Tomorrow will be my 38th birthday. In my mind the big 4-0 looms ahead of me making me feel like I need to get myself together. Last year I admit to having what felt like a pure emotional breakdown in regards to my own happiness and what the hell I was going to do about it. As a wife who only worked part-time outside the home and a full-time mother I was always juggling something, in charge of everything, feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated.
If I was honest with myself I had always held that role. From the time I was a child I was a doer. A fixer. I was the responsible one. I started working as soon as I could find a job when I was 15. At times I worked two jobs while in school. I was often parenting the parent. That was where I fit.
The problem with being that person is that often times (as I’ve experienced through finding kindred spirits who had the same role) you are not wanted unless they need you to fix something. Outside of those moments where you are fixing and doing you are a nuisance. Something to manage. That feels kinda shitty.
The weight of carrying this hit me hard and I was left feeling like my life was not my own, hadn’t been for a long time, maybe ever? I got really good and mad about it.
Okay. I’m done being unhappy. I’m done being ‘the one who does’. So what am I going to do about it?
As an adult I’ve done a good job of saying no when most people would say yes but then regret it. I’ve done well setting those boundaries in most (non-family) situations. I’m thankful for that because I know that things would have been much harder for me if I hadn’t been knowing my personal demons.
I’ve made some strides and I’m still working on others but I’m working my way to getting the life I want. Here are some things I’ve figured out.
I’m just going to go ahead and be me. I’m going to stop filtering myself (you can close your mouth now, shocking as it is I do that). I’m going to do what makes me feel like I’m being my most truthful self. I’ve been working hard at that for several months and it feels really, really good. I’m done hiding.
I’m going to focus on myself more and on my family just a little less. This makes me a better mother. It makes me a happier person. I want to give my family the best of me, but that means I have to have something to give.
My body is the only one I have. I don’t want to be on medications that I can avoid. I don’t want health problems. I want my kids to see a healthy, active me. I don’t want to be the older person who sits all day and says they can’t do because of their age. I want to be the older person who gives those people the middle finger and says “Watch me”. I’m figuring out how to re-work my mind around food and my relationship with it. I’m working out or exercising at least 5 days a week. I’m working on those fitness goals (I’ve got a few). I’m planning active things with my kids so they know this is a family affair.
I’m figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’m writing. I’m not writing everyday (I’m working on it) but I’m writing. I’m pushing myself to go after things in the writing world even though that most likely means lots of rejection. I’m diving in to experience this world of writing headfirst and soak it in. I’m a lover of learning and that’s how you learn. You do.
I’m re-evaluating my relationships. I’m looking at the people who don’t make an effort to spend time with me or make me an important part their life and re-evaluating my expectations of those relationships. I’m making a concentrated effort to allow the love in and the toxic out.
One of the characteristics that make me who I am is how I love those in my life. It takes awhile for me to trust. I’ve had my trust broken and walked on my entire life and I’m suspicious. I’m cautious. Until I’m not. Until I believe that the relationship is true and from a good place. I give a lot of chances. We all screw up. We all hurt the people we love. We’re human. It happens. I forgive those things because I do it too. Sometimes more than the average person because that’s my baggage that I carry with me, not knowing fully how to love. So I take a lot from the people I love. I’m loyal. I will fight to the death for the people I love. Some of those things are good qualities and some aren’t so great.
The problem with being built that way is that when I love someone only to be hurt time and time again, it’s a deep hurt. It’s a hurt that brings me to my knees. So I’m working on that. My expectations. The fact that not everyone is going to do for you what you would do for them. Not everyone is going to want to be close to you in the way that you need or deserve.
Having my needs met is something I’m not good at. I often work for the greater good of the family or group or whatever. It’s draining and painful. And I’m trying to balance that a little better.
So on the eve of this birthday, I’m doing somethings for me with some of my favorite people. I’m looking forward to laughs and love. It’s my birthday weekend bitches.