As I spend my final day in my 20's, I can't help but think that life is so far from what I pictured for myself. I'm not one who gets especially sentimental about milestones. However, I am having a harder time than I expected. I am (or at least used to be) a very goal-oriented person, though I haven't achieved any of the goals I had set for my 30 year old self.
As I watch friend after friend post photos and status updates about international travels, job promotions, running marathons, and building dream homes, I think about how different my life is than what I expected it to be. I had a fairly clear 10 year plan at age 20 and an even clearer 5 year plan at age 25. Both of those plans included a 30 year old version of myself with two kids, a doctoral degree (or at least pursuing one), a job as a professor or teacher coach, financial stability, the ability to travel the country with my family, and in excellent health.
A day away from age 30, I have no job, doctoral degree, money, or big travel plans. I have twice as many kids as planned, an actual litter of cats, and our home is most always in a state of chaos. I'm at my heaviest weight, prediabetic, and nowhere near running marathons. The only thing I planned that is still my reality is a loving husband. (Thank God for that!)
I don't say any of this as a complaint or pity party. I am very grateful for the unexpected blessings of four children and the ability to stay home for three years. I know there are others who may see all our family pictures and want nothing more than a stable marriage or more children. The grass is always greener on the other side. With that said, part of me still feels disappointed that I haven't accomplished my original goals and I'm not doing the things I had wanted to do at this age.
A friend shared this photo this morning and it struck a chord with me.
I have so much to celebrate from the past decade. Some of the more noteworthy things include:
- spending a full decade with the love of my life, with eight of those years being married
- a healthy pregnancy and an unmedicated, natural delivery of Jackson
- a healthy pregnancy and full term delivery of James, Amelia, and Madeline
- teaching 5th grade for five years
- earning a bachelor's and master's degree in elementary education
- receiving National Board Certification
- forming invaluable friendships with colleagues
- finding my niche among an amazing group of mom friends
- joining a church that challenges and supports me
- exploring the mountains, beach, lakes, and more
- finding confidence and joy in raising toddlers/preschoolers
I may not be ending my 20's quite the way I had envisioned, but I'm proud of the mother, wife, and woman I've become. I'm entering my 30's knowing that whatever plans I create may or may not be what God has in store for me, but I will do my best to celebrate the unexpected moments as much as the planned ones. Here's to a new decade!