being a teacher, being me

On Turning Older


Birthday card from a student today – one year closer to death, I love it 


I turned 37 today.

Every year I receive an email from myself on my birthday, a letter from the previous birthday reminding me of what is important.  Asking myself the questions we tend to ponder when our birthday rolls around and our own mortality becomes more apparent.

This year I noticed the pattern; are you slowing down?  Are you relaxing?  Are you eating better?  Are you exercising more?  Like the ghosts of long lost new years resolutions, my birthday letters have become reminders of what I should be doing but don’t.

As I see my children grow older, I feel my own years adding up.  I don’t feel old, but I know in the eyes of my kids, I have never been young.  I have never been a teenager, nor an early twenty-something who had no idea what her future would hold.  Instead,  I have always been Mom, someone who seems to have many things to do and who sometimes raises her voice or is tired. Who sometimes misses that amazing dance move or that quiet moment playing.  Who sometimes tries to be everywhere at once and thus ends up being nowhere.  Who never misses the big moments, but is sometimes absent from the small.  Who carries more guilt about how she uses her time than should be allowed for anyone.

And so as I drove home this evening after a day of celebration, it struck me that perhaps I am going about this whole life thing a little bit wrong.  That perhaps it is not about changing habits, although, I should do all of those things, that perhaps it is, instead, about changing my attitude.

Perhaps the change I need to make this year is not to do less work, but instead to enjoy the things that I do more.

Perhaps it is not to slow down, after all, when does that really work for most people, but instead to live in the moment of what I am doing and find pleasure in that.  Because is it not in the mundane details that our lives are lived?

To stop feeling so guilty and instead embrace the things I am doing rather than pining away for the ones I am not.

So for the year ahead, I will enjoy more.  I will not try to fight the battle against time or carry the guilt of all of the habits I cannot seem to change.  I will find the pleasure in what life has to offer, even the details we seem to never notice and be at peace with that.  Be at peace with myself.  That is the gift I can give myself right now.  And for right now; that will be enough.



6 thoughts on “On Turning Older”

  1. You are on the right path. Enjoy those moments because it will brighten your days, even the cloudy one. Pleasure is always there the trick is to see it. Don’t focus on the guilt even though it too will always be there. Smile with the many gifts you have and Happy Birthday!

  2. I’ve wasted more years than you though I’ve been working in different schools at different locations. I’ve focused more on my duty while time and joy flew in front of my eyes. Now rest as I understand is change of work. It’s exactly this that I’m embarking on. I will not only give myself time to heal for all the guilt I’ve been carrying but I will also heal myself forgiving all that I’ve been and done by not allowing myself to be me. I’m going to chart out my daily schedule in a way that I’ve ample time to be in communion with myself. Life is short. Time matters.

  3. You are definitely on to something there! A change to that attitude is what I am going to work on too! Enjoy the moment! It is all we are promised anyway. God Bless!

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