Taylor Swift got it all wrong. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. You may remember several years ago (I’m talking good girl, pre-“Reputation” T. Swift) there was a catchy song called “22”, which was about the fun and magic that age 22 holds. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Taylor, but you were mistaken. You’ll get it one day, just like I finally have.
You see, I’ve spent nearly one year being 32. Now, 32 didn’t come with any big celebrations or any fanfare. But it has been infinitely better than 22. Life just keeps getting sweeter. I am fulfilled in a way I have never before been, thanks in large part to my role as Mommy. I know family. I know unconditional love. I know joy. I know myself.
Since I’ve been feeling 32, here are 10 things I know to be true:
- Calm down. My mind is often a maze of “what if’s” and possible worse case scenarios. This is no way to live life! If you can relate, you might feel like you’re getting something accomplished by stressing and panicking about every little thing, but the truth of the matter is that you’re just not. Trust that everything will be okay. Breathe again. Repeat.
- Stop being self-absorbed – not everyone is talking about you. You may notice if your hair looks particularly awful or if your shirt is too wrinkled, but chances are very few other people will. And if they do, they just don’t care. Not every hushed whisper is gossip about you, and if someone doesn’t greet you with a big smile that doesn’t mean they suddenly have a vendetta against you.
- Be a little nicer than you have to be. Treating people kindly goes a long way. When you think about it, being kind isn’t that challenging, but it makes a big difference. The world is full of a lot of bad, and we see it all of the time plastered on the news and social media. Despite all of the bad, there is still so much more good. Most people mean well and are good at heart. They may not show this right away, but if you show them kindness, it will likely be reciprocated.
- Never apologize for the things you like. I have some less than refined preferences. I love boy bands, Dancing with the Stars, cereal designed for 7 year olds, cheesy Hallmark movies, and books of little to no literary merit. Should I feel embarrassed by any of this? Absolutely not. If something makes you happy, enjoy it – who cares what anyone else thinks?
- Be who you are. I am a homebody and an introvert. For many years, I was envious of those with naturally outgoing, gregarious personalities. But you know what? That’s not me – and that’s okay. I don’t have to be the life of the party. Heck, most of the time I don’t even want to be at the party to begin with!
- Emotions are nothing to be embarrassed about. I’m a crier – it’s just who I am. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m overwhelmed. I cry when I’m happy. It’s just my natural response to most moods. We’re often taught that crying is this sign of weakness, but I say that’s not true. Feeling free to express your emotions is not a bad thing, so let it out!
- Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. I am a self-admitted people pleaser. I hate the thought of someone being upset, mad, or disappointed in me. Most of the time, this has translated into me being at anyone’s disposal regardless of my own preferences. There’s nothing wrong with declining an invitation every once in a while – no one will think less of you.
- Sometimes you’re just going to want your mom. No matter how old I am, my mom always seems to know best. She is my go-to for just about everything, and I can only hope that my daughter will also need her dear old mom when she’s 32.
- Embrace aging. Sure, I have a few wrinkles and lines, but that just means that I’ve smiled a lot, I’ve laughed a ton, I’ve shown expression, and I’ve lived! Getting older is a gift. I’ve taken 32 trips around the sun – how cool is that? I pray I am blessed to enjoy many, many more.
- There will always be more to learn. With each year of my life, I grow and learn. I have learned more in the time that I’ve been a mom than I ever knew possible! Parenthood, the great humbler, has taught me that I will never know it all. Just when I think I have mastered a stage, we’re quickly onto the next, and once again, I have no idea what I’m doing! The trials and errors of parenting have shown me that it’s okay to admit you don’t have it all figured out.
What have you found to be true at your age?