I’ve been on vacation for the past few weeks, and as I sit in my parent’s kitchen in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, I have been trying to make some sense of how it’s been 20 years since I graduated high school.
20 years is more years than it takes to be a legal adult for god sakes! At least in Canada :) And that’s just my life SINCE I’ve graduated high school – I lived plenty before then too!
But I don't feel "old".
I think I’ve been trying to wrangle my literal age with the fact that it feels like just yesterday that I was heading off to university and moving out of my parents’ house. And boy oh boy, did I ever think I knew everything! Everything was possible, with some hard work and determination. That sort-of thing.
Thankfully, most days, I feel as young as ever and have been blessed with good health - so far so good as they say! I think it also worries me that this life passes by so quickly for some and that I should be making the most of it every day. So, I've been treating my body a little more respectfully - more exercise, less junk food, still working on less diet Pepsi!
The last 20 years have been the best of times and the worst of times, and have been more of an eye opening education than I've ever received in public school. It's absolutely incredible how little I knew about life when I graduated - holy smokes!!
At the age of 37, I’ve only very recently felt, that I’ve truly settled deeply into my sense of self, that I’m happy with my own skin, and that, going forward, I have a firm wisdom of where I should spend my time and where I should stop wasting it.
This all feels new and exciting on a cellular level. It makes me excited to see what the future holds and helps hold my focus on the present moment experiences, without focusing on the future or the past so much. Like I've relaxed into life little more. I'm more OK with letting life unfold as opposed to trying to control things so much.
Ironically enough, as I reflect on my high school years, I've also found myself reading a book on teenage girls – lord help me I’ll have two the same age!! My twin girls are only 9 years old right now, but I do have a tendency to try and be well prepared. :) I also had pretty turbulent teenage years, and would love to try new strategies with my kids, in an attempt to have them blossom less turbulently. I'd also love, love, love for them to settle into themselves with confidence, sooner than age 37, if I can help it. And I do honestly worry about their teenage years, more - now than ever, with their dad and I separated.
The book is called Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher. It is about raising teenage girls and was written back in the 90s (which all seems essentially perfect). Overall, as I've been reading it, I feel the grip of doubt and fear ease up a bit. There is a section on Divorce, a section on Mothers, and one on Fathers. And many more sections, on sex, drugs, depression, etc. It’s an excellent book all around. And has settled my concerns down dramatically. The overall message in the book, is one of open communication, mutual respect, service to the community, and healthy boundaries. No magic bullet, just things you can lay down the foundation for no matter your children's age or gender.
I’ve just gotta ensure that my nerves and fears don’t get the better of me, so that I can come from a place of love in my reactions to whatever comes up over the years. Which is a timeless lesson in life, and especially parenting, I’m realizing!! Cripes...
So, as I get ready to head back to Ottawa, there is a sense that a 20 year life loop is closing and another loop of some length is just beginning. I think I've got more of my wits together, just in time to head into the pre-teen and teen years with my girls, followed up closely by my son. There’s never a dull moment, which keeps this life exciting! And I wonder what I'll be up to at 57 :)
How far have you come since high school graduation?
Enjoy your week,
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