As I approach my 31st birthday (tomorrow), I can't help but think about the changes in my life over the years. I am now full-swing into my 30's and I really am loving this phase in my life. It is hard to believe that it was TEN YEARS AGO that I turned 21. Wow. So here is a little then vs. now reflection.
21 I did what most 21 year old college kids did. I went to a bar with all of my already 21 year old friends and took way too many shots and then threw up. My birthday happened to always seemed to fall near midterm exams, so I am not sure we stayed out too late. But of course there was some kind of party the next weekend.
31 I will be going to the gym, working all day, coming home to my family, plopping my big pregnant belly on the couch and maybe enjoying some sort of special takeout dinner. Then I will go to bed very early to enjoy a massage from my hubby. The thought of taking a shot makes me want to die....so I am pretty happy with this.
21 At 21 I spent a lot of time partying, a good amount of time working out and a decent amount of time reading.
31 I really enjoy working out and being active and spend most of my time wrapped up in things that my kiddos have fun doing. Someday I will read again.
21At 21 I was a full time college student at Umass Amherst. I worked part time at a local gym where I was a shift manager and did a little bit of everything. I think I was also just starting my job working as a sample girl for Red Bull, which was a REALLY fun job where I drove around giving people free Red Bull. I actually worked a lot in college. I even babysat on the side and cleaned some people's houses. Had to make that money to spend partying.
31 I have been teaching full time for 9 years now. I have never taken more than 2 months off (to have Liam) and have always taught 8th grade English. I enjoy my job despite the fact that the kids test my limits. It is a great career and allows me summers with the kids. I am on a teaching team with a bunch of funny guys and we have a good dynamic going.
21 I did have a boyfriend at 21. He was a nice guy who I probably should have just been friends with. We spent most of our time together hanging out with friends. He was also an education major and though I am not sure we were in love, I certainly could have done worse. I enjoyed our time together but we were not each others "one" by a long shot.
31 I have been married for just about 5 years and have known my husband for 7. From the day I met him he was my "one" and immediately became my best friend. We are happier now than we have ever been, mostly because we learned what really matters and we really just live for our own little family. One of the best parts of marriage is when you are all (the kids and us) together in a room, or in a car, or whatever and you look around and realize all I ever really need in this world is right here with me. I am looking forward to the rest of our 30's together now that we are almost at the point where our family is complete.
21 At 21 I ate way too much junk and drank WAY too much alcohol. I was lucky to have a good metabolism and to work at a gym. Staying in decent shape was my only saving grace. I shudder thinking of what I did to my poor body, but I sure had fun doing it.
31 It took until 30 for me to really get what I needed to do to be the best version of myself. I knew almost all of the facts behind being healthy. I knew what I should eat..I just had to stop making excuses. I am pretty happy with where I am now. I plan to spend the rest of my life staying motivated to be mentally and physically healthy.
Looking Forward to
21 By 21 I was starting to look forward to starting my life. I had 3 years of college under my belt and though I loved having fun, I was almost ready to move on. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and to someday find a great man and have a big family. I didn't know how many bumps in the road I would face to get there, but I knew it was what I wanted. I am pretty sure I was also looking forward to getting my student teaching over with.
31 Mostly now I look forward to watching my kids grow in a healthy and happy home. I think about what else my family will get to do together. Currently I am looking forward to meeting my last baby, getting back in shape and having a successful garden this summer. Things are simple and I have most of what I could ever have dreamed of.
21Oh, my poor 21 year old self. My 20's were so insane. When I think about all I squeezed into those 10 years (college, 3 different teaching jobs, moving 8 different times, finishing graduate school, planning a wedding, having 2 babies) Yikes. But through the course of that time I was able to learn A LOT about myself. At 21 I drew confidence from the people who I surrounded myself with. I think I drank a lot because I did a lot of trying to feel outgoing, trying to be funny, etc. I had great friends, but I am not sure I knew myself very well. I didn't even really know what I liked vs. what I didn't like. At 21 I was just trying to figure out who I was and I didn't really love myself yet, because I didn't really know who I was.
31 Now at 31 I feel so much more settled. I know much more about who I am. I am not outgoing, and I am okay with that. I don't like to drink, and it took years for me to be confident enough to say that out loud. I enjoy being at home with my husband and I feel good about the fact that I am a good person who tries hard at what I do. I am no longer on a journey to find out what my life should be...I am just living that life. I have much more self-worth because I finally understand what it is that I truly love and enjoy.
So Happy Birthday to me. 21 was fabulous and exciting and crazy. 31 will be simple and uneventful and happy...and that is exactly how I want it to be.