I can remember when my parents were 35. They were such young parents, and I always loved that because they took us all kinds of fun places, played outside with us, and most importantly, they could remember what it was like to be my age. You see, when my parents were 35, I was 17. So you can imagine my dismay when I think about how old I’ll be, when D is 17. I don’t think we even need to go into it… let’s just say, I’ll be older than 35. But you already knew that, since we’re here discussing the fact that I just celebrated my 35th birthday. Since I love to create memories and keepsakes to cherish for years to come, always inspired by the fabulous Jennifer @ Baby Making Machine, I decided that to celebrate this birthday, I would write a letter to myself. And lucky you, I’ve decided to post it for everyone to partake.
Dear Me, On My 35th Birthday
First of all, I know you can’t stop thinking about how much older you are than Mom & Dad were at this stage in their life. Seriously, stop it. There’s nothing you can do about it and you have a story that’s all your own. Embrace your story, and accept that while it’s different than you thought you wanted it to be, it’s amazing and beautiful just the same. Cherish every moment you’ve been given, even the hard ones, because you know how precarious the future can be. In the blink of an eye, you could end up in the throws of another Crohn’s flare. Think about how much joy D brings into your life, and about how sometimes you catch yourself just staring at him in disbelief at your good fortune. Try to live this next year of your life appreciating all your blessings as much as you appreciate the call to be a parent. As much joy as you have in your life now, taking this approach will bring even more joy and love than you could imagine.
I know you’ve had a hard time with family building. I know your heart aches for another child. I also know, better than anyone, that this is most likely not in the cards for you. It’s time to start facing forward at what adventures and freedom are waiting for you in a life with one child. Already just in the past year, you’ve begun to understand and appreciate that having an only child won’t be the end of the world… but there’s still sadness in your heart and I hope that over the course of this next year, you’re able to see a full life for D even without siblings. You have sisters and you love them; D has cousins and he loves them. It’s hard to imagine a life where he will never fully understand the joy of siblings. But you’ve never experienced being an only child, and I bet there are lots of them out there who are perfectly happy with the life they are living. Trust the Lord, and know that He has a plan for you and He has a plan for D. His plan is perfect, even if you don’t quite understand it yet.
Let’s talk about health… You’re not very good at it. For someone who has faced the health issues that you have, you sure don’t take very good care of your body. I know in the past 3 or 4 weeks, you’ve been working out regularly and that’s great! It’s a great start, but you are 35 years old. It’s time to get serious about taking care of the body that your Heavenly Father gave you. Start feeding your body as well as you feed your son’s. …or your dog’s for that matter. Everybody eats healthier than you. Knock that off, start taking pride in your health and you’ll be happier and healthier for much, much longer. I promise. Because I am you, I happen to know that this is already something you’re taking very seriously, but I still think it needs to be in this letter… just so you can remind yourself if you ever start to give up. I read somewhere that the habits you want to live the rest of your life by, need to be established by the time you’re 40, in order for them to be lifelong habits. I’m surprised they even give you that long… We all should have been doing this way sooner than now.
Last, but certainly not least… your blog. You love it, I know you do. There are so many days that you find yourself wishing you could blog full time, or wishing you had realized that you love to write a long time ago…. back when you were making decisions about what to do with your life. Well, to be fair, you never really did that. But you know now, so consider yourself lucky that you figured out what you love and are passionate about. Lots of people never really figure it out. So now you just have to get the nerve to do something about it. Spend this next year focusing on living your life in a way that will allow you to spend more time on writing and growing your blog and your photography. You know you want to, so just do it. Do it.
35 feels old, I get that… but it only takes one look at couples in their 50’s & 60’s or even 70’s & 80’s to realize just how much more life is left and it’s up to you to make sure you’re living it to the fullest. Embrace every opportunity to enjoy time with your loved ones, and spend time creating opportunities to build memories. Cherish your marriage and your amazing husband. He’s one of the good ones, and sometimes in the day to day shuffle, it’s easy to forget that. Never forget that, always find time to be together and enjoy each other’s company. Nurture your relationship with each other and with the Lord. Let Heavenly Father be the center of your home and watch the blessings unfold. Take care of your body and the gifts that God gave you. Focus on joy, and chase your dreams… I’ll be watching, and I’ll be checking in. Happy 35th Birthday. Go get ’em.