At the end of October, my parents will be celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary. My birthday is the day after. As a little girl I could not understand why people would look at me strangely when I would proudly declare that I was born the day after my parents got married. Or, why my mother was always quick to point out that it was two years after their wedding.
Yes, that means in a few short weeks I will be 46. When I look at the number 46 in relation to me, I just can’t quite seem to grasp that I’m “that” old.
There’s no way to pretty it up. I may have a kid in first grade and watch the PBS Kids channel, but I’m middle aged.
When you consider that 46 x 2 is 92, I might be even a bit beyond.
“Mom, I just thought of something,” announced our 12-year-old,
Tom, a few weeks ago when I was driving him to school.
“In a few weeks you are going to be 4 years from 50. Isn’t that hysterical?”
“Oh, yea, really hysterical. I can’t stop laughing!”
Where the heck did the time go? Has it really been 30 years since my Sweet 16 surprise party? It feels like it was just yesterday.
I can still envision the pink rose corsage with the sugar cubes my parents bought me. Or remember how I felt when I went to school and saw the ‘Happy Birthday’ sign my friends made me.
I was a very innocent 16-year-old. I didn’t have my first kiss until the spring of that year. Yet, I do remember it was at 16 when I realized it was official, I was on my way to adulthood. There was no turning back. Some people may have been excited at this prospect, I was terrified.
My dream was to become a singer and actress on Broadway. I wanted to live in Manhattan and had from the time I was a little girl. I saw the skyline all lit up on the few occasions my family would drive through the city to cross a bridge and I was enthralled. I knew in my heart that was where I belonged.
Since I also knew I wanted children one day, I figured at some point I might move back to the suburbs. But, I was adamant… I was not going to ever live on Long Island again.
My plan was that I would marry around age 25 and surely have my first child before I hit the extremely old age of 30. I would effortesly manage a busy thriving acting career with a very happy home life. Piece of cake.
Ten years later, my 26th birthday found me working in an office job I truly liked and living in the city I loved. My roommate and I had moved into a high rise apartment almost a year before.
I was very excited because it was the first of the five apartments I had lived in that had a dishwasher. I also loved that since we lived on the 26th floor, every night I could look out our window and see the lights of the city.
I had exchanged the dream of an acting career for the reality and joy of paying my bills and eating.
Even though I was four years shy of my 30th birthday, I felt as if my life was starting to take shape. Joe and I had been dating for more than a year, and I was sure that this would be the person I would marry. He had planned a great birthday weekend for me complete with a Broadway show.
Even though I was content to watch others preform, I still felt my creative soul longing to get out. Something felt missing.
I thought of going back to school, and was volunteering at my church’s help line calling senior citizens who were shut in. I was content with the decission to stop pursuing an acting career. But at 26, I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew” up.
Fast forward 10 years to when I was six months pregnant with our second child. We had recently moved six blocks from where I grew up, and I was a full-time mommy.
Let me repeat that, I was now living on Long Island only blocks from where I grew up. This was the last thing in the world my 16-year-old self thought would become of me. Yet, I was very happy.
My favorite birthday present was a then two-year-old Tom singing Happy Birthday to me with Joe. I remember that we went out to lunch at Wendy’s because that’s where Tom wanted to take me, and I was thrilled since I was constantly craving their vanilla Frosties. This craving had nothing to do with me, mind you, and everything to do with the little girl I was pregnant with.
My creative energy was being used raising my son and helping him through his speech delays and suspected learning issues. I was thirty-six, married, a homeowner and a soon to be mom of two. In a few months, I would have the “ideal” family of a boy and a girl. What more could I want?
Occasionaly I had thoughts of doing something more, but I was too busy with my life to pay them much mind.
Now weeks away from my 46th birthday, I feel closer to the creative part of myself than I ever have before. Discovering my love of writing a year ago has brought a sense of joy and peace I don’t remember having since I was a teenager preforming on stage.
I sit at my computer and let my thoughts take over and form words on the screen. I get excited when the perfect sentence comes to me. It may sound silly or even trite, but I feel alive.
My family is now complete with two boys and a girl. Being the mother to three children, one with very serious issues, takes up most of my energy and time.
But last year when Peter started full-day kindergarten, I found the time to listen to the stirrings my soul. It’s a little scary, but also very exciting.
Is it possible to finally find out what you want to be when you grow up at age 46?
Just what will the next 10 years bring? I can’t wait to find out.
Thanks for your story. It’s interesting how our lives turn out.
Your story reminded me of a time when I was 37 and driving in the car with my second son, and he looked at me and reassured me that I didn’t look any older than 36 … I laughed. that was many years ago.
Joy Page Manuel says
I’m so glad to ‘hear’ that though your passion has transformed into something unexpected, it has transformed your life as well in such a beautiful way and continues to excite you! It’s strange where our lives take us but more amazing is how wise people such as yourself find joy and peace wherever the road takes you! This is indeed worth celebrating don’t you think?! :-)))
Thank you both so much for your kind and thoughtful words.
Yes, Joy, I think you are right, it is worth celebrating!
Thea you had me in stiches with your sons comment! Thank God for them!! They sure can keep us laughing!
Thanks again!! Much love to you both!
Tracy @ Mama-press says
I definitely believe we can find out who we are, who we want to be, or what we want to do, in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond. I think part of life is the journey of self-discovery. If we always wanted to be X, or do X, it’s never too late to try!
I was just telling my 16 year old that she has no clue what she wants to do when she actually will be the age she said she would do the things her now mind wants her to do! It’s funny how dreams and life can intercept but not quite all how you imagined! Oh yay and 46 is the new 36 ;0)
Ah, the birthday…got one of those coming up, too, and like yourself, I find myself to be particularly reflective this year of where I am and where I want to be.
I love how life continues to present opportunities, at each stage, for us to find who we are supposed to be.
TyKes Mom says
This post is so beautiful. I love reading your blog. I think it is completely possible to find out what you want to be when you grow up when you are all ready grown up. When I was 16, I wanted to be an actress too. I swore I would never have children since they would only hold me down. I also wanted to pursue a modeling career and move to the big city. Now I am a mother of three as well and have never been more grateful for the creative outlet that comes with parenting. I am finally deciding what I want to be when I grow up too. 🙂
sandbox gems says
Kathy–I’m glad to hear you are getting back to enjoying some creative time! It does feel good to write our thoughts out and reflect on different things. I think as adults we sometimes lose that for awhile as we take care of our jobs and families and such. It’s great to find that creative passion again that does bring joy!
I always love reading the great and thoughtful comments you guys write. It is true that we each do have to find that outlet for ourselves that brings us joy, parenting has brought that for me but to find writing as this age was a bit of a surprise. I guess in some ways we never really have to “grow up”, we can always explore what makes us, us! Thanks again!! Much love to you all!
I'm NOT a VOLCANO! says
Well…I’ll say this: My 16 year old self wanted to be a professional actress, and I STILL want to be a professional actress and I’m 29. I’m the mom of 4 though, so for now, I do community theatre where I can (I was Wendy in Peter Pan this last summer!)
I don’t think we ever really “grow up.” We just incur more and more responsibility, but even that tapers off a bit as we age- like your youngest finally being in school. There’s always time for everything. There are very few things you’ll actually “grow out” of.
Elisabeth Hirsch says
This is so inspiring. I love it. Isn’t it wonderful how life can change into something wonderful and unexpected 🙂
You always make me smile and brighten my day–thank you.
Just Another Mom of Twins says
I can totally relate to the “I am middle-aged-older but feel young” feeling…I often think, “What am I gonna be when I grow up?”
I think it helps keep us young…listening to the top 40’s also works for me…LOL!
Happy early Birthday Kathy!
P.S. LMAO off at you telling people who were born the day after your parents got married…HAHAHAHA!
Becky Jane says
Your creative spirit is doing a GREAT job! It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years will bring…
What an amazing post ~ and yes, I think it’s totally possible to finally figure out “what you want to be” at 46.
I’m still learning and I’m (gasp) 41.
What a great outlet you have in this little blog ~ Happy early Birthday! xo
Grumpy Grateful Mom says
I love your stories! And I love that you let little Tom take you to Wendy’s for your birthday–you’re an amazing mom.
I didn’t know about your hidden singing acting talents. You may have to do a vlog one of these days. I want to see you sing!
My life has taken a different path than I expected too–it certainly didn’t involve blogging! But it’s a good path. I’m also excited to see what the future holds.
This was such a great story– it’s so funny how time goes by and as mothers we wonder down a different path than what we planned when we were young but it’s great knowing that it’s the path the HE had planned for us all along 🙂 Thanks for sharing
Visiting from VB!
It’s great to know that we still grow and change no matter what age we are. I just hit the big 50 this year and discovered blogging. When I was 16 I wanted to be a dancer and an artist and now that I’m 50, I still take dance and am a graphic artist. I’m lucky and glad I got to realize my dreams. Keep writing – your blog is wonderful.
Hot Air 1 says
Happy early Birthday! I’m a day shy of 46 🙂 which I’m quite happy about because I forgot how old I was for 6 months earlier this year, thinking I’d be 3 yrs from 50 Kids, got to love them!
Funny how our dreams for our life aren’t usually God’s dreams for us, because He always has something much more beautiful and perfect in mind. What a blessing that you have three amazing children, a wonderful husband, and have found your creative outlet – passion for your writing. And you’re really great at it too! I suspect 10 years from now, you’ll have discovered even more joy that God has in store for you! Many blessings, my friend and a very happy “upcoming” 46th birthday.
What a great story.
I hope you have a fabulous birthday!
I loved reading this! And, at 41, I haven’t figured out what I want to be either. I tell my 8 year old daughter all the time that I want to be just liker her when I grow up, and she just signs and says ‘but Mommy, you’re already growed up’. Smart kid 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog today….it’s nice to meet you 🙂
Amberr Meadows says
I had everything planned out by the time I was 16, but plans change…*sigh* I wish I had that same confidence that I had then that the world would give me what I need if I only work for it. This is true, but I didn’t know just how hard the work would be. Haha!
Megan (Best of Fates) says
I hope you have a great birthday – and your parents have a fabulous anniversary! I love that your writing lets out your creative side, everyone needs one of those outlets!
Happy early birthday! I never thought I’d ever move back to my hometown, but after I had my son I felt the need to be closer to my family. Funny how your plans and dreams change!
Not Your Ordinary Agent says
Aw, this was so sweet. You’re such a sentimental soul like myself. I love it. Great post as always.
And I have an award for you too! http://www.notyourordinaryrecipes.com/2011/10/blogger-award-thank-you.html
What an amazing post, Kathy! I love hearing about the road almost taken. I was a professional dancer in NYC (I grew up in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens) for all of my twenties, and always wonder what would have happened if I’d gone to law school. I still teach dance, and obviously creativity comes into play daily in motherhood, and blogging helps, but I miss dancing regularly with all my soul.
Keesha at http://www.momsnewstage.blogspot.com/
I thought your post was just beautiful, really nice job. I love the sentimental look back and excited anticipation of looking forward. What will the next 10 years bring? Very cool!
I’m glad you found your creative outlet and are sharing it with all of us!
Smile and Mama With Me
Kathy, I love reading this today, after meeting you yesterday. It was a wonderful post. I can just picture you as a little girl proudly telling everyone about your birthday. So cute! I think you are never to old to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, even if you change your mind every year… Isn’t that the fun of life? we can be who we want, whenver we want to….
Gwendolyn Gage says
Funny, how our lives turn out so differently than we had first planned. I had planned to be a singer and a musician. But instead I’m a writer. LOL! But when I think back on it all, I’m glad that my life turned out the way it did. God knew what He was doing. 🙂
Thanks for your post! I really enjoyed it!
I hope you enjoy that 46th year. It seems your life has turned out just as you would’ve wanted. We always have these grand plans when we are young, but as we age, we discover what is truly important to us. It is so nice to be content. That’s all many people ever want. Just being able to sit back and marvel at what your life has become is wonderful.
Karen Dawkins says
Happy almost birthday!!!! Or something like that. I’ll be 46 in March 😀 and I believe that life begins at 40!!!!! This has been the most amazing, best ever, decade. So far.
Mommy LaDy Club says
I am definitely discovering myself late in life too, and I love it! Won’t it be cool when we are all in our 50’s blogging still, and reading each others’ posts;) I was just watching Oprah talking about how it’s silly for us to dread getting older, because many people never make it to that certain age. They die young. She’s right, huh. I hope you have a wonderful birthday, and I’m so glad to know you!:)
Courtney you are so right! My mom has always said the aging is better than the alternative! It just amazes me how fast it all goes by!!!
Thanks everyone for the great and thoughtful comments! And, thanks for the birthday wishes! It has been so cool to meet such great people and great blogs!! Much love to you all!!
Val Curtis says
I am an end of October birthday as well…so cheers! Congrats on finding your current self. I am in the process on doing at at 39 (today). I have already done the career, grad school “thing” and now I am not sure where the road will take me. I really enjoy this venue, but I am not sure I can stir a penny from it. Thanks for stopping by Mental Chew. XO
Erica M says
We are kindred spirits in more ways than one. Happy soon birthday! It’s never too late to be who we want to be.
Your 16 year old self couldn’t imagine that you would be “blogging” 30 years later? (You would be asking yourself-what the heck is that?) Enjoy your birthday!