Life. It goes by so quickly. The older you get, the more you change, at some point, life isn't measured by years anymore, it's measured by decades. Ten years feels like a long time when you're barely twenty-years old, staring at your entire adult life like it's just getting started. Before you know it, your bridging forty and laughing at the way you thought when you were just getting started.
How many of you can remember the way you looked at life when you got your first apartment? Or, how you used to think “I have forever, I don't need to worry about that yet”? Then, before you know it, “THAT” is standing right in front of you and you still haven't figured out how to deal with it!
Yes, that's life, my friends. It can fly right by you in the blink of an eye! Before you know it, you feel you've wasted ten-years putting something so important off. Only ten years ago it didn't' seem all that important. As I sit here aging (LOL, sounds strange, but we are). I realize I don't have the same choice Bella did in Twilight. A simple bite from a vampire won't stop life from flying right by us, almost quicker than we can grasp. Nor will I discover the fountain of youth! With this realization, here is a comparison of the two most important decades of my life thus far-oh my how my thoughts have changed!
My 20's Mind vs. My 30's Mind
Going from feeling indestructible to feeling VERY mortal:
In our twenties, we forget that we are very much human and our bodies are very much susceptible to things that can kill you. I don't think I went to a doctor for anything in my twenties, except for when I was pregnant. I didn't get physicals or immunizations. I didn't think it mattered, I had forever to worry about my health. When I got old I'd worry about my health. Afterall, I was so young I didn't need to waste my time at doctors offices to tell me something I already knew! I drove fast without a seat belt, dared to jump off cliff's into the raging falls below and took risks that I would FLIP OUT (and I'm talking world-class, Mom's dead serious flip) on my kids if they ever took!
In my thirties, I had the epiphany that things like heart disease, cancer, or other serious ailments existed and it was very much possible that they could all happen to me. So I started getting physicals every year and getting immunizations. I mean, life was passing by so quickly! The thought that I could already be at my “mid-life” moment scared the bejesus out of me! It's a scary feeling to go from feeling like I was almost immortal not so long ago, now I feel like I'm as fragile as life honestly is! One minute someone is here, the next they aren't. Very scary thought, I know! Taking care of my body suddenly became a priority, I no longer had my entire life ahead of me like I did not too long ago! In my 30's my seat belt became second nature, I bought a pool (heights were no longer for me) and realized I wasn't a kid anymore.
Girls just wanna have fun to a workaholic
My twenties (the first half anyway) was all about having FUN! Thinking back, I probably wasn't the model employee because “calling out sick” to enjoy a day at the beach with my friends was logical. I mean, I was so young! If I wanted to have fun, I was going to do it! When you're younger sometimes you don't take life so seriously. It's okay if my paycheck was short because I soaked up the sun all day and didn't have any clue what “paid time off ” was. I was young, my parents would help me if I really needed it. Besides, I had the rest of my life to save money, all I needed to do right now was SPEND IT!
Then I hit thirty….yep….realizing all the money and time I wasted in my twenties would have come in REAL handy right about now! I no longer felt the same about the “sick” day at the beach, as a matter of fact, I detested the thought of doing that and seemed to know when a younger co-worker was up to no good and doing the exact same thing I did ten or more years ago! Now, I work not one but two jobs to make up for all the “fun” I had when I still had my entire life ahead of me. Sometimes, when I think back I get so mad at myself for thinking the way I once did. I now have a wonderful work ethic and only take time off that's scheduled in advance (and paid with my paid time off). Funny how saving for retirement starts to get important at this point in life, but ten years ago (which I know realize isn't all that long of a time period) it was the furthest thing from my mind!
Realizing MY parents aren't invincible
We all think, especially when we are really small, that our parents are invincible. That they will ALWAYS be right there, or a phone call away at the very least. In my twenties (and younger) the way I treated my parents wasn't as commendable as it is now. I mean, I wasn't crude and rotten at all, but looking back I didn't show my respect as genuinely as I do now. Partly because I looked it at it like they'll always be around, I'll always have tomorrow to say I'm sorry. When the realization hits that OUR parents most certainly will not always be here, it's core rattling. I think that's when everything else about life starts to set in, to be honest. It's a mind, body, and soul numbing feeling to realize that life is that fragile.
Thankfully, both of my parents are still alive and well. Yes, the years are gaining on them and they are getting older. It's certainly core stomping when we realize that our parents won't be here forever, and that life is fragile in so many ways! I still don't see them as often as I'd like (mainly due to distance) but I'm much more sensitive to my parent's needs and feelings now than I ever was when I was in my twenties! I always loved them immensely, but I realize now that they won't always be just a phone call away…
Appreciating the little things
I don't want to come across as insensitive, or uncaring at all. Because I have one of the most sensitive and caring souls that anyone could ever have! However, in my twenties, I took advantage of the little, sweet moments in life that I otherwise wouldn't today. Now, I had my kids quite young. My daughter, Kaya, being my first born, I had when I was only seventeen years old! Yes, I was a teen Mom. That on its own was trying (I'll elaborate on that at another time) but using that as an example. When she was five, I was pregnant with my son, Bryce. Just to use an example to give you an idea of what I'm referring too, I can remember Kaya wanting to come with me EVERYPLACE I went! All she wanted was to be with her Mommy. But, I wouldn't let her come with me if I had the option to leave her behind. Yes, I know, it makes me want to cry now. But back then, I looked at it like I can get my grocery shopping done so much quicker alone (just for example).
Now that Kaya is nineteen and out on her own, I miss her so much. I'd be elated if she showed up and said “Mom, can I go grocery shopping with you?”. When you're younger, sometimes you make your decisions based on what you think is easier for you. As you get older, you realize that it's not about what's easier or quickest, it's about getting quality time with those most important to you. Now, whenever Bryce asks to go to the store with me, I say yes. Because I'm older, wiser, and realize that even if he's asking for things or it takes thirty-minutes longer to do because he's with me, it's okay. Because we are both getting one on one time with each other. It's an opportunity for us to talk along the ride there or back. Or, just be together, singing (or howling, guess it depends on the song) along with the music on the radio as we drive. This is a prime example of how our thought process changes as we grow older.
Shift in Priorities
This goes without saying. Of course, as we get older and shift through the varying decades of life so doesn't our priorities! When I was in my early twenties, my friends and I had a saying “men will come and go, friends stick together forever”. I would NEVER choose a boy over my friends-EVER. That was all well and good, while my friends and I were all single, or just dating. But this certainly started to change for all of us, one by one, as we all met the perfect partner. It starts with one of the friends in the group meeting their “life partner”, sometimes the rest understand, sometimes they don't. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you're on, eventually you will understand. Because eventually, you meet your life partner.
Then things suddenly shift. Of course, your friends will always be your friends. But your family is where your life is. So the old saying “men will come and go, friends stick together forever” sounds silly now. Because my husband, kids, and life are so much more important than a night at the bar with my friends. When you realize it's not your friends who you will be growing old with, or building a life and future with, it's your new found spouse! You realize there won't be anymore choosing your friends over anything and everything! Yes, friends are so important. But, as time passes seeing each other only every so often is normal. As you grow, your priorities grow and change.
Saying it like it is
Some people are born with the ability to speak their mind, regardless of the situation. Sometimes this is a downfall, others it's not. Me, I was born the ability to shut my mouth and deal with it. This created LOTS of opportunities for others to take advantage of my silence, and walk all over me. In my twenties, I was more concerned with upsetting someone else, then I was speaking up for myself. I often tried to avoid a confrontation, than to simply say no or be brave and brazen. Some people spend their entire lives putting others before themselves, which can be okay in some circumstances (such as unselfishly giving to those less fortunate). But it's not okay in other circumstances. Finding my voice was a huge challenge and change that I experienced as I made it through my twenties and into my thirties.
Now, I have no problem speaking up if I'm not within my comfort zone. If I don't feel like being a taxi, I say so. If I'm not interested in attending an event, or having company, I say so. If someone's actions have hurt me or my family, I say something. I no longer just sit back, silently and abide by what everyone else wants to make them happy. I speak up when something is happening that I'm not interested in being a part of, or involved in. This is something that I think took many years of heart ache for me to perfect. By all means, I'm not rude, I just speak up and worry more about how things make me and my family feel over how our disinterest will make them feel. Life's too short to be a floor mat, don't spend it being stomped on!
So this sums up the changes I've noticed between my third and fourth decades of life. Although life is passing us by much quicker than I ever expected it would, we each learn so many valuable lessons in life. I've learned that there are no regrets. There are only situations or circumstances that we learn from.