This week I’m 37 years old and while I’m not doing cartwheels about it, I wouldn’t say I’m exactly depressed either. I’m still relatively young, I’m healthy, have a wonderful family and generally a lot to be grateful for.
If I sound like I’m giving myself a pep talk, well maybe I am, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m trying to see an upside to quieten the parts of me that are feeling just the teeniest bit crappy.
The problem is this year has disappeared in a big blur and my personal goals have been pushed aside by larger family concerns. On one hand, I tell myself it’s only a year, but the problem is this has become trend, and I can’t help wondering where my thirties have gone.
The short answer of course is motherhood. My thirties have been swallowed up by motherhood.
The past five years have seen a massive change in the amount of time and energy I can devote to myself and my goals. I find this very frustrating and it’s still something I am learning to deal with. I realise this problem is pretty universal for moms, but that doesn’t make it any easier to adapt to.
My Higher Self Takes On The Ego Driven Bitch
I’ve recently come to see I’m not good at valuing myself and my goals in the face of family commitments. I tend to put my needs on the back-burner, get worn down with my other responsibilities and fall into the easy pattern of just not pushing any further.
After awhile I lose sight of what my goals are. I start to question myself and then the voices in my head move into battle with me acting the tongue tied bystander. Actually, they’re less voices, and more wholly formed personalities with physical characteristics I can clearly visualize.
Higher, Zen Self (HZS)
She’s the thin, smiling one with perky breasts, clear skin, shiny hair and perfect eyebrows. She’s optimistic, emotionally supportive, drinks green tea and actually enjoys alfalfa sprouts.
Ego Driven Bitch (EDB)
She’s the critical one with the big ass, freckles and that ugly frown line between her un-groomed eyebrows. She drinks too much, eats ridiculous amounts of chocolate biscuits and swears like a sailor (apologies to anyone in the Navy).
What HZS and EDB have in common is they are both strong personalities who refuse to give up. They hover around as I go about my week waiting for me to feel tired or under appreciated or vulnerable. It’s usually Ego Driven Bitch who pounces first.
EDB: “Kelly,what is happening with this novel, your career, your life? You’re going nowhere, sweetheart.”
HZS: “Don’t listen to her. I know you’re frustrated and unsure where to go with your writing, but this is a natural cycle of life. Bunny isn’t even five yet. Your time will come again.”
EDB: “Bullshit, do you want to write fucking advertising copy forever? You’ve got to get your shit together!”
HZS: “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve written two drafts of your novel. You’ve started your blog and kept it up. That’s something. That’s more than something.”
EDB: “Yeah, but you’re blog isn’t going to pay the bills, is it? And you’re floundering with the third draft, aren’t you. You’re never going to get anywhere at this rate. Loser!”
They can go and on like this for hours. It’s exhausting!
Taking Stock of My 30’s Achievements
Because I’m trying to side with my Higher Zen Self – let’s face it, she’s prettier and much nicer – I’ve decided to try and get some perspective by taking stock of exactly what I have achieved and changed since I turned 30. Here it is:
I traveled overseas solo for the first time.
I studied Spanish and actually got to an upper intermediate level. (its fallen back since, but with some effort and real Spanish speaking face time, I’ll be rolling my R’s again in no time)
I climbed a volcano to the top and above the clouds, even though I’m afraid of heights.
I’ve weathered major marital storms, like financial ruin, career and lifestyle changes, and estrangement to celebrate a 10th wedding anniversary next month.
I gave birth to my 4kg son without drugs. I’m not saying this should be important to every mother, just that it was to me.
I honored my values and stayed home to raise my son, which has been one of the most emotionally challenging roles I’ve ever taken on. I’ve had to change and grow so much and it hasn’t been easy, but Bunny is most definitely worth it.
We bought our first home.
I moved locations to give Bunny the home, security and family life he deserves, even though I miss my old life in the inner city and I now live nowhere near my friends.
I finished the first draft of my novel, Running With The Dead. The only person in my novel mentoring group to do so by the end of the course.
I finished the second draft of the novel, and I’ve since written some more short fiction.
I’ve managed to earn a part time income (my choice) with copy writing from the comfort of my own home, without having to actually hunt for clients.
I can see what is holding me back in life, but I just don’t have the solutions as to how to deal with some of these things yet.
And lastly, I started this blog and have maintained it for over a year now. I’ve also done all the design myself, which, while not impressive, is an achievement because when I started I had ZERO knowledge of what a blog was, let alone HTML and CSS.
I am sure there is more, but I’ve bored you to death enough, I’m sure.
Do you tend to reflect on your life and your accomplishments on birthdays?
And am I the only one with voices arguing in their head? Please say “No.”
Photo by SeraphimC