Tomorrow I turn 53 (loud and proud about my age) and have spent some time reflecting on some things I’ve either learned or tried to live out being 52. I’m also in denial about school starting so a birthday blog is a welcome distraction to the reality of summer screeching to an end. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order, on turning 53:
On Raising Kids
Two weeks from today, the baby will be moving into her dorm, and we will officially be empty nesters. We have not been perfect parents (but pretty close), but we have been present parents. Being present without being a helicopter parent makes up for all of the parenting mistakes you’ll make along the way.
Bottom line – you have to fight for them. After a week of new teacher orientation this week, I drove to the GA mountains to visit a couple of friends. Was I tired? Yes. Was I thinking about being alone in my empty house for the weekend? Yes. Did I have to arrange for someone to watch the dogs? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes.
Speaking of bottom, let’s talk health. I work out, and I eat healthy. But I am not obsessed with either. If I skip a workout because I want to spend time with a friend and only get four workouts in during the week instead of five, I will not stress about this. Or if I want a bite (or three servings) of dessert once (or five times) a week, I will not stress over that either. I will be healthy most of the time, but I will not let this decision deprive me of relationships, rest, and/or good food.
I read a lot, and I do this for a couple of reasons. First, reading helps me to consider different perspectives which is so important as our country in particular becomes more polarized. Second, reading helps my mind stay sharp (debatable I know). Reading takes discipline and intentionality. Need ideas on how to become a better reader? Check out Reading Deep and Wide.
I began writing because when a student asked me what he should do when he got stuck. I gave him a textbook answer something like “you just have to work through it” but realized I really didn’t know what to do because I didn’t write. I decided to write and change the world with my blog. What I quickly realized was that writing slowed me down forcing me to think and reflect – disciplines that don’t naturally mesh with my type A personality. As a result, I have matured and am a much better writing teacher.
“If you have a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This would be 100% true for me if I didn’t have so many essays to grade. I do not take for granted that I get to do what I love every day which includes every day I sat by the pool this summer.
On Cleaning House
You’d think by 53 I’d have something to say about this, but I’ve got nothing. I’ll save you the pic on this one. Next topic . . . (but check out my new rug that hides even more dirt).
The hubs and I have both changed jobs recently, and our most of our colleagues were shocked, proof that we were all in. Even though we both dreamed of changing long before we did, we committed to stay fully engaged where we were. We did not want anyone saying, “It was time for her to leave; she checked out a long time ago.” Being fully present is difficult for me with my type A multitasking personality, but I am working on it.
It you know me at all, you know I’m all about brunch. Brunch is an out of the ordinary departure from the daily routine and takes two commonplace meals and makes something familiar but different. All of the breakfast or lunch regulars but with a relaxed weekend vibe. A couple of weeks ago we visited friends who have the weekend tradition of the husband cooking his famous french toast and the family sitting around the table for the morning. The great food, reconnecting after a long work week, and bottomless coffee for the win! And if you get to the restaurant first, order me either chilaquiles or shrimp and grits with a bellini; I’m on my way!
If religion is about a relationship and not rules, everyone’s faith journey will look a little different. I don’t have all of the answers on faith, and neither do you. And if you think I’m wrong on that, I especially mean you. Take time to listen to faith stories but refrain from getting upset or judging if they’re not the same as yours.
So for my birthday, this is what I ask for you to try this year:
Go the extra mile for friends
Live a healthy life
Love what you do
Don’t stress about cleaning
Be all in
Live a life of faith
And now, let’s eat cake!