Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Bobbing Years that Transition

Growing up is hard. Navigating life and emotions is even more of a difficult task. There's always a tight rope balancing act from one stage of maturity to the next. Pushed into the forward direction, while simultaneously and frantically trying to hold your grip on to the previous stage. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, I have never felt such indifference between stages.

Early twenties life was so carefree and easy without children. At that point in my life I thought it was incredibly overwhelming. Working non-stop while blazing through a full college schedule in order to get to my overall theme of professionalism. Paying my tuition in stacks of one dollar bills that were earned honestly waiting tables. I had a solid support system of friends that I worked with and spent countless hours traveling back roads in the fall air screaming music lyrics. At the time I didn't know it, but it was the most carefree time in my entire life. All I had to do was work and absorb knowledge. Mike had just started policing, so him and I were splitting stages in life. He was into his professional career and I was busy rolling myself in poison ivy and sipping sweet tea with our best of friends Keri and Clay. What an amazing time.

My mid twenties were messy. I'm not fully ready to describe how difficult and messy they were in Graduate School. Being away from home. Having children. That is a completely different story.

Now I find myself in this weird mid twenties life. I am a full professional so I am launched into daily life of older professionals who have accomplished everything in life for the most part, while I am at the baby beginning in the scheme of work life. At home I am the full time parent who is always there. Since Mike works nights him being home with our boys especially in the evening hours is few and far between. My boys rely on me to be their protector, provider, and nurturer. I am their everything in that regard. As if these two aspects of life aren't enough, I still have this crazy idea in my head that I will have some time for myself or some time to socialize. I am still being pulled into the younger crowd direction of no responsibility.

Mike and I have more appropriately deemed this the Bobbing Stage. I bob at the surface of the water.Water pulls me down into great responsibility and the other half of me floats with the fresh air for clarity in times of leisure. Some times a fish pulls me under, but mostly likely I'm bobbing between realities. I bob from the younger free and immature self to the older professional one. I don't really fit in either sections fully, but still have aspects of my life that fit perfectly. I think it is very important to keep both sections of your life and not to lose too much of one for the other. Life is all about balance.

This integrates into my next point from a different blog day.

When you're young and dreaming about the possibilities of your life, you tend to dream unrestrained. Life seems limitless with your abilities. Traveling the world or saving lives with your hands, every child dreams of great futures that require nothing but a smile to produce happiness. Efforts are flawless and life falls into place.  As we age and grow older we realize that life is not limitless. In order to turn our lights on to our most prestigious ambitions, we have to darken others. Sacrifices are made and a great deal of effort has to be provided in order to keep these dreams viable. I consider this the whole concept of a coming to age story, which was a term I historically did not understand. I would ponder this concept as I read a book or watched a movie, but the whole time I never understood fully. I understood the struggle, but thought deal with it, it isn't really that bad.

I've had many instances where my life has developed clarity and appreciation for the transition from a young mind to a more mature one and will probably have thousands more of them as I take on each year of growing older. There has never been such a moment of clarity as when I had children. I used to be exceptionally closed minded and decisions were very black and white based. I was quick to judge others, felt like my opinion was the only opinion, and I was exceptionally self centered. As I have gotten older I have realized that this is an incorrect way of life, even though I want to be selfish daily. The task of raising children has put much into perspective for me. I can no longer be as selfish as I want to be and I have learned that others needs really need to come before my own. 

At a younger age I would judge others parenting techniques and balk at my parents own decisions, but have quickly shifted to the notion that everyone is different. Parents make certain decisions based on foresight that no other person can see. Unless you come from a neglected or abused house, your parents are just trying to get by and provide for you the best they can. I can even give partial sympathy to some parents that don't take care of their children because maybe they honestly do think they are taking care of their children appropriately. Maybe they have lived a long line of generationally ingrained decisions that have led them to believe that the path they are taking is the right or best child rearing one. I often think of this when I see young mothers in my office who have children who are unbathed or covered in pet hair. Mothers who I used to classify as not meeting my good parenting standards. I often wonder if they have lived a long childhood of being unbathed or that the only thing they could confide in as a child was a pet because they were abused? Are they providing just a step above what they came from, so they consider themselves a better parent than their parents? I get conflicted with this idea because I try not to judge these mothers, but I get caught up in what parenting looks like to me.   

I digress. 

The coming of age story. When you are just starting out in life as an adult things move exceptionally fast while also remaining slow moving. Tasks get check off the list of things to achieve in life and ten years later you look up from your list of things to do not remembering how you arrived there. Time seems locked for some of your passions and dreams, while the others have aged ten years. This is no exception with my life. My passion for a career aged ten years and so did my ability to handle a growing household with financial responsibilities. My love and devotion to someone for ten years, it has all grown. What has remained time locked are my creative endeavors and passion for hobbies that don't seem like hobbies anymore. People and friendships were left behind.

Its hard thinking about the parts of my life that are frozen and hidden beneath daily life stressors. My mother and I had quite the conversation a couple of weeks ago, which is an amazing feat if you know my mother and her emotional stance on deep conversation. Mike and I had discussed the shift in women when they hit their late thirties and forties. Biologically looking at them one may immediately conclude that women lose their minds in this season of life because of menopausal and hormonal changes. I agree it may be part of why women go off the deep end, but I don't feel it is explained fully with that concept. My mother and I were discussing how many women peak from adolescence into child rearing in one smooth movement. One week you are at your peak and as attractive as you will ever be in your early twenties or late teens. Time seems endless and the world is your oyster. Life is selfish and everything is seemingly only about yourself. Then BAM marriage and early pregnancy. Suddenly you are kicked off your peak of teenage beauty and set into a deep valley of child rearing. All beauty products dissipate and your life is very much one sided. Your significant other works long hours to provide for you and is barely home. You are stuck at home raising an infant. Your only tie to the outside world is grocery shopping. You are isolated. I'm not really sure where this change in child rearing happened. It seems that fifty years ago community child rearing was in. Now families seem to be isolated from one another and there's constant competition as to whose rearing practices are superior.

Mothers get tied down in everyday life and much of what is happening is endless. The same daily rituals of the home are daunting and it seems there is no end in sight. The next eighteen years are going to be the exact same as what they are today. I feel women get lost in this and can't communicate that they feel like they have no workable place in society. They have no personal goals of their own at this point. At least that is the way it was explained between my mother and I. They feel lost and in a sea of low self worth. They lose what is interesting to them because their only hobbies involve their children.

I don't really have resolution to this phenomenon as of yet. This post is more about recollection and growing rather than inspiring with a personal message or working out the worlds problems. All I can say is that life is hard, but all we can do is try to not get lost.

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