Feeling reflective at the end of the year
The end of the year is hurtling full speed towards us, and I really want to end 2017 on a positive note, so that I can feel optimistic and excited about the year ahead.
The fact that I turn 37 at the end of the year is making that a little harder! I’m finding myself indulging in a little more self-reflection than usual. I know it’s not a ‘big’ birthday but the fact that 40 is edging ever-closer is certainly making me stop and take stock.
When we’re younger, we want to be older (our four-year old absolutely cannot wait to be five) and when we’re older we find ourselves hankering after our youth again.
Would you want to be 21 again? Sure, the perky body and smooth skin would be nice. But in terms of how I feel, I think my outlook and perspective on life is certainly much more grounded, balanced and healthier in my 30s.
This decade, so far, has taken me on a rollocking-rollercoaster of a journey, thanks to marriage and motherhood. It’s been one hell of a ride. There’s nothing quite like becoming a parent to make you grow up overnight.
Remember who you were before you became a mum…
You’ll hear lots of people tell you, “Don’t forget who you were before you had a baby. You’re still you.” It’s true, of course – you should wholeheartedly remember the person you were before you were Mum.
I love reminiscing and remembering all the fun we had in our 20s. University was brilliant and such an significant part of my life, where I made lifelong friends.
I don’t want to fall into the trap, though, of longing for 21 again. I feel like such a different person now to 21-year-old me. Is that a bad thing? Have I lost my identity somewhere along the way? Did I accidentally toss it out with the ten millionth dirty nappy?
…and realise it’s okay if you’re not really her anymore
Motherhood is completely and utterly life-changing. You can’t deny it. Of course we’ll change, that’s how we adapt and survive. It’s okay to not be precisely who you were at 21.
Lots of things have happened since then to shape who you are now. You may even be a new and improved version of you.
I think the biggest change for me is around my ambitions and aspirations. After graduating, I always presumed I was headed for the big corporate world where I could make lots of money, but I’ve come to realise that it’s just not the life for me.
Becoming a mum really has completely changed my perspective on life. It doesn’t mean I’m any less ambitious, just that my ambition is directed towards a very different goal.
Please don’t ever feel bad, thinking that you’ve changed too much from your old self. Change is good, we just need to accept and embrace it. Most likely, your values and beliefs still persist, and those are the things that really matter and make you you.
Embrace your new self
I’ve reached a bit of a milestone emotionally, and maybe you have too. It’s decision time – dwell on the past and who you used to be, or move on and enjoy getting to know the new you.
I’m very much working on the latter, but it is definitely a work-in-progress. It’s so easy to look back and wish you were 21 again. Honestly, though, you’re actually probably much happier and more content now.
Give yourself some time to think about what truly brings you joy and makes you happy in this moment.
At this stage in my life, I’m finding more joy in smaller things. Peace and quiet, a hot drink, a good night’s sleep, brunch with the girls, yoga, cuddles with hubby and the boy…these are things my 21-year-old self would probably have scoffed at, before downing my (tenth) Vodka and Redbull.
Priorities, passions, ambitions, these all change over time. Remember who you were, but don’t waste precious time longing for the old you. Enjoy and make the most of who you are right now.
It’s not going to be easy to let go of 21-year-old us, but if we can do it, I think we’ll feel so much better. Are you with me?