life shared by the people who are wishing me that happy day. From people I have known nearly my whole life, to family I've only recently reconnected with, to grad school, conferences, ministry work, mission work, and so on and so forth - I am reminded how rich a life I have led and how much God has blessed me through those He has put in my path. So, thank you Facebook for that reminder every year. 

So tell me, what's going on in your neck of the woods? How do you like the decade you're in right now?

Until later, get out there and love 'em like Jesus . . . and go visit Kelly to read more quick takes from this week!


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