I know I am comfortable with my life these days, more than I have ever been. I still ask myself if I am sure there isn’t someone who will one day wake me up from my dream and tell me it’s time to go back to chaos. But for now, it’s my world and I am happy here. I look back at the last 40 something years and see that the dragons that stood in my path have always been about the 9's.
Let me go back, I should tell you what exactly the 9’s are. The 9’s are 19,29,39,49 ect… that year before the big change in your life. That year when you try to wrap it all up and make it look like the last 9 years you spent doing something lasting and memorable, those are the 9’s.
When I was 9, I was still in the 3rd grade. I was a child, small and fragile. Yet already I had known about death, loss, betrayal, and longed to run away from it all. 9 was when I would wander away from home, wait until almost dark, and dance wild and free with the fireflies. I found an abandoned house deep in the woods, climbed inside and considered making this my home instead of returning to the house that I had ran from. I wanted to be a lost girl, alone in a lost house. I would dance naked with the wild beasts, free from shame.
19 was big, I wasn’t going to get away with being a child anymore. I was finished with high school and looking to college. I didn’t have the ability to put on the breaks and turn around and run back to my childhood. I was going to have to embrace the fact that I was no longer going to be a teen and I was going to have to accept that responsibility with my head held high and my fears pushed behind me.
I had to face a small town that didn’t know what to do with me and in trade pushed me into the darkness. I suppose that the choices I had made the previous 19 years had also put me in a different position that the other 19 year olds around me. I cried tears of longing for my old friends and ways, missing their laughter and coolness in the summer heat.
In my world, 19 was more about letting go of my teenage hurt and tears and moving on with my life. It also was taking a deep breath and knowing that I wasn’t just a 19 year old, I was also a mother of two. My boys were counting on me not to screw this up. Each day was one step at a time towards the 20’s.
29 came fast. I was just starting to enjoy my 20’s when before I knew it they were over. Darn it I wanted them back! I wanted to have the time to dance under the moon and howl with the others in my pack.
I didn’t want to face 29 that asked me what I was going to do with the rest of my life and how I was going to work being a mother, a wife, and so much more. I found my dance, free as a wild bird and I really didn’t plan on giving that up without a good fight. I was surprised when 29 came at how many things had changed and how many things were just beginning. I was ready for the big changes in my life as the 20’s ended, yet reluctant and scared of them at the same time.
My 20’s gave me the greatest blessings in life that are still most important to me now. I left the life that I was afraid of as child and a teen, learned how to be alone, grew sad at the way life can quickly become so stale, and uneasy about the future. I started college and finished new adventures there. I had my heart broken and found friends who became my angels to mend it. I learned not to be afraid of my past, to embrace it for who it was making me into. I found that sometimes I hid behind walls and I was terrified of change. I took risks and accepted the consequences, then took bigger risks and loved the results.
I was hurt deeply by some I trusted, I hurt some who trusted me, and I tried my hardest to keep both from never happening again. By the time 29 came, I had married my knight, gave birth to an incredible daughter, watched my sons grow to be strong and brave, and learned to accept myself for who I was becoming. I left behind family who never really wanted me in their pack and rebelled against a family who was so different from my own that I didn’t know how to be a part of them and pulled away.
39 came and I didn’t master any great skill or win any big award. But I did raise 3 incredible sons who have left now to become their own men and tackle the world on their own. I hope that I have given them as much wisdom as I could to make their lives better, enough love to keep their hearts warm and gentle, enough strength so that they will also know the world and be brave enough to stand strong in it.
I can still snuggle my little girl, but only for a short time as she’s growing into her own independence now that she’s crossed her own 9 and inches close to the next.
I learned to give up my fear, the safety of my own little shelter was comforting and hid me away from the rest of the world. My fear of leaving home and traveling was great for a while, now I pack my bags for another adventure. My husband reminds me of my strength and encourage me to take more chances to explore. I love the adventure of exploring new places, excited by what I might find around the next corner. Each trip becomes easier and I learn to relax a bit faster.
Though I still long to discover a lost house in the woods and claim it as my own, to dance naked and wild with fireflies in the comfort of the night. Perhaps when I am 49 I will.