Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I have no monkey, but I like what I've become!

A certain person told me the other day that I was not young anymore, since my thirty fifth birthday recently came to pass. I bit my tongue and didn't let the expletive leave my mouth, nor did I remind this person that they are just a few years shy of twice my age. It's really not the inference of my age that offended me.  It's more the idea that I might become as seemingly irrelevant as the person making the comment, and out of touch. Or it was the idea that this person has suggested to me multiple times that my life is going to start declining now. Here's the thing, if it is, if I am on the road out, I'm actually ok with that, because my life has been so very full. Saying my life is on the decline is a load of crap.  Really I'm not done and I'm not going to go trudging into middle age or old age with complacency and boredom. I was thinking how I really am the person who I wanted to become and then there was the sketch this weekend, on SNL, which I included below, that confirmed for me, I am happy with who I have become.

 I am the person I wanted to be when I was younger, even though some things are missing and some things aren't quite what I imagined.  There are a lot of things I wish I could improve about myself. I'd for sure have less debt, my arms would be toned, there would be ten less pounds on my frame, I would keep my big mouth shut more. There are a lot of mistakes I have made, words that I have said which I so wish I could take back. Tragically I don't have a monkey or a house in Santa Cruz, I don't even live in California, things that used to seem so essential to the perfect grown up life. There are other things I really am disappointed in though. I haven't been back to Uganda in 14 years. I never was able to build a tree house for my kids, I don't even have a real backyard. I have no guest room for my parents to stay in.  I don't have a sister I call everyday, or even once a week, a month or a year. I rarely see my nieces and nephews, and my kids don't know our East Coast roots at all. Then there are the things that seem to disappoint others or become the object for their criticism or jokes; everything from my hair, my minivan, my tattoos, my townhouse on the wrong side of town which people refer to as an apartment, to my career that has never grown to a giant church. All of these things may disappoint me and others, the mistakes, the debt weighs me down at times but in the grand scheme of things, they seem silly, obnoxious even. 

I'm pretty much the person I wanted to be when I grew up. I mean, I don't have a monkey, or a house in Santa Cruz, but those things aside, I have been beyond blessed to be able to live out my dreams and kick through my bucket list. It is not lost on me how incredibly awesome that is. I am very,very grateful. I have an amazing family. My kids rock, even if my daughter wanted a boring belt without studs or skulls on it the other day. They are caring, funny, adventurous people, and I get to raise them with my best friend. I am graced with the joy of living with Valentine everyday of my life. I am humbled by that alone, and yet there is so  much more. I live in a very tall house, taller than the trees I used to want to be in. It's a warm home with running clean water, so much that it can overflow and damage the thing. The house is filled with human monkeys and crazy dogs, including the giant dog of my childhood dreams. There may not be a swingset in the non existent backyard but there is one in my kitchen, and although there is no guest room, the house is often filled with friends. I got to have the career I wanted, the one God called me to in junior high. So many students have allowed me to be a part of their lives and their journey of faith, and some of them are having babies now. It is incredibly humbling to have been allowed to speak into the lives of young people for over seventeen years, and challenge them to chase after Jesus. So what if I drive a messy minivan to cram all of them in, my kids, and the kids that come into the doors of the church, it is great! I may not be working at a big name church, but I have heard of the big impact that I have made in the lives of students, which is unbelievable to me. God has given me so many adventures, friends and fantastic memories.

I know how I got there too, and it wasn't just because I'm awesome. It was often in spite of who I am, and it was due in large part to God and the people He has graced my life with. I followed Jesus as close as I could, and when I lost my way He brought me back and gave me second, third and fourth chances. He turned my mistakes and heartaches into opportunities, eventually. I was also born into a family with amazing parents, and had a village of friends that helped me grow up, or get as close to grown as I ever will. I had multiple mentors that challenged me to pursue the passion God gave me. I don't talk to my sister much, but I have adopted a bunch of brothers and a few sisters that are there for me everyday.  I am incredibly lucky to have had all of this and I became the person I wanted to become because of God working in my life and so many wonderful people. 

So I may be thirty five, but I am not depressed that half my life may be over. It was a really good half, enough for a full life, so who knows what the next part will bring. Now I get to dream up who I want to be when I am 70, if God let's me make it that long. That is cool. That is so exciting. My hair could be white then, so it would be so much easier to put colors in it. I could get really bright colors without bleaching! I could get a monkey when the kids move out (because they seem messy, and two kids, Val and I are messy enough) and be the crazy old monkey lady. I could do youth groups and lead retreats from my jazzy power chair with an entirely new generation of kids! The millenials kids, I can't wait to see how they turn out!!! I will continue to spend time with young people, helping them to see God's love for them and be who he created them to be. I'll just sleep for the day or two after the all nighters at church, or the snow retreats. I will continue to listen to new music (except dub step). I could play pictionary with my grandkids as they try and guess what my tattoos used to be. I will get to have those medical tests the hypochondriac in me has always wanted. I will get to see the inside of my colon, and really cool pictures of the inside of my boobs. We will get to freak nurses out with Val's more comedic tattoos. Maybe I will have finally been to Hawaii and checked off the last of the fifty states. Who knows how many great danes I will have had by then.  We could put a saddle on a great dane for the monkey! I'll be older, so people won't question my sanity, they will just assume it is gone.  If I could have all of those great adventures, before  gaining the wisdom and knowledge that comes with age, what is stopping me now? 

What is stopping you? Are you the person you wanted to be years ago, or are you someone even better? Seriously, you might not be that person, but the person you are could be so much more. You may have had better experiences and grown through more amazing challenges, than that childhood person you dreamed of ever could.  What life experiences have you triumphed through to be that better you? What heartaches have shaped you for the better? Maybe it's not the life you thought you wanted, but what adventures have you had that you never even dreamed of? Is there a new dream, a new turn your life could take? Who says your age has to stop you?

Maybe my grandkids will visit me in my treehouse in Santa Cruz someday, or a village in Uganda. If that's the case, there better be a monkey.


1 comment:

  1. Lovely! I didn't think much about my future as a child. I think I am where I wanted to be though. Although I daily wish I would shut my mouth more and it took me about 5 years to realize I was never going to have as many friends as I had in college again. So thankful for my little ones even though they come with frustrating moments too.