Sunday, August 19, 2012

You Can't Go Home

I'm 37 years old.

That age feels terribly old to some, primarily to my 7-year old son and my former high school students.

And it feels incredibly young to others like my mother and my elderly neighbor.

But something happens when you realize that you're caught between where you remember yourself to have been and where reality calls you to be today.

Let me clarify.

Sometimes, I think of myself as that girl who showers, puts a suit on, goes to work, talks to her besties about the boy who's never going to marry her and the latest reality TV show.  I enjoy long hours on the phone with my girlfriends from undergrad.  I paint my toes while watching bad Lifetime movies and listen to the moans and groans of my apartment neighbor getting her groove on.  I go to happy hours.  I date.  I read.  I learn to cook.  And I pine for the days when I'll be a wife and mother.  Oh, and I sleep a lot.

Fast forward to today.  Let's begin with the given.  I don't sleep.  At least not until 10am on any morning of the week.  I don't know where my business suits are.  Anyone who talks to me on the phone has to get really comfortable with multiple interruptions from children begging for something.  And, I don't know what time happy hour starts at.  PS-did you know that they make good wine in a box nowadays?  I cook a lot.  And I pine for the days when I'll return to eating pints of Haagen Dazs while watching bad lifetime movies.

My mom once said to me, "You can't go home."  Not literally.  I know that she'd always take me in if I really needed a place to go.  But metaphorically, you can't go back.

And any longing that you have that life was better then or now is really a farce.  We tend to glamorize and retain the positive memories and conveniently forget the negative ones.

But knowing that you can't go back...I've discovered that there is a way to celebrate the season you find yourself in knowing that there are always trade-offs.

For now, I celebrate the sexy girl who can fit back into her pre-pregnancy jeans and could easily sneak into that business skirt if she wanted, while walking down the street with her brood of three crazy kiddos.  I honor the woman who without sleep can still find time to support her friends and her family even if the support is a bit chaotic.

And mostly, I give thanks for the season that allows me to read "Where the Wild Things Are" instead of Voltaire because I know that while the days are long...the years are short.

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