Today I turned 30. The big 3-0. This seems to always be the big one.
You can't wait to turn 10 because then you can do things like stay up late and go into a store by yourself. At twenty you are only one year away from being able to drink. But at 30, life begins.
Thirty is the kickoff of to middle age. At thirty, most people are beginning to settle down, to get married and have kids, to launch in a career or otherwise define who they are. Thirty is when the bills begin to add up and you have to make hard decisions about your life. Thirty is when your perspective begins to change and you see more than just where you are, but also where you have been and where you are going. It is the time you start thinking more about what you are trying to get out of life.
At 30, I am realizing just how hard it is to let go. I have been married 8 years this year, knowing my exceptional husband for an entire decade now. I have an amazing, smart, talented and independent 6 year old little girl who is rapidly gaining confidence in herself as she discovers who she is. I have a wonderful life and I want it to last forever, just how it is right now.
However, life is always changing, we always grow older and are constantly evolving. That includes our children. Zoey is now to the point in life where she is figuring it all out for herself. She doesn't need me to hold her hand or direct her anymore, now she can read the signs. She doesn't ask to be carried anymore because she wants to go in her own way. She doesn't need me to pick things out for her anymore because she has her own opinions.
I am so proud of her and the magnificent lady she is becoming. But we live in a scary world where nothing is guaranteed. I realize that my last post was called "The Mortality Realization." I named it that trying to be witty because it is a title using the same formula as "The Big Bang Theory." (They have titles like "The Vengeance Formulation," "The Large Hadron Collision" and "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency.") Instead, the name really hit the nail on the head. The post was about a fatal traffic accident that happened here in Seattle last week. That is just one of many tragic things that happen all the time. The realization that life is fleeting has been stuck in the back of my mind for a while now.
I didn't even realize how hard this thought was hitting me. It is hard to let her grow up. I don't care what clothes Zoey wears or that she doesn't want to hold my hand, that kind of stuff doesn't bother me. I just want her to be safe. It is a scary world that we live in and I'm just leading her into it to find her way. I'm there of course, and she knows she can always come to me, but I can't always protect her. I suppose I never really could.
Several years ago now, I had three miscarriages. Honestly, that changed my life as much as having children. It is hard to have no control in a situation.
It is hard to let Zoey be her own person and just trust that she will be alright. I know she is so smart and already has a good head on her shoulders. She can navigate around downtown ridiculously well. She learned the bus system here last year as quick as I did. She is careful when trying new things (depending on the situation almost too careful.) She knows more about Pluto than I do. She excels at video games that I don't even understand. She makes friends everywhere she goes. I am confident that she will be great at whatever she decides to pursue. I know all of this, but it is still hard.
I used to be there for her all the time while she was small. We have spent most of our time together from the moment she was born until she went to school. Now, she goes through huge chunks of her day that I know nothing about except what she decides to tell me. It is a transition that is hitting me harder this year than it ever did last year. I think now, I see that she is growing up, developing opinions and feeling confident in her independence. Good. I'm glad that she is. I encourage her and I am proud of her.
Stephen says I need to stop focusing on all the negative stories in the world and start focusing on the positive ones. I think he is right. I just have to live each day to the fullest, focus on what is important in this life and say "I love you" every chance I get.
Wow, I didn't know 30 was going to be so emotional. I'm too young to have a mid-life crisis!