On Turning 36

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I turn 36 today and suddenly I feel old. 30 didn’t do it, even 35 didn’t. But 36? It feels dangerously close to 40. It feels as if I’ve been ripped from my youth and now I need to be a real adult. I can’t claim young and dumb anymore - not that I have recently, but it felt nice to always have that as a backup excuse if I needed it.

As I look around me, at the things I own, the people in my life, my career, I think about how differently life looks than I expected. I know that age is just a number, and I know how silly it is to put age markers on things. But growing up, life at 36 was so much different in my mind than it is now in reality.

For starters, I didn’t want kids. It was never something I had planned or given much thought to. Growing up I wasn’t a babysitter, I didn’t coo over new babies. They were simply a non-issue to me. And now, if we need more evidence of how drastically different my life is from that idea, this blog is basically all about my life as a mother to two little boys who are my whole world. I thought becoming a parent would shift my life in ways I wasn’t open to. To be sure, it has shifted my life, and in some ways they aren’t all pleasant shifts. But they are all shifts I’d give up over and over again to have Henry and Harrison in my life.

Next, living in a small town in Pennsylvania for 8ish years was never in the plans. One of my greatest joys in life is to travel. I love experiencing new cities, new cultures. Brandon and I go away for our anniversary each year and each year I insist on it being to a city I had never been to. By the time I had turned 25, I had moved so many times I lost count. I’ve had a ridiculous number of zip codes to memorize and sometimes I still have trouble remembering my current one, getting it mixed up with one from the past.

But, as I’ve learned, sometimes being a grown-up means having to stay put in one place so that you can build a foundation in both your career and your personal life. I used to dream of living in San Diego or Seattle. But now, having kids, I cannot imagine being on the other side of the country from our families. Our current 3 hours is far enough! More than once the topic of moving back to our hometown has come up and as much as that sounded like the worst idea in the world in previous years, now it just sounds like a way to reconnect with our families and let our boys grow up with their cousins.

Lastly, in high school, I was always a guys’ girl. I had more guy friends than girl friends. But as I grew up, entered college and then the working world, my guy friends were replaced with meaningful relationships with some of my favorite girls in the world. And now, as I enter my 36th year, those relationships are still in place, but because of our locations in the world, and our seasons of life, there are very few of the girl’s nights out that I had always envisioned. For that matter, there are very few nights out with our friends in general. And when they do happen, there are almost always kids involved.

So, life is a little different than I expected. It’s not better or worse. It’s just different. It’s beautiful in its own way. It’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s perfect. And I’m so excited to see what this year will bring.

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This post was inspired by a prompt from illuminate writing - shining a light on the creative within. Join the program by clicking here.