I had my birthday last weekend. I turned 33. I had a beautiful weekend and was reminded once again of how very lucky I am to have such lovely family and friends. I was also reminded of how far I’ve come over the past year and how far I still have to go.
I remember as a child believing that adults were ‘finished products’. That they knew exactly who they were, what they wanted and where they were going. I am delighted to find, at 33, that I don’t feel grown up at all. Far from being closer to being a ‘finished product’ I feel, if anything, further away from where I would like to be. I think that my younger self would have been distressed by this, but to me right now it’s a wonderful realisation. Every day I see that our potential is even greater than I had imagined the day before. Every day I see things, read stories, discover ideas that cause me to re-examine my own life, my own actions and see how I could be better; kinder, stronger, braver, more considerate, more fun, more ambitious, more thoughtful. So while I sometimes feel like I’m getting no closer to being the person that I want to be , that’s only because I’m aiming higher all the time.
Parenting is without doubt the thing that has taught me most in this respect. It’s almost as if my childern are able to find every weakness I have and shine a spotlight on it, so that I can see it clearly where I couldn’t before. In all honesty this is not a pleasant experience, and naturally it drives me completely insane some (most) days; but on other days I’m able to feel grateful for the lessons that they have taught me (although admittedly this gratitude doesn’t usually come until the little horrors are all tucked up in bed and I’m sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine and some peace and quiet.)
It never ceases to amaze me; the way in which we are all constantly changing and growing, gradually becoming better, truer versions of our selves. I think it’s one of the things I find most fascinating about people – these constant but subtle changes, the way we are never exactly the same person that we were yesterday.
So here I am at 33. Still learning. Still trying to figure out who I am. Still wondering what I want to do with my life, and knowing that that’s OK.