For many, the New Year is an opportunity to reflect on all that has come before and ponder all that is yet to come. For those (like myself) who have birthdays on New Year’s Eve, the New Year is a time for double reflection…not just thinking about the past year but about all of life. Am I anywhere close to where I thought I’d be 20 years ago? If not, does it matter? What do I hope for the coming year, the next 20 years, and beyond?
As I reflect and ponder on the doorstep of my 44th birthday, there is much I have surmised. For starters, I can confidently say that while the glittery, unrealistic dreams of my early 20s have faded, so have the cynical sorrows of my late 30s and early 40s. Like many of my contemporaries, I started adulthood with a few delusions of grandeur (e.g., Maybe I’ll open the world’s first nighttime poetry bakery so that I can sleep in, bake cakes in the late afternoon, and write/perform poetry by night!) When I was shaken still by the realities of parenting and mortgages, traumatic injuries, and the relentless grind of life in my late 30s and early 40s, I spent a fair amount of time being angry and sad…wondering how I could have been so wrong about what my life would become. Though the cocky confidence of youth didn’t seem to fit anymore, at times, I still kept trying to wear it. Other times, I found myself feeling most comfortable in a dark shroud of doubts. Even while cocooned comfortably under all that fabric, somewhere inside I knew that those doubts didn’t fit right either.
Now, I feel like I’m settling into my style…or at least the style I’ll wear for the next season or two. This new style is eclectic…a bit of the pop and color of youth mixed with classic touches of realism. Doubts and confidence are great accessories but should be used sparingly. When it feels like I’m wearing too much of either, I’ll do my best to shed something in pursuit of the ultimate in comfort and style.
As my boys grow older and develop their own style, it’s difficult to speculate what trends lie ahead or how my own style will be affected or influenced. As I stand grasping the threads of who I thought I was with one hand and the threads of who I’m becoming instead in the other, I hope that I my instincts will guide me to put aside the colors and textures that no longer suit so that I can weave something beautiful and comfortable from what remains.