Today, I turn 45.
45 years ago, my mom was in agonizing pain in the hospital for over 24 hours, begging the nurses to give her some relieve. The nurses brushed her off and told her that pain is normal while in labor. Just when my mom thought she could not possibly tolerate the pain any further, a Chief Nursing Officer leading a group of training nurses happened to pass by and, seeing the excruciating pain she was in, stopped to check on her. That’s when they realized I was actually suffocating inside the womb due to a breeched position and ordered for my mom to be immediately induced.
Somehow, God decided on that fateful day that I needed to survive my birth. He had a purpose for me on this earth and allowed me to arrive as a healthy 8 pound baby. I thank Him for that, and I am forever indebted to my mom for enduring the physical pain in delivering me, plus the additional pain of raising a carefree spirit like me for 18 years, lol.
As I sit here and reflect on my life for the past 45 years, I am humored by the fact that my life looks nothing like I had imagined it to be. I do not have an exciting journalism career covering natural disasters and violent protests around the world to make use of my Mass Communications degree. I do not have a corporate ladder to climb up or a high paying salary with a fat year end bonus. I have not moved outside of the state that I grew up in. I am not shuttling 2 kids to/from school everyday nor am I even a mother to 2! I also have not figured out the secret to anti-aging as the years swiftly fly by.
Yet, here I am at 45, and I am so content with what my life actually looks like right now despite it not being nearly the life I had imagined and planned for myself…
I get to cook healthy meals for my family 3 times a day.
I get to take really good care of my husband and daughter on a daily basis.
I get to choose when to wake up nearly everyday.
I get to be married to a husband whom I can also call my best friend.
I get to travel the world with my daughter and learn alongside her every step of the way.
I get to choose how to use my time each and every day.
I get to follow Jesus and be a part of an amazing church.
I am so, so grateful that I never clung onto my own plans too tightly, that God gave me the courage to say yes to His plans even when they are drastically different than my own plans. I use to pridefully proclaim that I would never be a full time mom, as if that role would belittle my college education and high aspirations in life. But now, I can honestly say that the gift of being a full time mom for the past few years has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. Not only do I get to continually cultivate a deep, authentic relationship with Bridgette, but I get to see and experience the world with her and through her eyes and perspective. It’s a true gift that I know I will look back on and be immensely grateful I accepted.
My wise sister recently said something to me that really struck a chord. She said, “We really need to live each day as if it’s our last, because one day, it will be.”
I have heard similar cliches throughout my life but somehow, when my sis made that statement to me, it resonated in a very different way. Since then, I wake up often wondering “is today my last day?” Not in a morbid, pessimistic kind of way, but in a I-really-need-to-cherish-today kind of way, channeling more positive energy than not. This perspective has made me grown to be more observant and appreciative of every little thing in my life. Magical sunsets. Majestic mountaintops. Playful children. Joyful friendships. Hot meals. Running water. Loving family. Kind strangers. Beautiful skies. The list is endless when we are willing to notice.
A few years ago, a friend gave us a beautiful gold foil print that says “The Best Is Yet To Come.” We framed it and it sits beautifully in our living room console table. As I looked at that familiar print this morning, something dawned on me. If we keep waiting for “the best to come”, we are totally missing out on the “best” that is already here, since we really only have the present moment. Instead of constantly striving for a “better” tomorrow, how about taking the time to appreciate the “best” that we have today? In this very moment? That’s not to say we don’t work hard towards our goals, but we mustn’t forget the importance of being present with our loved ones, and making time for the people and things that truly matter.
Life is like a game of tradeoffs. What are we willing to lose in order to have a gain elsewhere? What do we choose to prioritize? Contrary to what all the ads try to convince us, we really can’t have it all, hard as we’d like to try. Time is finite, and the great equalizer for all of us. With this reality in mind, I will continue to work hard in being more intentional with how I live each and every day!