I am about to be thirty years old. The big 3-0. I am about to journey into a new and unfamilar world called no-longer-in-my-twenties place. Maybe I need to come up with a better name. You get the point, though, I’m sure.
I cried a lot when I hit twenty-five. I felt like I didn’t have anything to show for my quarter of a century I had already spent on this earth. I did not have a college degree, a house of my own, or even a nice car or decent job. I was in the middle of a divorce, living with my parents, working part time at a crappy minimum wage job, going to school part time, and being a single parent full time. I was also one step away from cervical cancer at the beginning of the year. No one thinks about mortality at age twenty-four, or at least I certainly hadn’t until I was forced. It never reached cancer (thank you, Lord), but there was definitely a moment where that was a possibility. There was also a moment where my future fertility came in to question. I didn’t want another child then, but I also didn’t want that choice to be taken from me (ha, Irony, you are clever, indeed). To say it was a rough year leading up to twenty-five is to say that Nevada doesn’t have an overabundance of rainfall in a year. Rough doesn’t cover it. Rough is an understatement. I was a mess, or so I thought at the time.
Looking forward at age twenty-five, I couldn’t see how I was going to ever improve my situation without sacrificing significant time with my daughter. I couldn’t see how I would ever afford more than a hole-in-the-wall, one bedroom apartment, and even that was a stretch. I couldn’t see how I would ever finish my degree. I couldn’t see how I would ever trust a man enough again to let him in to my world.
Here I am, five years later now. I feel like there has been so much that has happened in the last five years. Not only in my circumstances, but so much has happened in me, in my heart and mind. I finally feel like a grown up. I have realized no adult ever has all the answers, and that’s okay. I have realized that having my priorities organized properly is the most important part of my decision-making process. If I have a clear picture of my top priorty (my family, of course), then everything else will fall in line. I can make quick, right decisions if I have my priorities straight. No agonizing over a decision for this girl anymore. I feel like I have a depth of strength and character that didn’t exist at this level five years ago. I feel like I needed to be really unhappy to understand what it really means to be happy. I needed to understand that movies and fairy tales only show the fun, happy moments, and that everything worth having requires hard work. Being happy isn’t something you just magically are or aren’t, it’s something that needs work and perspective. I needed to know that it is okay to cry, but it is not okay to be single-mindedly absorbed in your grief or circumstance.
I look back on that age twenty-five Mindy, and I just want to be able to give her a hug and tell her the end of the story, or at least the story as it is five years later. She struggled through so much and she sacrificed so much for her daughter. She made the best out of a hard situation, and she bonded with her child like never before in the midst of it all. Without those hard, emotional lessons, I wouldn’t be me today.
No one ever has a picture perfect life. Life isn’t meant to be that way. I wish that Mindy from five years ago could see my life right now. I still don’t own a home, I still don’t have a very nice car, but I still have a wonderful daughter, and now our family has grown to include my wonderful husband. I have pushed that man away so many times. I have tried to get rid of him many times in four years so I didn’t have to trust him or open up. I have given him every reason I could think of to just move on and leave me, but he never walked away. He is still here with us, and I don’t know how I found him. He isn’t perfect either, nor is our marriage, but that somehow makes it so much better. We have flaws together and we still choose to love each other every day. He is everything Eva (my daughter) needs in a father figure, and she is as much his everything as she is mine. I couldn’t ask for more. I have a decent, well-above minimum wage job. I have skills and knowledge. I still have parents that love me as unconditionally today as they did thirty years ago.
I look at the Mindy I am today, and I’m grateful for everything I have, every bond and connection I share with the people I love. I look at myself today, and I’m so glad that I made it through. I am so much more aware of the blessings in my life now, at this age, than I ever was before.
Mom and Dad, if you ever read this, thanks for patiently waiting for me to become the amazing person you both have always told me I am. I couldn’t have made it without you both.
Being thirty does sound like a pretty awful number, especially while fighting to have another child (secondary infertility issues, discussed throughout many posts). But, right here, on the edge of thirty, thirty suddenly doesn’t seem quite so horrible.
Eva comes home from visiting her father in California next weekend. What was going to be a non-birthday celebration (I have been refusing to acknowledge I’m turning thirty), will now most definitely be a birthday/Eva celebration!
Best friends (you know who you are), prepare the bonfire and the river next weekend! We are celebrating!
…that is if you’re available, friends. I know this is kind of short notice and all. And well, maybe, we don’t have to mention a number like thirty at any event in the near future. Or possibly for at least another year. Maybe this should be a welcome back Eva party instead. I’m just kidding, of course. I will remind myself of my blessings and quit cringing every time I type thirty. Maybe…