My mom turned 70 in July. SEVENTY. I mean, in all honesty, she makes 70 seem like the new 40, but still. She can’t be seventy yet, can she? Time. Slow. Down. Between that occasion and my baby boy growing into a big boy entirely way too fast and me realizing that I’m not that far from being over the hill myself, I feel caught smack dab in the midst of uncontrollable happenings everywhere I look. Such is life I guess. Some things you can control and some things you can’t, like the movement of time, and in my opinion it can be pretty darn scary. Where did the last 30-something years go? When did someone fast forward through all the commercials? Have I made the most of myself and done enough with my life? Anyone else plagued from time to time with these questions? Anyone else all grown up and still wonder what they’re going to be when they grow up? That’s a big one for me.
I’ve spent a lot of my life, more than I care to admit, striving for perfection while trying to please everyone around me. It’s sad that at 36, I’m just now realizing that both of the above-mentioned tasks (especially when trying to do them hand-in-hand) are beyond impossible. But as sad of a realization as it is, it’s also one of the most freeing realizations I’ve ever had. Period. I no longer feel the need to always have a spotless house, to always cook an extravagant meal, to always finish my To-Do list each day. I no longer feel the need to always attempt to appear as if my life is perfect, to always try really hard to make sure everyone likes me, to always have the next best thing. I no longer feel the need to make unnecessary sacrifices, to always put myself last. Notice my use of the word always – I’m not perfect (who knew)? I still have my moments and honestly I’ll probably ‘always’ have a hard time putting myself first – especially with a husband and a child and others I care about – but I have learned that I can take a step or two forward from time to time.
When I think about all the time I’ve spent, or wasted as I sometimes see it, focusing on these virtually unimportant things, it’s almost enough to make me cringe. I sometimes wonder what I’ve missed while spending time and effort on the wrong things, the things that don’t matter. But knowing you can’t go backwards in life, I’m trying to get it right going forward. Losing my dad three years ago and having a child two years ago, both in their own ways, have forced me to realize how short our time here on Earth really is. You hear sayings about it all the time and everywhere you go – “life is short”, “seize the day”, “YOLO” (“you only live once” for those of you not too hip on your internet lingo). It’s easy to hear these sayings and have a deep thought for approximately three seconds and then go back to your busy, stress-filled day that includes cursing at the slow driver in front of you, getting super annoyed because the grocery store line is way too long, getting impatient with your child because they want your attention when you feel like you have nothing left to give. Or maybe you vow for those three seconds to start living each moment of life to the fullest, but then you go back to wishing for when you have the next best thing, wishing for the weekend, wishing for when you’re 10 pounds lighter.
The point is – life is now. It’s happening whether we “live” it wisely or not. It’s up to us to decide if we’re going to be thankful for each second we’re given. It’s up to us to decide how we spend every hour of every day. It’s tough. Life’s got a lot of stressors, a lot of distractions, a lot of interruptions. Living each moment of life to the fullest, only focusing on the important things, and not letting the annoying things get you down isn’t a change that can be made overnight. It’s a challenge and I fail countless times. But it’s something I’m striving towards each day. I want that mindset to be my new way of living. I don’t want to look back and regret that I spent the day cleaning the house instead of playing outside with my kid. I don’t want to look back and regret that I tried really hard to get someone to like me when they could not have cared any less about me. I don’t want to look back and regret that I let one second go by that could have been spent telling someone I love them. Life’s too short.
Getting back to my mom turning seventy in July – her birthday present from me and my brothers was a huge family trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. A trip filled with moments that she could live in and remember forever rather than another gift card to her favorite store. This blog post was supposed to be devoted to that recent trip out West, but then I realized that in no way, shape or form am I cut out to be a travel blogger. I couldn’t have made it interesting if I tried. I mean we ate at the same pizza place three different times (in six days). We did do some spectacular hikes … but I couldn’t tell you the names of any of them. I can, however, share some pictures.
It was a beautiful, yet exhausting trip. Five AM wake-ups to get to the parks before the rest of the world. Constant moving – whether hiking or driving. We could have easily spent another week out there, but I’ll take the 6 days we had. Happy Birthday to my Mom and may we all live each moment of life to the fullest, whether you’re seventy or twenty. By the way, Wildlife Brewing in Victor, Idaho has amazing pizza 🙂