I turn 35 this month. I find myself doing what I always do in preparation for hitting a benchmark year, I navel gaze and take stock in my life. I was the girl in High School that would sit in her room trying to decide if I should live in the country or a big city. WHAT IF I CHOSE THE WRONG LIFE? It’s as if I had to choose between Steel Magnolias or Bright Lights, Big City. My options haunted me. Life has a funny way of going off course. I never choose, of course, because life doesn’t let you decide. Life happens and we just try to do the best we can with our resources at the time. Real life is messy. Surprisingly enough, after years of my husband’s career uprooting our family, I’m living happily in the country outside of Nashville. Twice a month or more I am in different cities for work. I never chose. I never decided, “I will fit myself into this template.” Life is messy. So I live this strange life of a semi-public figure in a micro-world online. Strange, isn’t it? I always explain it’s like being the best welder at the bar in Gary, Indiana. It’s cool at the bar, but when you step outside no one cares. The bar in this case is never closed. Someone is always ready to give you a hug or give you a black eye. This bar, the Internet, is messy. Balance still eludes me. I’m driven to a fault. WHAT IF MY HUSBAND LOSES HIS JOB? WHAT IF I CAN’T PAY THE BILLS? I stay up late on my Macbook because there is so much to do. I’ll never catch up, but I don’t have to. I’m learning to say, “I’ve done enough.” Forcing myself to turn it all off at midnight, I tiptoe into the bedroom, and slide next to my sleeping husband. His breathing is slow, his presence calms me, and I can finally relax. Fighting the fear is messy. It’s trying to give the kids just the right amount of me that gives me pangs of guilt. I want to give more. More of my time, my focus and energy to them. Work, chores, errands, stress, exhaustion, deadlines, practices…I’m a rodeo clown hustling to keep from getting trampled. How do I give enough love and support while at the same time not overindulge or losing myself in the process? Parenting is messy. The longer I share my thoughts and experiences with other women, the more I find we, more often than not, live the same life. I hit my stride in my thirties. Trading the insecurities and cynicism of my twenties, I’ve embraced the journey and the mess. As I take stock of my life this week before I turn 35, I’m beginning to see the perfection in the mess. Life is perfectly messy.
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