I've been awake since 2:30 a.m.
This is becoming a regular thing for me and I don't like it. Granted, I went to bed and collapsed at 8:30 last night, but that's beside the point. When you're up at 2:30 a.m. there is just not much to do unless you're up for work.
I've been sitting in my living room thinking for the past couple of hours. Thinking about life in general, and my life specifically. It's my birthday today and I'm one year closer to that horrible number that gave me my one and only age-related freak out when I was 35. (I basically sobbed to my husband "I'm only 15 years away from FIFTY!" as he rocked me back and forth, probably rolling his eyes.)
I really don't think much about aging, at least maybe not as much as I should. I think about life more like a journey that started before me and will continue long after me. I think about how I fit into my own corner of the world and how I affect those who are around me. I also think about how they affect me. Is it good or bad? Positivity or negativity? Do we hold each other up or tear one another down?
My life has changed dramatically over the past decade. I am not the same person that I was at 38 or even the same person I was four years ago. Back then I had two very long-term friends who I thought would always be a part of my life. Now, they are no longer around. I made the decision to end a friendship that wasn't really working because I saw that she had no integrity in the way she treated others. The second one was ended by the other person's actions toward me about something that I had no control over. I ended up with not one person in my corner after that one, except my husband.
My relationship with my husband is better now than it ever has been. We've both learned over 22 years of marriage how to make it work and be happy. Here's the secret: it involved a lot of open, honest, and sometimes painful conversations. It involved putting hurt feelings and ego to the side. It involved giving more and expecting less. And letting go of the past in order to move forward. Neither of us was a terrific spouse before, and we aren't perfect now. But, like life, it's a work in progress.
There are certain milestones, birthdays being one of them, that cause me to reflect on life. This morning I was thinking about who and what inspires me and I came to a shocking conclusion. My life inspires my writing and my friends inspire me. My friends. Inspire. Me. They amaze me. And it was only when I realized it that I thought, I don't think I've ever had a group of friends in my life who inspire me.
I've had (and still do have) some really wonderful friends, don't get me wrong. I've had friends I admired, friends who influenced me, friends who shocked me, friends who made me laugh. I've had friends who were there through thick and thin, friends who showed up when husband almost died, who dragged me away from the hospital and tried to keep me together. I've had friends who I talked to every day and friends who I talked to once a year.
But this group right here, right now, they inspire the hell out of me. Inspire me to do good work, follow my dreams, write the chapters of my own life, and just by god keep it together. They show me every day what life is like when you live as an authentic person. When you are honest about your thoughts and your life with your friends and with yourself. I spent many years of my life not being authentic, trying to be someone else rather than just working figuring myself out. I always tried to fit in, one of the dangers of moving a lot as a kid, and I could morph into almost any situation with no problem. Except one big problem. I honestly had no idea who I was because I was always trying to match everyone around me.
I am so lucky to have these girls in my life. I am so lucky to be inspired and honored to be accepted just the way I am. Of course, they've made me completely unacceptable in general society because I am so used to our talks full of dirty language, brutal honesty, girlie love, sexual innuendo, and a general disrespect for silverware. (I'm looking at you, Beth!) That doesn't matter though, because they made me free to be myself, and that is the best gift you can give anyone.
I haven't been easy over the past 2 years. I know I've been "taking" a lot but I also know that I'm going to do and be better over the next 2 years. So thank you to all my friends. Seriously. You mean the world to me. Keep doing you, and I'll keep doing me. Wait, that sounded dirty....
PS After writing this, I scrolled through Facebook this morning and found these on my feed. It seemed appropriate to share them here.
The secret to a perfect marriage
6 days ago