Tuesday, October 13, 2015

lessons learned

Today I'm one year older,
{and I hope}
one year wiser.
I was telling my peeps during our starlit boot camp yesterday
that I'd been breaking down my life by numbers,
that my twenties were full of stupidity and a bad long relationship.
I'm thankful for the lessons I learned during that debacle.
I could regret it, the time I spent with a person I knew was wrong for me, but
time is never wasted if you're learning.

Six weeks after the big D was finalized
{and three weeks after I turned 30}
I met my one and only and happily spent my third decade
dedicated to growing our family.
I'm officially half way through this fourth decade of mine
and I can now admit
I was hesitant about turning 40.
What a waste of worry that was.
Yes, its true that now is the time when
things sag and wrinkle,
eyes go bad,
parts fall while numbers on the scale rise,
but the things you gain in your brain
like your outlook on life,
man, I wouldn't go back in age for anything.
I think the 40s, for me anyway
{and I think for a lot of women}
are the time for really figuring yourself out.
Like its time to cut the BS in your life.
You learn to say no to things, to people.
You really think of who you want to spend your time with
and when once you may have overcommitted
to things you were not really into at all
now you pick and choose more thoughtfully.
You know your time is limiting in a way.
This is the stage where you are reminded all too often
how fleetingly short life really is.
I would never imagine this time last fall
the loss that our family would endure.
Our niece was just starting her adult life.
You just never think something like that,
that someone so young, so vital,
would be taken away,
literally in an instant.
Some are taken away over time due to illness,
a long, brutal goodbye.
I've written about this before,
forgive me,
but I will always wonder why,
why x, why not z?
Interchanging names for variables, often z for me,
never does the equation make sense.
I keep bringing it up because I never want to forget.
I'll never understand.
I will, however, spend every day I'm given,
in my forties and beyond,
trying not to take a single breath for granted.
I pray prayers of thankfulness,
both for what we're given,
and for things we are not.
Both are a blessing.
I'm just old enough to see that now.

My youngest son woke up yesterday
and rather than birthday wishes
he told me how he hated Mondays,
school days in general he said.
I kissed my grumpy boy on the head,
noting how he felt like he had grown again overnight,
and told him he had no choice in my house
but to be thankful for school.
I shared with him a story our minister shared
with the congregation during Sunday's sermon,
about a refugee from Sierra Leone who had come to America.
She and her husband had won their country's "lottery" if you will
to be able to come to America to start a new life.
She came to America having never been to school.
At seven years of age she went to work instead of school.
She was nearly my age and didn't know how to read or write.
I was telling my son how this lady prayed for someone
 to help her learn how to read.
She desperately wanted to learn so that she could study the Bible.
She found that person, a fellow church member,
 through a literacy program here in Houston.
I asked my son if he would rather go to work or to school.
I told him how lucky he was to live in a country
where he doesn't have to make that choice,
where his parents are able to provide a life blessed enough
for him to go to school and learn.
Its all in the way you look at things I told him.
You can either look at it as a chore you have to do,
or rather as something you are blessed enough to be able to do.
Life is all about the way you look at things.
I thought my forty fourth year
would bring me a full marathon finish,
a crazy physical goal I set for myself
after completing more half marathons than I can remember
and three triathalons after facing a lifetime fear of water at 41.
I have to say that I learned more from not being able to accomplish
that physical goal than I think I did from actually running 26.2 miles.

 I'm back to running, so happy for each step my body can take
especially now that my steps are without pain.
Instead of beating myself up because my body didn't cooperate
with what my brain wanted to do
I chose, and choose daily, to celebrate what my body CAN do.
The body that made it through two tough pregnancies
 to deliver three babies.
That body rocks at any distance.
Who cares what the number on the scale says any how?
I'm done with a number defining me damn it.
Its more of me to love :)
TMI alert...
not sure but if one's bladder shrinks as they age
but I'm thinking it does
or maybe its my water intake...
anyway as long as I'm oversharing
I'll tell you that I used to complain
when I had to get up in the middle of the night
to use the restroom...
mainly because it would take forever for me to fall asleep again,
still does actually,
but now I think of my friend Yadira's mom
who, before she had a kidney transplant,
used to get dialysis multiple times a week
and I think of my dad who lost his leg two summers ago
from complications of diabetes.
I remind myself to be thankful for legs and kidneys that work.
I'm not perfect, I'm human and hormonal.
I'm not complaint free but I do feel like
my scales are tipping in favor of gratitude.

I'm learning every day and consider myself a work in progress.
I'll also I admit I grew up as a worry wart.
In my thirties something changed.
I worried, yes, especially as a new mom.
But something about the old adage
"worry about the things you can change"
really rang true for me during this time.
Besides with two new babies spare thinking time was nonexistent.
Over the years I've learned to

I've never found worrying to change any outcome any way.
Speaking of praying,
there's a little strife I've been dealing with.
I wasn't going to bring it up because honestly
I try to choose positivity over negative any day
but a huge lesson I'm finally learning is about boundaries.
Setting them, being ok with them, and sticking to them.
Maybe you have someone in your life,
maybe not by your choice,
who is not your cup of tea,
though probably perfectly nice to other people,
but not to you personally for reasons not understood,
who because of twists of fate you're lumped together,
like cubes of sugar who can't dissolve into solution together?
Well I have this dilemma.
One I thought was remedied long ago
but it was brought to my attention recently that its really not.
I was shocked, then sad, and now I'm done.
Life is too short to be around toxic people.

Life in general offers enough drama to deal with.
I wish them well.
I truly do.
I've decided to set some boundaries.
After all I wouldn't take my kids to a playdate with a bully.
Why would I subject myself to the same thing?
Plus my kids are old enough to see bad behavior now and question it.
Its hard to explain to them why adults act badly.
I hesitated to tell my husband I'd made this vow to myself,
this declaration of self care.
He seeks peace above all else in life.
He just laughed and said what took you so long to realize this?
I've been telling you for years to stop trying.
You can't change crazy.
Our family is within these four walls.
We stick together.
All together, all for one and one for all.
Speaking of my sweet husband
he took the day off yesterday for my birthday.
We spent the day together, a date day if you will.
A huge treat while the kids were in school.
While we were out and about celebrating my happy day
I figured out the perfect term for my forties...
I've decided they are my lost and found years.
I felt lost as my 40's began
and now in the second half
I finally feel like I'm finding myself,
my true self,
the little girl afraid of the world
who grew up
into a wife and mother
is now finding who she really is,
and what she really wants to be,
authentic, attentive and true,
learning who to hold close,
and who to let go of.
The good news is that she knows now
that she can change her mind,
that her dreams will morph and that's ok too.
I'd rather dream big than not at all.
I'll share too that, funnily enough,
because my mind is now a sieve
I actually texted myself when the idea of
"lost and found years"
came to me yesterday...
a note to remind myself when I got home.
Forty-five, fearless, and forgetful.
I'll take it.


  1. You go girl!!! Happy Birthday and I hope all your wishes come true this year!

  2. Happy Birthday Nancy! I loved this post. As a 47 year old, I can soooo relate. And yes, with my 40s came learning to once and for all set boundaries. I was only hurting myself and those closest to me by not doing so.

    1. exactly! wish i'd done this sooner...the drama I could have spared myself. oh well. no regrets. at least I learned :)

  3. Happy Birthday Nancy! I like the way you think!

    1. Thank you so much Terry (or is it Terri) not sure how you abbreviate your real name :) either way thank you for your sweet words :)

  4. Happy BIrthday! Funny that I was thinking today how much stronger I am than I was a year ago, when I felt like my whole world had collapsed in a matter of months. I'm changed but for the better. Do I wish things were like they were before? Of course. But I'm trying to build something positive out of the loss and challenges. You keep on truckin', Nancy. Here's to not aging gracefully, but aging however we darn well want to.

  5. Hey There Nancy! I was catching up on your blog tonight and when I read this particular entry, well, I was reminded of why I like you so much. You are an awesome lady! I learned that word awesome from my 13 year old grandson. Well, if anyone deserves to be called awesome, it is you. I just love what you said above. I giggled when I read about how you celebrate your birthday for several weeks. So do I. My birthday is October 13th and I have been known to celebrate for many days. Some pretty awesome people were born in October. Don't you agree. Oh and I am maxine53 on Instagram. Belated Happy Birthday wishes to you my friend.

    1. Hi Maxine! Happy belated birthday to you my friend! I agree some of the best people on earth were born in October :) you and Mary Ann from classic casual home as well! I should have known y'all were fellow Libras :)


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