Midlife/perimenopause does funny things with my sleep patterns.
It does funny things with a lot of me...
Mostly - it pushes me to question and define and re-define my priorities.
While I don't actually love some of the hormonal fluctuations and the not sleeping, there are parts of this phase of life I DO love.
- I love knowing what's important to me. I spent a lot of years in my twenties and thirties trying to define myself when compared to others. Specifically, other women. I cannot tell you the amount of energy I wasted trying to meet others' expectations... striving after some impossible standard I had created in my head. I never felt good enough. Being in my 40's has afforded me the luxury of owning my own priorities... defining myself in a way that makes it easy for me to say no to certain things and embrace others.
- Part of this self awareness exhibits itself in an ability to not apologize for who I am and what makes me tick... I can tell you straight up that I'm not particularly good at friendship or small talk... but in that honesty, I give myself permission to be with you... fully flawed and completely open about my faults. I won't pretend to be good girlfriend material - but I will be your girlfriend... if you'll have me like this. I won't call you on the phone to chat about the shoes I bought or want to go shopping with you - but I will love you 'til the end of time and drop everything if ever you need me and rush to your side to hold your hand and listen. Isn't that crazy that I can be so good at some things and so bad at others and still people like me? There's SO much to be said for authenticity and acceptance - regardless of whether I look like the girls in the movies... I am confident in my strengths and honest about my weaknesses and make no apologies for either. It simply is what it is.
- I will accept you the same way. I may get frustrated with your weaknesses on occasion, but I have learned to extend grace in ways I never imagined in my younger years. It's all good.
- My relationship with God has taken on a completely new appearance... over the years I've come to see that my sacred pathway can look really different from yours and that it's okay. I will never again in a million years be that woman who leads weekly bible studies and serves on the women's ministries committees... been there, done that. Honestly, it's horrific and terrifying and painful all at once for me. But I can sit quietly with Jesus and revel in His goodness. I can share story after story of God's love manifested in daily grace in my life. I will show up for you because Jesus never fails to show up for me and I will remind you (as I am constantly reminded) that God is bigger than ANY of the crap you have to deal with. He's bigger than depression. Bigger than your financial need. Bigger than the teeny tiny boxes in which we stuff Him. I promise to look you in the eye and agree that life is hard and have nothing more to say than 'I will pray for you' and know in my heart of hearts that I have made a sacred pact in those words that carries more significance and efficacy than all the platitudes and spiritual cliches in the world... I don't begin to have the answers to the hard questions... neither can I begin to wrap my head around the mysteries of God. But I can sit in that tension and marvel that it's not my job to define Him... it's my job to BE like him. So I will love you. End of story.
- I marvel every day at the blessings in my daily life... the fact this I have a career I am perfectly suited for and that miraculously gives me the opportunity to help people change their lives... the amazing, incredible gift of three children who talk to me and share their hopes and dreams and who love Jesus, each in their own unique ways... a marriage that has survived and even thrived for 20 years and a husband whose laughter continues to delight my soul... a 'family' of people God has given me to love even though I do not deserve any of them - even in my introverted strangeness I am surrounded by dear people who know my hermit-y ways and still love me. How in the world did I come to be so blessed?
- Moving forward looks sort of scary and hard as I begin to process and let go of one of my children... This senior year is, I'm discovering, a season of lasts... his last homecoming... his last cross country meet... his last year at home possibly... I honestly do not know how to let go. So I do my best to embrace the journey and open myself to the possibility that our relationship may change in some painful ways before it settles into it's new 'normal'. How do I be a mom to a grown man? We shall see. He's an incredible kid and I'm so honored to know him. But that doesn't make it any easier to pull my sheltering wings off of his soul - feather by feather - watching as I allow him full exposure to the world. How do parents do this without going crazy with worry? Ah... again with the faith... yup. It's hard. But good. Amazingly good. But hard. (Silly tension...)
- I'm working through a personal journey of assessing creativity... for so many years it was such a huge part of what brought me joy and made me tick... and for some reason it just isn't now... isn't interesting... or fulfilling... or important to me at all right now. I don't particularly miss it, but I am curious as to why it's changed so much in the past couple of years for me. I was talking to a friend recently about it and think it may be that all my creative energy is focused on this final countdown I have with my kids... devoted to staying involved and relevant and interesting in each of their worlds... so where I used to make scrapbook pages of their pictures and accomplishments, now instead I am pouring myself into creating moments and conversations and striving to nurture the unique people they are becoming... who knows? All I know is I hardly ever even take pictures anymore, let alone print them or do anything creatively with them. I can barely find the energy to clean my house, let alone decorate it... but it's strangely TOTALLY okay with me right now. It just isn't a priority.
- That said, I have made time lately to play the piano after years of hardly touching the thing. Amazing how cathartic and lovely it is to sit and make music... I have missed it and love rediscovering the soul-strengthening properties of melody and fingering and crescendos and decrescendos...
Thanks for popping by, friend. You are a miracle to me - that you are in my world and care in the slightest about what is in my heart. Isn't that connection in and of itself nothing short of a miracle? Crazy.
Smooch you, friends. Happy Tuesday.