Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chasing the years of my life

I'm fifteen for a moment
Caught in between ten and twenty
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are 
I'm twenty two for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars 

And on the song goes…thirty three for a moment; forty five for a moment; another blink of an eye sixty seven is gone; ninety nine for a moment…

When I’m with my girlfriends I’ve known since junior high and high school, I still feel 17 in my brain. I rarely physically feel 23 anymore, particularly after a night of drinking, but still, it seems like it was just yesterday. Wasn’t my 30th birthday last week? A few times recently I’ve gone to look for a photo in my snapfish online albums only to realize that event took place five years ago, not last year.

Everything goes so quickly, and sometimes that makes me feel melancholy. Mostly it serves as a reminder to open my eyes and look at the sky, to say screw the chores and finish the book instead, to linger over flowers instead of speed walking by them, to appreciate the places I find myself, and to focus on the people I’m sitting next to in those places. To be in the moment, to get off of my phone unless it’s to put something on Instagram (it’s called INSTA for a reason, you hear? Just kidding, not really). You know what I mean. To be there.

Every once in a while I’m sort of startled by the fact that I’m 36, which prompts a gut check. An introspection session. How did I get here? What am I doing? Am I where I thought I would be?

The answer to that is no.

I was not ever interested in getting married, but it was important to a charming man who is important to me. I always thought I’d work on a college campus, and instead I’ve spent the past 14 years building a career in communications and marketing – a career full of great coworkers, bosses, opportunities, lessons, and successes – and I actually like what I do. In my early 20s I couldn't even make a good grilled cheese sandwich and didn’t care about anything domestic, and now I really love being in the kitchen and keeping a nice home. I never thought I’d have dogs that I treated like human family members. So many things are different than I thought they would be when I was 15, 18, even 21. I've taken roads I didn't think I'd take. When I took the wrong roads I beat a path through the underbrush and emerged onto another road with cuts and bruises from the journey. But I did emerge. 

So no, I’m not where I thought I’d be. I think I'm somewhere better than I imagined. My life is not even close to perfect. There are still a lot of changes to make in myself, in my relationships and in my environment. I am responsible for my own happiness. I will always be in a state of flux: constantly improving myself and my surroundings, inviting friends old and new to sit at my table, eradicating people and things that affect me negatively, tweaking my ways, learning, growing, changing, revising as I go. But most days, I truly like my life as it is. I'm grateful for everything. I could literally weep with joy at the quality of the people surrounding me. I'm proud of the life I've built for myself. And that is really a wonderful thing, to take stock of your life and to be content.


  1. Oh...this. Exactly. What a gorgeous piece, Steph. I think it's a pretty rare thing to end up *exactly* where you think you should. Or, if you do, you may not get there the way you thought you would. All of the traffic and roadblocks and technical difficulties life throws at you. I love your reflection on it. Would that I could write this beautifully!

  2. The secret of life is there is no secret, isnt that how the song goes? It's always amazing to take an inventory of your life compared to where you thought you'd be.. I know I am constantly surprising myself too! :) Great post !

  3. One of your best posts, Steph. I really don't have much to say, because you've said it all. And, I'm loopy on Benadryl! Ha!

    Love this <3

  4. Aw, this reminded me of Our Town: “EMILY: "Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute?"

    STAGE MANAGER: "No. Saints and poets maybe...they do some.”
    ― Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  5. Excellent post, as always. Growing up I had no plans to get married, and then I wanted nothing more. Life and what we want out of it is constantly evolving.

  6. AMEN to that! In a lot of ways, I'm in a better place than I thought. But, at the same time, I have to remind myself of that on days when I doubt, and question and feel like I don't really know my purpose.

  7. JMJ! This made me weep. So beautiful!
    So true. Change is the only constant & I love to focus on positive changes. We never stop learning, which is wonderful. I cannot believe you are 36. I have been saying 35 for over a year now. I see you as a successful top 10 best selling author & on a college campus as a professor.
    And the gratitude attitude is the BEESKNEES### Love you to infinity and beyond!!!
    Your MOMMA

  8. I think I really needed to read this today. I can't explain why, but thanks!

  9. Such a great post, Steph! I kind of love that life takes us on roads we never thought we'd take. It keeps things interesting.

  10. love that song and i love this post. it's amazing how fast time flies; there are times i'm so surprised that i'm already 37 going on 38 and it's like, where did the time go?

  11. I loved this post and could totally identify with it. Bravo!

  12. Ahhhh I needed a BEAUTIFUL read like this!!!!!

    Love your heart!

  13. This is a wonderful post and so well written. Love it.

  14. This is wonderful, wonderful. Just wonderful.

  15. I love this!! I so needed to read this today!

  16. What a wonderful perspective. I feel like this too, sometimes I just need a reminder that I'm where I need to be, not want to be

  17. Hello???? Blogger ESP today? Loved this!! And I love it even more that we are BOTH happy and content with being our "age" and girl, we still have a long and fun road ahead of us. Drawn in again with this post!

  18. Great post! I think it's hard for us to sometimes understand that it might not be what we thought, but to look around and enjoy and be thankful...

  19. Beautifully written! I will be 50 later this year, and have been doing a some reflecting about my life lately. Very little has gone as I thought it would, but I love where I am. I am ready for the next 50 years....

  20. Extraordinary blog. I still see you teaching at some point hopefully saving some like myself from using words in the wrong way. Writing a book you know the public needs the stories in you. I have watched you grow, dreamed of what you would be, wished for things I wanted to come true for you and many have and known all along you would be extraordinary and you are. That song from Disney "A dream is a wish your heart makes, when your fast asleep." I seem many more dreams coming true for you and wishes for you made by me!

  21. Theresa - the next 50, bring it!

    Gena and Alison - Thank you!

    Lori and Mom - much more in store! Hopefully a novel! The unfailing support of both of you is fabulous.

  22. Very well said! I think a lot of people are always looking forward to something (summer, vacation, holiday etc) but are not taking the time to enjoy now. I agree that things go by so quickly!

  23. This is wonderful, I really don't think you could have said it any better!

  24. Ahhh, as I get to thirty {six months, boo} I notice I reflect A LOT more than I ever did. I'm not at all where I thought I'd be but man, do I love the hell out of my life. Most days, anyway

  25. I'm a little late to the party, but I totally agree with this. I was never the person who had a plan of where I would be...loosely, yes, but I don't think I ever really imagined in my head where I would be in 5, 10, 15 years. Had I thought about it, I'm not sure that plan would fit what I am doing now.

    I wonder often how I got to be's like it snuck up on me. It seems like I was just 25 and now all of a sudden I'm in my 30s.

    Love your new pictures on your header too!

  26. Beautiful post, Stephanie! I never understood five year plans, myself. It's great just to enjoy where you are! So well said. And I love your new header! :)


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