When i was 11 or so, i had this bingo card. and on it there was a series of numbers. 13. 16. 18. 21. i recall marking that bingo card, circling those specific numbers. it should be pretty obvious why those numbers felt significant. i didnt mark any beyond 21. 21 was as far as i could see into my future. and frankly, as i checked off those significant mile stones, i was pretty sure 21 was as far as i was going to go. or even wanted to go.
well low and behold, as i sit on the cusp of yet another birthday, i did indeed make it past 21. and 31. and holy shit 41.
i remember my dads 40th birthday. or somewhere near about. at some point my dad ended up with his ear pierced. i remember him saying “its cheaper than a porche and less disastrous than an affair”. And i remember thinking, if a pierced ear is all i have to look forward to at 40, then maybe i should really consider that 21 and out thing . . .
but instead i got married. getting married at 21 seemed like a logical thing to do. i was bored. and he was cute and playing grown up seemed like fun. we had an apartment and a dog and a kitten and a recliner. WHY NOT?
so. my 25th birthday. i’m at carlos o’kelly (hey, that santa fe chicken salad, sans chicken ROCKED) with my parentals, and my skinny 21 year old sister who was living some sort of uber fab life, and my husband of 4! years and my two year old and i cant quit bawling. that was mid-life crisis number one.
at 25 i spent my days shopping for gymboree clothes, caring for a toddler that lets face it, at two would turn those big blue judgmental eyes my way and silently judge me for being such a ROOKIE. i used puffy paint WAY too often, i thought flannel and pearl jam t-shirts were acceptable attire for all occasions and i still teased my bangs. (oh dear god. i should totally post a photo but i’m so not going to. use your imagination!) luckily enough my bff’s also had little girls around the same age so we dressed them in matching outfits and took their pictures and in general did the mom thing and in my down time i dusted the tops of the door frames. for real. you could WHITE GLOVE my door frames and baseboards. people. if this is you, even a little bit, GET A LIFE. if you are seriously concerned about dust on your baseboards you are NOT HAPPY.
so thats 25. in actuality, i loved staying home with tay. i loved being the mom on the block that always had juice and snacks and cookies and popsicles and sidewalk chalk and the time to color pictures. it really was awesome.
i had my little snit fit. my OMG I’m 25 moment, moved on and had a few more kids and the next thing i know i’m staring at 32. and just reading that, 32 seems SO YOUNG. but at 32 i decided that it was time for a change (lets not get into that here) and so at 32 I became a “single mom”. and that was actually a pretty exciting (yet terrifying) time. it was a re-branding as much as anything. it was also a form of “mid-life” crisis. nothing like flushing your life down the proverbial toilet and starting over! i ditched the mini van and re-claimed my 2-door sporty car, got a full time job. met new people, made new friends. discovered myspace. (holy shit, that opened up my world!, for real. sadly, for real.)
and now i sit on the cusp of 43. which should feel ancient. and it really doesnt. and after the last freaking year i keep thinking “is this where i have my next mid-life crisis?” because i kind of feel like i’m DUE one. but i dont even feel close to one at all. for the first time in a really really long time i’m actually HAPPY with my life. i’m not tugging and pulling at the invisible ties that bind. i’m not being held back by some relationship that isnt working. i’m not having to compromise, negotiate, maneuver, or give anything to anyone other than what i want, or have. my identity isnt defined by anyone. i’m not just chase, taylor and harrisons mom. i’m not just ms. punch. i’m not someones “partner”. i can do whatever i want, whenever i want. i can go out. i can stay in. i can drink coffee till 3 am. i can have margaritas at noon. i can decide i want to paint. or write. or ride. or nap. or read. at my whim. thats not a bad gig.
i thought i’d be lonelier. as someone who has been defined by a relationship since they were 16. but i’m actually excited and riveted by this exploration of myself (mind out of the gutter people!)
i’m pretty happy to be MLC free for my birthday this year. its not 2 months after being dumped. thats awesome. i dont have to worry about anyone forgetting (again) this year. in fact, i dont have to have any sort of expectation of anyone at all. i can do NOTHING! or i can do something!
or i can let it quietly slip on by, being happy about every last thing this past year has taught me. and saving my next MLC for 50. (jesus 50!. yeah, i can definitely see one at 50.)