Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yearly inventory

Shhhh, don't tell anybody - it's my birthday (August 20th) I'm 39. Really. I know a lot of people say they are 39 because they don't want to admit that they've passed 40, but I really am 39. For the first time. There seems to be some magic line that if you cross 40, you're suddendly old. At work when I ask people the age of a suspect they'll say "in his 30's I'd guess, not young, but not old." But a lot of times when they say the suspect is in his 40's they'll say "he was really old, like 40!" Of course, when you're 18 I guess 40 is ancient. So, part of me is still somewhat freaked out that *I* am almost 40! How did that happen??? Yesterday I was 27 and now I'm almost 40, what kind of sick joke is that?!? But part of me is coming to terms with the fact that I am.... mature. At least chronologically.

Last year at this time, I was like a butterfly in a chrysalis. My son's counselor pointed me to a book that helped me tremendously, and then I read another by the same author and those books at a significant impact on my life. They were kind of new agey which I am not into at all, but there were some huge nuggets of truth in them that helped me better understand my value to God. Those nuggets were basically that a) we all need to accept our own responsibility for the drama in our lives. b) we need to realize that life is messy. Life is about cleaning up those messes, and being ok with the fact that we have to. Whether they are messes we make ourselves, or messes others have brought into our lives by the way they have treated us and the the false things they have taught us. And c) if we don't respect ourselves, nobody else will either. In August of 2005, I took a little trip to Sedona, Arizona all alone. I left my oldest (20 at the time) in charge of the other kids, I got myself a hotel room, and I went. While I was there, I spent a lot of time figuring out just what things I had learned about myself through life, which things were true, and which were just crap. A lot of how I felt about myself was based on these false things that people in my life taught me. I had a step mother who told me over and over again that I had absolutely no sense in anything, a step brother who told me he thought I was retarded, and a dad who didn't tell me anything. So what I learned from him was that I wasn't worth saying anything to. There were other things, but God clearly showed me how those false things I learned lead to some of the poor decisions I've made in life (and honey there have been plenty.) God also showed me that I have been so angry with myself for those poor decisions, that now I was the one being mean to me. I hiked up a mountain in Sedona, and there in the rain, I surrendered all that hurt, all those false things, and all that anger to God. I was finally able to forgive myself for years and years of self abuse. And when I did that, I could feel that God forgave me too, and then it stopped raining, and the sun came out. I was a totally different person when I hiked back down. Like the butterfly who looks nothing like that catarpillar it once was.

One thing I did last year was start a journal that I haven't been keeping up with very well. In it, there is a list of questions that I found in these two books, designed to keep in touch with who you are, where you are going, what is working in life and what is not. I intended to go back and answer them every 3 months, I haven't done that. Now seems like a good time to answer those questions again since it's been a year, and it's also my birthday. So, here goes:

What is your favorite color? Green
What is your favorite food? Chocolate is a food, right?
What is your favorite song? Blessed be the Name by Matt Redman, and Beauty from Pain by Superchick
What is your most valued possession? My Bible, my camera, and the thousands of pictures I've taken over the years.
What is your greatest strength? My simple faith, my compassion for others
What is your greatest weakness? Food, I have no willpower (although, I'm working on that.)
What is your best skill? I'm not sure it's my best skill, but I'm pretty good at calming people down when they are upset
What was your greatest mistake? Believing that I wasn't capable of taking care of myself and my kids on my own. (Last year my answer to this was marrying my husband, but now I clearly see a cause and affect thing here.)
What is your greatest fear? Dying while my children are young and leaving them orphans.
What is your greatest accomplishment? My kids, my job and taking care of myself and my kids quite well for the past 2 years. (Of course I had God's help, but before I had a hard time trusting Him to be able to enable me to take care of my family.)
What is the one task you are least fond of doing? Want the whole list, or just the top 10? I think it's laundry, because while I don't hate it, it just never ends.
If your life ended today, what is the one thing everybody who knows you would say about you? She was strong (they'd be wrong!) and she loved her children
What would you want them to say? She was faithful in serving the Lord
Why wouldn't or couldn't they say what you want them to say? ......Do I have to answer that?

Where am I? A 911 operator in Arizona, an almost single mom of 5 kids. Overall, I'm not unappy with where I am.
How did I get here? Married the wrong person, now I'm healing and recovering so that I don't have to stay here if I don't want to.
What was I trying to accomplish by making that decision? Looking for the love I didn't feel for myself, looking for someone to take care of me and be responsible because I didn't feel capable of doing it myself.
What do I really want? To serve God more, to write, to continue to help my family heal
How can I get to where I want to be from here? Keep trusting God, I don't think I'm on the wrong track.

Things I don't like about me: I'm lazy, I hate housework, mess does not bother me, I can be pretty selfish, I am impatient, I am not outgoing and friendly enough, and I'm terrible about keeping in touch with people, and I'm not nearly as trusting as I used to be

Things I like about me: I am a good mom, I'm a good friend, I can be creative and funny when the mood for either strikes, I am a decent cook, and I'm open and honest.


lori said...

Happy Birthday,

I am now 43 and yes, 39 just seems to be that magic number that everyone goes by. I promise I feel no differently now than I did at 39. It's just a number. I pray you had a good day.

lisa said...

Okay baby. 39 was good, but 40 was mind-blowing. absolutely fabulous! I LOVED turning 40! (I'm 42 now.) And your list of what you don't like about yourself? Um, that's me to a T!

terra said...

You are a most excellent friend.
Happy Birthday!
A day lare & a $ short. ;)

Connie said...

Other than my flowers wilting and my chocolate melting (ummm in a car in August in Arizona is NOT a good place for flowers!) I did have a good day!

Mind blowing huh? LOL I can't wait! (Did I just say that?!)

And Terra, you've been a most excellent friend also! Here's to the next 10 years!

mouse said...

Happy Late Birthday to You. And believe me the 40's aren't bad at all. I am 46 and still don't feel like a grown-up half the time. I know I am I just keep waiting to feel like one wondering when it will happen.