Parenting has a way of changing just about everything. Matters that once held a prestigious spot at the top of your priority list find themselves knocked down a few pegs, or cast aside altogether. All to make room for the massive life overhaul that is… baby. Life pushes you to reinvent yourself. Not just once, over and over again. With every new season of adulthood, comes a new you. New challenges, new ways of coping, new reasons for joy (and worry). One thing that surprised me as I made my way through my first few seasons of parenting was the way my view on going out or staying home changed so drastically. I looked back at old pictures the other day, and it became oh-so-evident how times have changed.
18 year old me: She’s absolutely immersed in her friendships. She’s got plans every night of the week and is always dating someone new (but not seriously because #wildandfree). She lives for a late night drive with her girlfriends to nowhere in particular, ending at the hometown Steak and Shake where she’ll carelessly converse about nothing with just about everybody until way past her curfew.
21 year old me: She lives for “going out.” Her closet is comprised of 70% shiny, sequin-adorned tube tops carefully selected from the Charlotte Russe rack. She’s got freedom, energy, and the ability to drink all night without suffering from a crippling hangover the next day. She takes a long shower, spends two hours getting ready with a mixed drink in hand, and heads out no sooner than 10PM. She laughs, she drinks, she dances until 2AM.
27 year old me: She’s settled down a bit, but jumps on any chance to relive the good old days. She misses college with a fierce passion and longs for the days she and her husband would spend 12 hours in a row laughing with friends. She’s got goals and adult responsibilities, but can be easily convinced to throw caution to the wind and splurge on a weekend filled with festivities. Nowadays, however, she wakes up each time thinking I’m never doing that again.
33 year old me: Her whole world has changed. While she still misses her carefree nights out and loves the anticipation of a carefully planned weekend, her joy is in the day-to-day. She works hard and pours every ounce of energy she’s got into her kids. As she sails through the ups and downs of her busy day, she’s waiting for that sweet moment when she’ll sink into her couch. She’s at her most relaxed knowing her kids are safe and comfortable sleeping upstairs while she enjoys 3/4 of a glass of wine and consumes a couple hours of Netflix.
I loved, and I mean LOVED, my high school and college days. There is something intangibly spectacular about that decade of wild happiness, focusing on nothing but your own passions. But here I am, in this new season of life… and I think I’m at my happiest yet. There is something to be said about feeling so comfortable in your own skin, in your predictable routine, living in the nest you built. I’ll never grow tired of looking back at old pictures of that tan, well-rested girl. She’s so happy. But some serious blood, sweat, and tears went into earning my spot on this comfy couch, handsome husband beside me, sleeping kiddos on the baby monitors. I think I’ll grab a cozy blanket and give my heels a rest for now.