Next month I’m going to be 34-years-old. I’ve got a husband, three children, two dogs, a career I love, and a house…the whole package. Now that I’ve reached my thirties though, I can’t help but wonder, “What’s next?” I spent my twenties hitting one life goal after another…literally. I met my future husband when I was twenty, was engaged at 21, married at 22, pregnant at 23, had a baby and graduated college at 24, bought a house and had my second baby at 25, got my first full-time teaching job at 26, changed teaching jobs at 27, was pregnant with my third baby at 28, and delivered him at 29. I then proceeded to settle into my dream job right when I turned 30-years-old.
It was a very busy, but very fulfilling ten years. It was by far the most defining decade of my life.
Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE the life I’m leading right now in my thirties. I wouldn’t change anything about it. I’m very happy and at peace with my life. All the hard work in my twenties has paid off. After reflecting on the last decade of my life though, I wonder if I should be setting more goals for myself or if I’ve finally reached the point where I’m “settled” into life (and all that entails). There are definitely no more babies on the horizon for me and while I plan on going back to school at some point for my Master’s degree, that’s not in the forefront of life right now either.
So, like I said earlier, what comes next for me?
We live in a world where the mindset of most people is bigger and better…bigger houses, better jobs, and more money. We are the generation of more, more, more. It’s a never ending cycle that can quickly become all-consuming and exhausting. It’s easy to get wrapped up in that and think we need to be doing more with ourselves. Complacency comes off as laziness, but I’m trying to break the cycle within myself and let “complacency” turn into contentment.
Why can’t we just be content with enjoying all the things we worked so hard for in our twenties?
I’m in a bit of an “in between” stage of life right now. Like I said above, every year in my twenties I had a “defining” moment. I haven’t had that yet in my thirties, so I think that’s why I’m feeling a bit lost. My boys are old enough that we’re no longer in the baby or toddler phase of life, but they’re young enough that we’re not in the teen phase of life either. We’ve made it through the hard days of sleepless nights, diapers, and breastfeeding, but we’re not quite to the stage yet where we’re jumping from one sporting event to the next and spending our days as endless chauffeurs. I love this time in our lives, but it’s definitely been a transition from what I’ve grown used to, and transitions can be hard.
Even though we may be going through a transitory time with our kids, anyone who is a mom knows it’s all consuming, all the time. My life is wrapped up in the lives of my children, no matter what their age. Every plan I make, anything I commit to long term, and every single event I type into my calendar is only taken into consideration with them in mind. At the ages of nine, eight, and four, I don’t have a lot of time to plan “what’s next” for me…my focus has shifted to “what’s next for them?” While I love this shift of focus, it’s just left me feeling a bit off kilter. Like I mentioned, I worked so hard in my twenties to get my life to this point, so I think a bit of complacency is just fine at this point in my journey.