Finding myself

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This past weekend was Ron’s and my 18th wedding anniversary. In so many ways remembering back to before ‘this’ life of wife and mother is difficult. In other ways it seems like just yesterday that we said ‘I do’.

I generally can track the stages of my life according to decades. I was born near the end of 1970, so the 70’s were my childhood decade. Family photos from those days are full of polyester, mustard yellow and crazy floral patterns.

I was a teenager in the 1980’s, so my jeans were cuffed, clothes were baggy and hair permed. The music was rad and we danced around the living room to the new MTV videos.

In the 1990’s, I was a college student and single professional.  I moved around a lot during this decade, finally settling in the west side of the state. Near the end of the decade, I met Ron and we became engaged, planning a wedding just a few months after Y2K.

I consider the 2000’s a bit of a lost decade in many ways. Abbi was born in early 2001, with Hannah following 20 months later and then Becca as 2006 began. Most of the decade went by in a haze of pregnancy and mom brain as a full-time working mom. Our pop culture consisted of tv, movies and music from Dora, Blues Clues, The Backyardigans, The Wiggles and more.

That brings us to the 2010’s – life as a mom of tweens and teenagers. In many ways I have recovered my brain, but have found myself incredibly busy chauffeuring kids here, there and everywhere.  I am fortunate to be able to work from home with a lot of flexibility.

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I think back on the choices that brought me to this point in my life. I don’t truly regret anything. I love my husband and our girls and our life. Do I wish that I’d followed my mother’s advice and married someone rich? Every now and then as we struggle to pay bills or wish we had a bigger house, nicer car, a retirement plan. It’s nice to dream sometimes. But I wouldn’t trade my life or family away for anything.

Over these past several years, I’ve begun to try to figure out who this person that I am now really is. I’ve discovered that I am still an avid reader, but my taste in books has changed over the years. And I can’t let myself get sucked in to where I read away whole evenings or weekends as I did sometimes pre-kids. Books that I can enjoy in short chunks are the best, and I find myself getting most recommendations from Hannah, who inherited my love of reading.

I’ve always enjoyed being crafty in various ways. Throughout college and afterward, I crocheted up a storm. Everything from baby blankets to a shawl for a friend’s wedding… I also completed a few cross-stitch projects. About the time I was laid off from full-time work in 2008, I taught myself to knit and over the past 10 years have found a true love for this craft. I’ve also dabbled a bit in sewing and hope to again recover enough brain cells to get these middle-aged eyes back into some cross-stitch projects someday as well.

As a child, I was never athletic. I tried – playing soccer, dancing, and attempting gymnastics. I discovered that my mother was correct – our family is just not built to be flexible. After college I dabbled a bit in workout attempts, and played on a beach volleyball team with work colleagues. I enjoyed long walks, but that was about the extent of things. The only athletic pursuits of my ‘lost’ decade were spent chasing toddlers and small children around.

In 2014, I made good on a promise to Hannah and completed my first 5k. It was a mix of walking and running and definitely was nowhere near fast, but I did it. And I discovered that I actually, truly enjoy running. The aftermath of Hannah’s cancer treatment sidelined me for most of 2016, but I got back into running last year and haven’t stopped since. I’ve added in gym workouts and swimming twice a week to cross-train and get my body stronger and healthier. And just over a week ago, I completed my first 10k.

So, who am I – really? A wife, yes. A mother trying her best to prepare these young women for life on their own and learning how to balance parenting with letting go. A book loving knitter who runs. A middle-aged woman who is overweight but trying her best to eat healthier and be active. Someone who’s struggled with anxiety and depression. And has always been shy but more to the extent of social anxiety nowadays. Forcing myself out of my house and comfort zone is still a struggle, but at least I recognize it as such. I have a few very close friends and family. I am trying to blog more again as I figure out who I am and what my story is nowadays.

As we near the end of the current decade, I wonder – what will the 2020’s bring to my life?

Looking forward to finding out.