Ready to rock?! My first guest for I'm thankful week is my friend Karen. Karen can cook and entertain like nobody's business. I know because we've been throwing awesome parties together for the last year for the ladies in our ward. She is an awesome mom, like, seriously awesome, and I hope I can be as amazing as she is when I'm 35 and seven months. Which is, you know, quite a ways a way. Ah hem. Anyways. Karen is magical with words, spoken + written, truly, and I'm so happy to share her with you today. . .
I'm completely tickled that Jenn asked me to do this for her. I am in awe of Jenn; her amazing talents and her sweet, sweet spirit so being asked to contribute to one of my favorite reads was a real treat. I only hope I can do her justice! I've been thinking for several days about the things I'm thankful for. It seems like such a long list and I could go on and on so narrowing it down was a bit tricky.
My husband tops that list. My decision to marry him is the best thing I've ever done and the goodness that abounds in my life right now can all be attributed to that beautiful day in September just over 13 years ago.
My kids come next; those four perfectly imperfect spirits that fill our home and keep my world spinning round and round have given me more joy, more love, more learning, than I thought possible.
Chocolate would be near the top of that list.
OPI nail polish.
You get the idea.
But what I wanted to talk about today, what I've been wrestling with no matter how hard I tried to shake it, is that I'm thankful for time. For what's behind me and what's to come. To put it simply, I'm thankful for the chance to grow up.
Let me explain.
As it sits right now, I am 35 years old. 35 years and 7 months if you want to get technical. And my life at 35 years and 7 months is a pretty darn fantastic. I have my challenges, for sure, but I have learned a lot and I finally feel happy in my skin. It wasn't easy getting here but I can promise you that there has been a palpable change in the way I see myself, my life, and my world as I've gotten a wee bit older.
In my 20s, I was consumed by the whos, whats, hows, and dids of my life. Who thought what of me? Who said that? What should I do? Are they mad? Did I disappoint them? Are they judging me? Do I need to apologize? Should I have said/done/worn that? Do they still like me?
It was exhausting.
And even though from the outside it looked like I had it together (or maybe it didn't) I was a wreck inside. I couldn't make my own decisions for the life of me. I asked other's opinions on everything. I was in constant fear of disappointing someone or offending someone or losing relationships that I thought were crucial in my life. So I became a yes-(wo)man. I would do whatever people asked of me. I would sacrifice my own wants and needs (and those of my growing family at times) for the wants and needs of others. I had stretched myself so thin that I barely recognized who I was.
And then I turned 30.
And here I landed, at 35 years and 7 months and I can tell you that the maturity, the grounding and centering of myself that has occurred over time has been the single greatest gift I have ever given myself.
And I am so thankful for that.
You always hear people say that your 20s are the best time in your life. And lots of wonderful things happened to me in my 20s. I graduated college. I got married. I had babies one and two. And every day, I took steps and made decisions and discovered who I was so that I could get here, to 35 years and 7 months. And for me, here is so much better than there.
I think when you're unsure of yourself, when you look outside of yourself for validation or acceptance or love, you give your power away. I know that sounds like the tagline from some after school special (remember those?) but it is so true! You say to the world "tell me who I am so I can be that person!" But when you grow, when you experience trials and hardships, when you are forced to look at who you are and decide if you like what you see, you get all that power back. And that power can be life-changing.
I don't need others to tell me what to do. I don't have to rely on the words/actions/thoughts of others to determine what kind of day I'm going to have. I don't have to wear certain clothes or style my hair a certain way. I can do what I want. I can be who I am. I can feel good about why I am here, the job I have to do and I can take my place in the world with my head held high. I can know that I am exactly as I was intended to be. And finally, that can good enough. I, with my shortcomings and insecurities and issues, am good enough.
And so, in this season of Thanksgiving, when I look around and stand in awe of the world around me, I can take a moment to celebrate the journey that's gotten me here. I can be thankful for the chance I've had to grow up. To figure some things out in this life and try and be better, day after day, year after year. I can be thankful for all the days that are behind me and the ones shining brightly in my future. I can be thrilled with what I've learned and look forward to all the lessons headed my way. So yes, I'm thankful for time. For growing up. So incredibly thankful. This growing up stuff is pretty darn fantastic. All 35 years and 7 months of it.
Thanks Jenn. This was just what I needed, just when I need it. I heart you.
Thank You Karen! I heart you too!
You can read more from Karen at Life According to the PRP.
and so appropriate!
it may have been perfect timing
for karen, but i think also for
this audience. :)
the perspective is refreshing.
thank you to both of you
Totally refreshing, spot on, and inspiring. Karen's been my friend for more than 32 of her 35 years and her words still amaze me and make me think! I'm thankful for her... great post!ReplyDelete
I love this. It's so true. Being "in my 30's" has been so much better than my 20's. The best part is that wonderful feeling of finally loving myself for exactly who I am. It is liberating!ReplyDelete
I love growing up too! I'm way more comfortable in my own skin now than I was 10 years ago and it seems to keep getting better. Great post Karen!ReplyDelete
I agree with everything that's been said here. I love being in my 30's because of the experiences I've had and the wisdom I've gained---they only could have come about through time.ReplyDelete
Way to say it so eloquently, Karen!
Love your "I'm thankful" week, Jenn!
Thank you for inviting Karen to share her inspirational words for all of us to read. Through you I have came to enjoy reading her blog about the trial and tribulations of life. I am not currently as wise as Karen is today but I hope that one day I will get there. Thank you again. I love "I'm Thankful" week, and have participated in it in my own way on my blog: http://kailirae-herewithme.blogspot.com/
I cannot wait to read the rest of the thankfull-ness this week :)
Nice job kicking off thankful week Karen! If everyone was more comfortable in their own right I think we'd have Alot less troubles in the world.ReplyDelete
Don't sell yourself short Jenn. You are a great writer and I love your quiet...er countenance. You say things worth saying and with thought when you do. Although it might be easy for some to think your greatest talent is your ability to create....to me, your greatest gift is that you are just a really.good.person.
Loved this! Isn't it so much nicer to be comforatable with yourself than doing the things you think others think you should be doing? And man, Karen, you make the 30's look great!ReplyDelete
Beautifully said. We should all pause once and a while and just be thankful for time.ReplyDelete
Loving Karen's posts lately. Just what I needed to hear. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Definitely puts life in perspective!ReplyDelete
I love your perspective Karen. I feel much like you, in that I've earned these years and these wrinkles.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Karen!
I love the Johnson family! Thank You Jenn and Karen for reminding me i have mounds to be thankful for :)ReplyDelete
karen! i'm so happy to have been able to meet another sweet tri-cities lady! your perspective is wonderful & i will be sincerely celebrating the experiences that i've had that have gotten me to my 30's as well. thank you for the reminder karen....your words here are much appreciated.ReplyDelete
I loved this post. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Wow, I needed to read this. Today. There are times when I am so sure of myself, my actions, my needs, my place, that I can function well and know I am where and doing what I am needing to do. And then there are weeks like this. Thank you for your fresh and real perspective.ReplyDelete