Thoughts, ramblings, experiences and joys of an Alaska girl. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is firmly rooted in the Great Land of Alaska.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On Growing Older

Tomorrow is my 37th birthday. I remember a time when 37 years old seemed so old, almost ancient. I remember a time when 20 seemed old. I was convinced that by 21 I would know everything, and when I reached 21 I thought I DID know everything. Tomorrow, I will be 37, and I realize now that I know very little indeed.

I'm not doing with my life what I thought I would be doing at thirty-seven. I look at the lives of other 37 year olds and am amazed at how "grown up" I think they are compared to me. I have done a lot though. I helped start a church my junior year of high school. I joined the Navy at 19 and served 6 years active duty during Desert Storm/Desert Shield. I married at 20; had my daughter at 21; divorced at 26. I got two degrees, finishing my last BBA degree in management at age 36. I have supported myself and my daughter since my divorce 10 years ago. I moved us all the way from Virginia to Alaska, with no help. I have done a lot of "grown up" things. Yet, I still don't feel I'm where I thought I would be at this time in my life. Does aging do that? Make one wax and wane (what does that even mean?) philosophical? I thought I'd be further financially, career wise, and definitely didn't intend on having the body I have now. I'm in a job that bores me to death and doesn't challenge me at all. In fact, every morning I enter my place of work, I believe I can FEEL brain cells dying. Financially, I'm doing well enough to take care of myself and Kaylee alone, with few extras. I don't have to depend totally on myself now, but I refuse to ever be totally dependent on another, even if I'm married to them. Physically, I sure didn't plan on having a body that looks like I'm still trying to lose the baby fat I gained when pregnant with my daughter (and I can't use just giving birth as an exuse anymore, as she's 15 1/2 years old now!). I'm always telling the kids that "failing to plan is planning to fail." Peeking over the hill at my 37th birthday, I feel like I've failed at a few things, by failing to plan more for myself and following through. I feel like a total hypocrite too when I get upset with them for being lazy and not doing chores, for not being active, for not being vigilant in their studies, for not living up to their full potential. Exactly what right do I have to get upset with them, when I haven't lived up to my own full potential?

I feel old. I know that 37 isn't OLD old, but I feel my age. All that said and done, what now? I haven't gone on that diet and exercise plan I know I need to for my wedding, for my life, for my future. I am still just going home and crashing, instead of heading outside and raking leaves, or doing crafts, or reading, or being productive. I'm still at the same job, no energy or effort being spent on finding another. Honestly, looking at it, those are the only things I feel I haven't been proactive about changing in my life. I know I'm a strong person. I know that my family depends on me to be the "rock," the "leader," the one that guides them into doing what needs to be done. But, no one leads or guides me. I've been so busy guiding everyone else, that I've neglected taking care of myself and being the one who encourages myself to do what I need to do to be where I need (not just want) to be. I'm always telling the kids that if they don't reach their full potential that they have no one to blame but themselves, that they have all the tools necessary to be the best that they can be. I need to preach to myself more, and others less.

I'm not one for pity parties. I don't feel sorry for myself, so that ends the party right there. I'm more upset with myself than pitying. I don't want to get back on here at the eve of my 38th birthday and be rehashing everything I just wrote. I know that all it takes is me putting my mind and energy towards a goal, and I can accomplish anything I set my mind to (oh my god, I'm channeling my mother now, I knew I'd heard that somewhere before). I've accomplished all that I have in my life, on my own. What is to be is up to me, I determine my destiny. I'll have to look at my life like a plan for a successful business and get to work.

Ah, aging.... It really is a good thing. I need a Tylenol after all this hard thinking so early in the morning.

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