Someone told me once upon a time that I would start to “figure life out” the closer I got to 30 years old. Or maybe is was Carrie Bradshaw…
Enjoy yourself. That’s what your 20s are for.Your 30s are to learn the lessons. Your 40s are to pay for the drinks.
Well…I don’t know that I necessarily have life “figured out” or that I could even look back and say that I “enjoyed myself” the way that a lot of people do in their 20’s. I did all of my partying right out of high school. But regardless…I was making a point…
Figuring it out… Closing in on my 30’s… Oh yeah…my point…
I have reached the point in my life where I’m learning to not care what other people think of me, my choices and the way that my family and I live our life.
(Actually, I’d more or less quote Rhett Butler here, but I won’t. I think you catch my drift.)
I woke up the other day, my babies in the bed beside me still snoring, and smiled. My husband’s still damp towel hanging over the shower curtain, a reminder that he was up and going first thing to provide for our family. The fan was whirling and I washed the sleep off my face. I stood up and found myself kind of staring. The realization that this is my life kind of settling in.
And more than that, the realization that this is me kind of echoed in my head.
I spent a big portion of my life to this point avoiding anything that remotely resembled self examination. I look in the mirror to put on makeup or make sure that my clothes aren’t all wrinkled or tucked into places they shouldn’t be (seriously…tucking your skirt into your underwear is one of my biggest fears).
In high school, I could look in the mirror and find a million things wrong with what I saw. My nose was too big, my eyebrows too bushy, my cheeks too fat, my hips/thighs/booty too big, my boobs too small, my was it too pudgy….I could do that for an eternity. Finding fault in pretty much every aspect of my appearance. And I won’t even get started on all of the inward qualities that I would criticize.
At 21 I had my first baby and my self-esteem hit rock bottom. I got married and was a size 4. Not necessarily in shape or fit, but skinny regardless. Almost an unhealthy skinny…bordering on eating disorder skinny. After my first baby came the move to Kodiak where the most exercise anyone got was shoveling snow and comfort food was a yearly staple. I maxed out weight wise the day that Jonah was born in 2012 at 205 pounds and (baby or no baby) I was absolutely disgusted by what I saw.
Fast forward to almost three years later, 75-80 pounds lost and inching ever so slightly to my 30th birthday in another two years (I’m an old soul…I should have been 30 an eternity ago), I look in the mirror and I’m happy with what I see.
While there are physical aspects of who I am that I am working on (and by “working on” I mean a massive change in my eating habits that has ensued and a daily fitness routine to strengthen my body and tone up), I’m actually at a point in my life where I’m content with just being me.
I don’t find myself so entranced with the media and what they say is smart/beautiful/talented/whatever. And in all honesty, there aren’t really very many people whose opinions that I take into account. I have a very short list of people who I care to hear what they think, but otherwise, I’ve recognized one very important truth.
I am the ME that God created me to be.
He knows me better than anyone ever has or ever will. He knows my flaws, my quirks and my best characteristics. He knows that I tend to use inappropriate four letter words when I’m angry or upset or step on another lego in the dark on my way to the kitchen. He knows that I struggle with a Chick-fil-a Sweet Tea addiction that I really haven’t been able to kick yet (though kudos to my self control in ensuring that I’ve had my half body weight in ounces amount of water before I let myself indulge…and I only indulge in the medium now not the large). He knows the internal struggles I still have…the insecurities that I haven’t kicked that have nothing to do with my outward appearance. He knows the skeletons that still hang in my closet and he knows my weaknesses.
And you know what? He loves me anyway.
…in spite of those things. …because of those things. …regardless of those things. …he died for those things.
There are things that I still need to change in myself. And there always will be. But the sense of finding my identity in the approval of those around me ? That has slipped away.
I look in the mirror and shrug my shoulders.
Who cares what they think?
Who are they anyway? And when did my life focus become about their opinion?
I look over at my sleeping babies…the babies that my body carried for 9 months and then brought into the world….the babies who tell me how much they love me more times than I can count every day…I touch that damp towel and think of the man who chose me to be his wife and puts up with my neurotic tendencies…and I smile.
I look into that mirror and smile my thousands-of-dollars-worth-of-dental-work smile (braces for almost five years…thanks mom & dad) at myself and think to myself:
Courtney Kirkland is a Southeast Alabama Writer & Designer. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, intentional design to small businesses & bloggers and encouraged thousands to walk in a rich faith in any situation.