I can remember a lot of things from my childhood like it was yesterday. The house I grew up in, coming home to my mom after school, waiting for my dad to come home from work on Fridays with a Happy Meal, playing with my friends, getting lost in my own imagination, starting school, starting middle school and graduating from High School. Getting a job, buying my first car, falling in love, having my heart broken. I have so many memories, good and bad, and I feel like I can transport myself back into most of them in my mind.
And those were just from the first maybe 20 years of my life. Now I’m turning 36 in about 4 days and sit here and shake my head. Where did the time go? Turning 35 was great. Didn’t think much about it. Not that I focus much on age. To me it’s just a number and I have felt healthier and happier in my 30’s then any other time of my life. My mom used to tell me that in your 30’s “your old enough to know better, but young enough to still have fun”. But for some reason, approaching 36 feels different. Even though I am contradicting myself by saying this, but it feels a little weird getting closer to 40. I’m a healthy person. I eat right, exercise and try to stay as stress free as possible. But no matter what “vegan powers” I think I have obtained, I am not immortal. I guess as I get closer to 40, I feel like I am getting closer to having about half my life over with. Living into my 80’s would be great. 90’s I can’t even imagine. I do hope that the choices I make now will allow me to be healthy and still active later in life. But my main concern is to just make sure no time was ever wasted or regretted.
I don’t really think the time that you spend in childhood can count as time wasted or regretted because most of childhood, you are not fully in control of. You have your age, parents, teachers and laws dictating what you can and can’t do. Too much is out of your hands. I am grateful that I was raised in a caring and loving home. I had a pretty good childhood. I had a lot of positive influences. As well as just the right amount of disappointment to make everything balanced and not too damaging.
Now by age 21 you become more in control of your life and where you are heading. My 20’s were good. Had a lot of life experiences. Felt what it was like to be truly in love. Felt what it was like for an only child to move out of their parent’s house for the first time. As well as the pain of homesickness, because moving out and moving 1000 miles away, must feel totally different if I had to guess. Got married. Bought a house, fostered a child, made a lot of adult choices in between. Got divorced. Learned what it was like to live on my own and for the first time, depended on no one else but myself. Made some friends that are more like family and learned that friends like that are hard to come by.
Then the 30’s rolled in. Watch out, here comes some more. Rebounded and rebelled against bad choices made before. Came out on top and learned to love again. Learned that not everyone had as fortunate of a childhood as I did. Walked down the rough road, hand and hand, with someone else’s struggles. Learned to see the world through another set of eyes. Went vegan. Learned the true meaning of bitter sweet by working at the best job of my life as well as being let go from that same job sooner then I would have liked. Learned that I will never regret standing up for what is right. Got married again. Bought a condo and learned about unconditional love by taking care of my elderly fur babies no matter how many times I have stepped in kitty puke with bare feet! Oh and no human babies for us and no regrets with that choice either.
The more things I have been experiencing lately, the more I am learning about myself. I still worry about things that maybe it shouldn’t. (I am my mother’s daughter after all. I love you mom!) At times I still care what others think, but I am learning more and more each day, with each passing experience, that sometimes I just don’t give a flying f*ck. I don’t have to wash my hair every day. It’s ok to buy the well made, expensive clothes. Just buy less and don’t wash them as often, because they will last longer and cut down on unnecessary waste. Our things should not define us but every tattoo I have tells a story. Buy the more expensive seats and make a great memory at that baseball game instead of watching it at home. Only having one car, I’ve learned, is one way to become closer to your spouse. It’s nice to hear about his day on the way home from picking him up from work. Ride you bike more and go for walks just because you can. Make sure to give your time to people and things that deserve it. Don’t slack when it comes to your health. Go vegan for you, the animals and the environment. It’s not too hard and yes you can live without cheese! Oh and Oreo’s are vegan if that helps! Use the gym membership and make new friends. Do what you say and live up to what you do. Forgive, and if you say you have forgotten, then drop it. If you believe in something, share it with as many people as possible but don’t become overbearing. Be mindful for heavens sake! We all have to share this planet and we all need to play a positive part. Take the reusable cup with you to get coffee and try to say no to plastic and much as possible. Shop local and meet the locals. Get to know your neighbor and always make sure they feel appreciated for the things they have done for you and vice-versa.
All I can wish for this year is to continue learning and living the most fulfillable life I possibly can. It’s all about being more open minded. Cut out the labels, whatever they maybe. We are all earthlings and we all deserve the same love, kindness and respect. World suffering may never end but smile at the guy walking the other way down he street. Pay it forward but take care of your family and people dearest to you because you never know when they might not be there anymore. And remember age is just a number and as long as you keep having birthdays celebrate them all!