I'm turning 32 this week, which is a bit scary to me, because this is possibly the last year of my life. Well...according to my mother. When she was turning 32, I distinctly remember her saying, "It's all downhill from here." And I spent the next 12 months worrying that she was dying, and wouldn't reach her next birthday. Of course what she meant was that the carefree life of being 20 was over, and she now had a full family life. Of course, this is purely speculation, because when I asked my mother what she meant by this comment years later, she couldn't remember having ever said that. I'm not sure if that is because she was just having a "senior moment", or that her earlier statement was true and she couldn't remember the first half of her life.
I'm not too scared of being 32. It's an odd realization that all my previous accomplishments keep getting shoved off the podium by present pressures. I'm learning how to get the laundry done and keep the kiddos entertained simultaneously. Learning how to stop talking when I've stopped thinking. I'm learning how to cook kid-friendly meals like mac-n-cheese. I spent most of my 20's thinking that academic knowledge was pivotal, and that cooking gourment meals everynight was a requirement for good living. I'm spending my 30's learning that the most helpful knowledge is how to understand a 2-year old that can only say "mommy", "no", and "why". Or that cooking a dinner of fish sticks and peas is okay. And I'm spending my 30's away from the 40-hour week, in exchange for the 24-7 life of raising kids.
I'm glad to be 32, and I think the exchanges in lifestyle are for the best. Of course, I'm not sure I'll think that when my birthday dinner consists of chicken nuggets and french fries to keep the little one happy. Then again, that's one of the lessons for my 30's - finding more joy in my children's desires than in my own.