In 13 months I’ll hit the half-century mark. This means that for the next year, I won’t be 49, I’ll be almost 50.
Even writing the word 50 to describe myself seems a bit surreal. How is it possible that I’m this old? Wasn’t I just a twenty-something wondering what I was going to do with my life and when would I meet the “one.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that young girl lately and the lessons I learned that brought me to my current life of being a mom to three, wife to one, blogger, and writer. A life that I’m pretty happy with most days.
(This is said as two of my three children are fighting and I’m closed off in my bedroom/office, seriously considering sending both to boarding school.)
It may sound corny, but for me, meeting my husband, Joe, was the best thing that ever happened to me. All the other great things that followed in my life were a direct result in my being with a person who truly loved and respected me for who I was.
He thought I was great the way I was. He didn’t suggest I cut my hair, dress differently, or comment on my weight, other than to say I looked great.
Joe was the first person I ever told that I wanted to be a writer. He didn’t laugh at me. He didn’t say I made all the wrong decisions in my life and that at 45 it would never happen. He didn’t bring up the fact that I was dyslexic and couldn’t tell my right from my left. He said, great, you should do it.
Just like he did years before when I said I would never be able to type, or drive, or go to college. All things I did with his support.
But the truth of the matter is, I would never have even given him the time of day if I hadn’t learned one really important lesson when I was that 23-year-old girl living alone in a tiny NYC studio apartment: Don’t purposely slam your finger in a door.
Need a little more detail?
The year was 1988, and I had dated so many frogs looking for Prince Charming. I was beginning to think that maybe all men were at least a little shade of green. Perhaps I was being too picky. What’s a wart or two?
In fact there was a particular frog that I had given not one, but several chances to hop all over my heart.
He had the habit of coming into my life, turning it upside down with talk of love and promises, and then just leaving as quickly as he came. No call. No explanation.
I thought he was finally gone for good, but as I came home from work one night and started listening to my messages, I stopped cold in my tracks.
It was him. His voice filled with charm, telling me that only I could make his birthday special. He needed to see me. I meant so much to him.
(I know, I know, but I was only 23!)
I’m not going to lie, part of me wanted to call him back without even putting my groceries away.
But I didn’t I put some of the therapy I had been receiving to good use and took a moment to think before I did anything.
I got out of my work clothes and went into my bathroom to freshen up. Maybe a little cold water would shock me back to reality and remind me that it had just taken me two months to get over the last time he hopped in and then out of my life.
As I left my bathroom staring at my answering machine wondering what I should do, somehow I managed to slam my finger in the doorway.
Pain shot through my whole body and tears streamed down my face.
Several four-letter words escaped from my mouth. The pain was just blinding.
And then it happened. Like a bolt of lighting I got struck with a thought that has helped guide my life ever since: Would I ever purposely slam my finger in a door?
No. Of course not, it hurt way too much. I would have to be crazy.
Ah, the bell rang. Ding, ding, ding. THEN DON’T CALL HIM BACK! You will only get your heart slammed again.
I never did.
That was the beginning of making much better choices for myself, and not just in my romantic life.
About a year and a half later I learned my second best lesson, If you meet a person across a crowded room and you are instantly attracted to them, run the other way.
A few weeks later I met Joe and as they say, the rest is history.