I spent yesterday celebrating turning 30 years old. I got super lucky and it fell on our Wednesday. We spent the morning hiking, had lunch with Grandma, and had the evening home together. Braxton make my day with his gift to me- a steaming bowl of lemon pear soup. I can’t think of a better way I could have spent the day.
I fit in a 6 mile tempo run, and during it (because I am clearly a deep thinker), I reflected on the first 30 years of my life. I don’t know why, but a pie chart analogy came to my mind. I thought about all I have gone through, accomplished, and didn’t quite accomplish. I thought about life in general- after college. Because until that point, things were pretty much catapulted into action for me. I didn’t have to do much but ride the bus to school, then drive myself to Oswego and do well on tests.
After that, I thought I would go to grad school to become a dietitian. It was the clear next step. But when I got there, I got lost. I had no clue what I wanted- it wasn’t school anymore. So I stopped after two semesters. What next? I came home and did a lot of drinking and searching.
I spent my twenties learning about myself. I don’t think the following is true exactly this way for everyone, but I think it happens across the board in some way or another. We definitely gain perspective the older we get.
As I mentioned, I like to picture life as a pie chart. It begins full of ourselves or our own bubble. We might lack the capacity to think of anything else. That’s where I was. My pie chart was all about Jeannine for a while- and because I didn’t want to think about anything but that, I drank a lot to avoid it all. I did not want to feel anything. I was lost in my job life, my love life, and I wasn’t nice to friends and family. I made terrible decisions. I can’t say I regret this time of life- I honestly think I needed it to get to where I am now and to grow (I would never had applied for an escape job in whattheheckisactivities?!). But it had to end. I do regret hurting people so close to me as I went through it.
As I progressed in my twenties, I really found my passion in running. I drank less and I tried to find what it was that would make me happy. For me, it slowly became clear that it was Brian and starting a family. I still can’t believe how lucky I am that he waited for me to go through this mess of a time. Maybe it is gag-induced, but that guy is the love of my life. He loved me when he definitely didn’t have to- when I didn’t deserve it. He is one of a kind.
As we grow into ourselves, we can see better outside of ourselves. Our pie chart begins to fill in with things. I don’t believe we can fill ourselves up with anything until we have a clear(er) understanding of who we are and what we want out of life.
I’ve learned that this pie chart is not a cookie cutter and it fills up at different paces for everyone- some of my friends knew far before I did what they were all about. What makes up my pieces are not what makes up everyones’. Having a group of super close friends and family has taught me this. While my “Mother” piece may be huge for me, it might be smaller in somebody to make room for a career- or it might not be there. We all put our energy into different things, and that is ok. Pieces will change along the path of life.
When we make our activities calendars at work, we always incorporate all the broader dimensions of wellness on our calendar for this reason- everyone has different needs.
These are the biggest specific slices of pie that make up me as of now:
Creative: To scratch my creative itch (this term grosses me out, but it describes it so well), I write. I always have. I think everyone in my family has an aluminum foil frame from me enclosing a poem I wrote just for them when I was little. This is also why I take an extreme amount of pictures and caption them with funny/thoughtful things. If it brightens even one day, it served its purpose.
Spiritual: I am still in a learning stage here, but going to church and introducing my kids to church has reminded me its impact on me as a child. Having this belief makes me comforted knowing there is something to live for, comforted that when people I love pass away, they are not gone.
Running/Health: Obviously, I run. That and healthy eating are my passions. Being a dietitian wasn’t in the cards as of now, but you never know what the future brings. This piece of myself keeps me healthy in both my mind and my body, which is so important now more than ever. I want to be healthy for myself and for my children. Being outdoors in general is the best thing I can do every day. My honest hope is that with this piece of myself, I can be some sort of inspiration to someone, especially my babies.
Social: The relationship with my friends is very important to me- and as I’ve grown, their families are as important as my own. We are all going to be close to each other at different times. Obviously I will form bonds with the ones who decide to become moms, and others will form bonds for other reasons. It doesn’t mean we aren’t friends- the dynamics change, sure. And maybe some fall off the radar because that is life and it is imperfect. It will all fall into place. In learning myself, I have learned I am somewhat an introvert- which has thus helped me immensely understand myself in my friendships.
Family: The family I had before my children- my mom, my sister, my grandma, etc. These relationships are a huge part of my life that I never knew would be back in my early twenties. I am learning that when I get older, so do they. Never take for granted these relationships and cherish every moment. Because you never know.
Motherhood: A huge incredibly vital piece for me. My children have brought a joy to my life I can’t have ever imagined. I honestly feel like they are what I was meant to do with my life. Ash asked me a long time ago when I was lost, “What do you want to DO?” I told her…I want to be a mom. It fulfills me in a way a career could not.
Love: This is separate from family because Brian is the reason for so many of the things I have in my life. He makes me a better version of myself. He doesn’t mention how he doesn’t see the dust on the furniture when I’m dusting for the 35,345 time and he sends me out running when he sees me getting edgy. He just gets me, probably more than anyone.
This is not to say my job or many other things don’t have a place in my life- their pieces are just smaller right now. I love what I do as a career and I am happy going there every day. For someone else, a career is huge. And that’s awesome. If we were all the same, how boring would our world be?
I have learned that we make our own destiny- we are in control of our happiness. What you fill your chart with is the best choice, as long as it makes you happy. There is no wrong way. We put the time for who/what matters most to us. We may have little voices to guide us- be it God, our heart, our head, anything- but ultimately, it’s up to us to listen and make it happen.
Now, I don’t believe I have it all figured out by any means. All of the above isn’t groundbreaking thoughts- I’m certainly not an expert on anyone’s life. I still have so much to learn and a lot more to go through. I have to expand some of my pieces and add some more to grow as a person. When I have more time in my life, I really want to be more a part of my community- to give back. I want to be a little more spontaneous and not so rigid. I hope to become smarter financially. It’s always a work in progress.
Who knows if we ever have it all figured out? Maybe we don’t and maybe that is a good thing. Because then what would we have to strive for?
I spent my early twenties partying and racking up debt on things. I always wanted more stuff- more clothes, more this, more that. I took everything in my life for granted. I spent my late twenties realizing that would never really make me happy- they were quick fixes. I learned to appreciate everything and everyone I am lucky enough to have in my life. To spend time with the people who matter to me and doing the things that light me up, not dull me.
I feel glad that I am finally aware of myself. I truly live as the person I say I am. I never could have said that before. I was always worried about what people thought of me- or I didn’t think about much at all.
Think about your own pie chart. Maybe even draw it. Be honest and see what you want to add to it, where you want to see the pieces bigger or smaller. Or maybe just eat an apple pie- whatever you want to do. It’s your life! And that is beautiful!
The other day at work, we were talking about my birthday:
Co-Worker1: So are you going to have a dirty thirty?!
Co-Worker2: She won’t have a party, she will go hiking.
It made me laugh because that was my plan exactly. Maybe I’m predictable, but I’m really ok with that. Maybe I’ll make up for it and have a dirty 80. You never do know.
Soo there is my nice little tangent about the last decade of my life and I hope it makes sense- pie analogy and all.
I can’t wait to see how my own little chart will change in the next 10 years. But for now, I’m one satisfied 30-year-old lady!!