Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Older I Get...

One thing I've found about traveling is that it tends to make me more introspective.  You spend hours on a flight with no access to internet (I refuse to pay for WIFI) or your phone (which is actually quite glorious). I am often too tired to read, so often close my eyes and just think.  Lately I've been thinking about how fast time flies. Some days, I have to remind myself how old I am.  Yes, this is true.  Then when I remember how old I am, I think to myself - "really?  I am 31?"  And no, I do not think 31 is 'old' - it's just older than I feel.  The years have flown by and I still sometimes feel like a twenty-something. 

But then I stop and think about all the things I've recognized and realized over the years, and I think that this whole growing older process is a wonderful thing.  I would not reverse the clock back to my younger years because I would rather be at this age and retain the lessons I've learned, and the truths I've discovered.  I see other twenty-somethings struggling through the sometimes tough and tumultuous times of their twenties (which, in my experience, no one really talked about) and I want to say to them - hold on, it gets SO much better. 

Here is a hodge podge collection of some of the lessons I've learned, told from an "The Older I Get" frame of mind.

The Older I Get...

- the smarter and wiser my parents become.  I was so dismissive of their advice at a younger age.  Now I seek it out and value their perspective.

- the more I want to surround myself with people who challenge me to be a better person and hold qualities that I aspire to have, and the less I want to be around people who bring me down.

- the better I have gotten at dressing my body. Yes, this may seem shallow, but I personally think appearances do matter.  I spent so much of my 20s lamenting over the fact that I did not have a small waist.  Now I have found clothing that accentuates my assets, like my long, lean legs. 

- the less I worry about what my future holds.  I have learned to trust that things have a way of working themselves out.  I've been through some really tough, gut wrenching situations in both my career and dating life, and I've come out a stronger, better person. 

- the more I respect and appreciate the friends in my life that are very honest with me and love me enough to tell me the truth or tell me when they are worried about me and ask how they can help.  I try to be that kind of friend back to them, which means sometimes I come off as blunt, but I'd rather be known for being an honest friend. Gone are the days of telling a friend what they want to hear.  The truth, delivered with compassion, is so much more valuable.

- the more I realize that there is so much to discover and learn, and for me, the best way to learn more about the world and discover things about myself is to travel.

- it is ok to be a math-loving, number-adoring, booked-obsessed nerd.  I'm never going to be the 'cool kid' and I'm more than ok with this because it's much better to be myself.  My passions are what make me unique.

- the less I freak out about the fact that I may never get married.  I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be disappointed if my future does not include a husband and children, but it would not be the end of the world.  I know I would still live a full life and would flex my maternal muscle in relationships with my nephews, niece, and faux nephews and nieces.  I think getting to this point was important as dating feels a lot different now.  There is no sense of desperation or feeling of THIS HAS TO WORK.  Instead, it's a process of discovering if the guy is right for me.

I'll close with a quote from the book "Lean Forward Into Your Life" by Mary Anne Radmacher:

"Gentle soul, understand the longing of your life has already been answered.  Each day is a gift to be unwrapped.  It falls to your grace, your maturity, to understand the nature of the gift once it is opened."

What are some of the lessons you've learned as you've gotten older?

I flew in Charlotte last night and am here until Friday.  This is my last trip until the week of the election!  Hip hip hooray!!  Have a great rest of the week everyone - I'll see you all on the other side of 26.2!!!


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Yay for a little break from trips!

All very important lessons. I feel the same way as far as I can't believe I am this old (not that 28 is old either)... it's quite crazy. I completely agree with the importance of being an honest friend.I think the art of knowing when the person needs good advice vs. when they just need to vent is a difficult one, but worth it to try to learn :)

Becky said...

Woo hip, it's your last trip! (I want you to know I am CRACKING up at my clever-ness over here).

"Gone are the days of telling a friend what they want to hear." SO much yes! Also the one about the wisdom of my parents - so true!

Gracie said...

Enjoy the break from traveling and have a spectacular race - you put the training in and deserve a good one.

missris said...

I love this post. I feel the same way--I will never be the cool kid and I'm ok with that. Other things I'm still working on being ok with, but I think I'll get there :)

Stephany said...

This is such a great post! I feel like I learn a little bit more about who I am and accept certain parts of me more and more as I grow up and things happen and I start to figure out just what I want.

I think learning how to dress for your body is not shallow at all, because it means you're accepting your body and being comfortable in your own skin! That's awesome!

Have a great trip and I'll be thinking of you this weekend!

Marlys said...

Deeply introspective and honest blog! Enjoy your trip to Charlotte! Unwrap each day and bask in it's newness! I loved that quote!

Leigh said...

Woo hoo for a break from work trips! You definitely deserve some time at home :)

I've learned that friendships change and it's okay to let go of the friendships in your life that just don't work

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

No surprise here, but I nodded through this entire post. Great one, Lisa. I especially liked the last one. I think most women who make it to their 30s without getting married have to have that conversation with themselves ... have to be prepared (like it or not) ... and you're so right, that once you come to peace with it, dating and life in general takes on a very different feel.

Unknown said...

Great post. Your plane trip was put to good use!
Hope all goes well with you in Charlotte. Safe travels and good luck in Des Moines. We'll be "following" you on your run!

Raquelita said...

This was a great post. I really relate to your desire to be around people who challenge you to be better than around ones who hold you back and down.

Alli said...

Great post. I always give people in their 20's the same advice. As you know I'm having a really toght time right now and not exactly where I want to be in life right now, but I still think my 30's are better than my 20's in every way. I always say that in your 20's you think you know everything when really you know nothing. In your 30's you still knowing nothing, but you know that you know nothing and that is such a comforting feeling. It takes the pressure off of you and allows you to take in the lessons that life has to teach you.

Amber said...

Love this post! I completely agree that we are constantly learning and changing and becoming wiser AND things only get better as we get older. I have been told I'm a pretty self-aware person for my age and I think that's true, though I definitely already feel A LOT wiser about things than I did two years ago and certainly than I did four years ago!

San said...

Totally loved this post, Lisa, and found myself nodding along! I think you're in a really good spot mentally and embrace your age and the experience/wisdom that comes with it!

Caroline said...

I love this post, Lisa! I often find myself journaling and reflecting on planes when I'm too tired to read.

I've learned so much in the past year, so I can't even imagine how much stuff I'll have figured out by the end of my twenties! You're right, as much as I have loved certain periods of my life, I wouldn't trade it for where I am now because of all the things I've learned.

Elizabeth said...

I nodded my head in agreement at every one of these :) Parents are awesome, honest truths and dear friends are fabulous, and learning to dress one's body does get better with age (and copious episodes of WNTW!) :) The older I get I also realize though that the hair on my head grows slower and my body consistently changes (more things they don't tell you). The more I hit my 30s, the more I realize I'm in my physical prime and able to function physically in ways I never thought I'd be able to.

Hope this final trip is well! Good luck on the race---you'll do fabulous!

Nora said...

Love this post!

So with you on the no phone/no wifi thing. It was glorious to be without it last week and I'm still adjusting to having it this week.

My parents have been much more valuable to me over the years and as cheesy as it sounds, my parents are some of my best friends.

I've also learned that it's ok to ask for help when I can't figure things out and not feel ashamed about it, either.

I've also learned that as hard as it can be to let things roll off of my back it's so freeing to just let go of some things.

Hope the rest of your trip goes well and you know I'll be cheering you on this weekend from afar. Excited to cheer you on in-person next year at the Chicago marathon!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

The older I get, the more confident and self assured I become.

The older I get the less I worry about everything.

The older I get the happier I am.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

This is a great post! I especially can relate lately because a lot of the people I am working with are just graduated college and some of the things I hear them say and see them do, I think, MAN I am glad I am not that age and that I have learned things since then. One of the things I have learned that some of them have not is to listen to other people. It's NOT all about you.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Hmm.. I've learned that I still don't know what I want to be when I 'grow up' at 28!

Oh said...

L, Let me go back, and then forward here.

About the wedding post (Oct 9): I thought I had commented but no! (I'm still in wedding lala land - loved it, every second and love how it impacts everything in a good way.) Anyway, I just want to say "thank you"and sending big hugs. You're an awesome friend to travel so far, be so beautiful to everyone (and looked it as well - with a dash of Frenchness - from scarf to overall style) and to above all be such a great friend to Nora and indeed now to her family. We love your visits, your observations, you "savoir faire"and your joy in all things.

ok, and now about this recent on age. It's so true and so expansive. Bravo to you for knowing these things (already) and lucky are those who know you and hear you herein.


Melissa said...

I love this. It makes me less anxious about hitting my mid 20's and eventually getting to my 30's. I still worry a lot about what my future holds and if I'm going about reaching that 'future me' the right way. It's really neat to see how much you grow over the years mentally, though, and how much your thought process can change about life expectations. I seriously hope that less anxiety about these things are in my future!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

This was an awesome post. I love when people actually don't wish to be younger. I mean sure, it would be nice to redo some moments in life, but really, those moments allow us to learn a lot too.

I feel like this last year I have been learning more and more about myself. Maybe it's the fact that I'm finally letting myself go back to school and actually brave the dreams and what ifs I've wondered for so long.

The older I get, the more I realize that my body (at whatever stage) is amazing. Even if I were to gain 20 lbs, there is still SO much that this body does for me. If I ever get back to my college weight, I hope that I remember that hating my body with every ounce of my being is SUCH a waste of time. There are so many other things to be passionate about in life. The older I get, the more I'm learning to love myself. It's been a long process and will continue to evolve, but it feels good to get to a place where I find more peace with me.

Lisa-Marie said...

Lisa, this is such a good post.

You ARE one of the cool kids. Your the one who's confident enough to be who you are. That's pretty cool. :)