By the time you turn thirty years old, you're supposed to have your shit together. You're supposed to have your career and personal life in order, because, you know, after thirty, comes forty and then it's all downhill after. Well, at least that's what they say. They.Although, I'm where I want to be personally, I know I'm not quite where I always imagined I would be professionally. On the brink of a recent breakdown regarding my writing career, I e-mailed a beloved professor whom I've had the privilege to work with while I attended Columbia University for advice. In his email, he said, "The beautiful thing about writing is that there's no shelf date, really. Until you are ready, it doesn't exist, your "book," so you make it on your terms, on your time, and if you search through it for truth and beauty you really can't go wrong. Yes, you'll have to edit, and show it to people, but you're not off track, really. The best recipe against these fears is a life lived fully, without regrets, and if you do that -- and observe, and live mindful -- you will not feel you've chosen writing or living. There shouldn't be a choice." It was some of the most encouraging advice that I've ever received. I read his e-mail over and over again. I cried for hours. I was relieved.
It made me realize that personal and professional achievements come along when the time is appropriate. The crippling thought of how time is ticking away before you become a day old fruit shouldn't be the way I live my life. As long as I wake up everyday to work hard to create the life I want to live, I know everything will workout. To be honest, I think I've done a lot in my thirty years of life. I feel like I've truly lived every single one of those years. With its tremendous joys and crushing struggles, every single year I've lived through to be here is packed to the seams with a life well lived.
Today is my birthday. I'm thirty years old.
Thirty years from now, I don't want to look back and say how I didn't take my time to enjoy the company of my loved ones. I will cherish every second of being a mother and not think of it as the thing that slowed me down professionally. After all, motherhood is truly one of the most precious gifts I've received as a woman. This feeling I get when I think of my little son, the love I feel for him is so paralyzing that without a thought, I would give up everything I ever wanted professionally just to make him happy. I will enjoy every second of being a wife, because, besides my son, my husband and his unending support is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Of course, I will enjoy the moments I set aside to write and not allow myself to think I have to publish my book by a certain date. From now on, I will remind myself to live my life without regrets. I will observe and live mindful. I will not rush to get to the next point in my life. I want to truly live every moment of every day and give it the attention it deserves. That's the secret to a happy and productive life and I'm ready for it all.
[Photo: My husband and I before we went out for my birthday dinner.]