Thirty one and done

It is 9:00 pm here. I just got off the phone with M. – she just received a fellowship for her graduate program. Congrats, M! She will be – everywhere – this summer – tearing up the whole entire world. I am at once glad for her and relieved it’s not me because, and this I’ve just discovered, I am tired. S.’s graduation was last weekend – and it was a wonderful event, with friends, family, food and so much love. This week he moves our stuff down, only to immediately turn around and return to work for a few days before heading north to our cabin for some relaxation before finally, finally coming home. I woke up two days before S.’s graduation with a sinus infection taking over the left side of my face, and in the antibiotic laden days since I’m also suspecting a bit of a virus as well. My parents worry the stress of the transition caused my illness but I work in a hospital and I know sometimes an infection is just an infection, nothing more – nothing less, and this is what this happens to be. That said, I have decided, after S. leaves Saturday morning and I go to the farmers market, I am putting myself on a weekend of bed rest. If it can’t be done on my bed, it quite simply won’t be done. To my bed I will take dvds, books, my computer, and my photo albums, and my cell phone, and from my bed I will watch movies and read and blog and put photos away and catch up on calls but I will not leave it other than to eat for the weekend.

You know, S. and I have been together for ten years, married for eight. In that time, there are precisely nine months where one or the other of us or both have not been in school. Nine months out of ten years. That’s…well, quite frankly, I’m speechless on our behalf. That’s insane.

We had a catch phrase when we first decided to spend our lives together – that catch phrase is the title of this post. By calculating the degrees we both hoped to get, we figured by the time we turned thirty-one, we could complete all of our schooling. And by God, we did. Thirty-one  and done. We toasted to our catch phrase often, last weekend.

Hmm. Obama is just about to give his North Carolina acceptance speech…Indiana still too close to call. He is such a freaking rock star. He’s the only candidate with enough cajones to point out the ridiculousness of a gas tax holiday.  He has managed to maintain his dignity despite the ludicrousness of the whole Reverend Wright spectacle (and by the way, if people thought I stood for everything my minister has said over the years I would be in for a world of hurt) – we must be close, yes? To his nomination?

Anyway. I’m not sure what the point of this post really is – you know, I wrote so many gorgeous posts about S. and his graduation and our lives to this point and what might happen next, but they were all in my head. Instead, tonight, as I come to these keys, I feel mostly a great relaxation washing over me, as though I can really take deep breaths. I feel a mellowing – like there will be time, soon – time to write, to blog, to spend with friends and family. Time to just be.

The guiding catch phrase of our first decade together has been rendered moot – between us, we have two undergraduate degrees, an M.F.A., an M.T.S. and a Juris Doctor. We’ve talked about what will guide us for the next ten years, and we are pretty sure it is the acceptance of mess and chaos – we are quite sure our thirties won’t happen in nearly as orderly manner as our twenties did. We are both such first children, so concerned with retirement accounts and healthcare and education – that accepting a messier decade scares us in some ways. But in so many others – so many others – it feels wonderful. We may not have such a strict road map for our next ten years, but in them I suspect there will finally be time – to take a vacation in the autumn, or lose hours in good books, or even just take a weekend to sit on the bed and breath.

I expect my next post will come to you live from my bedroom (hmm – that sounds so much racier than it actually is) because what I am requesting of the upcoming years, in fact, what I insist on giving myself, is a healthier respect for the hours that make up my life, and using them not only to for work (both public and private) but for restoration, relaxation, pondering and play. Thirty one and done was certainly a remarkable decade, but it is time to move a bit less methodically, with a bit more wonder, and a lot more care.

Goodbye, thirty-one and done. You served us well.

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7 Responses to Thirty one and done

  1. Charlotte says:

    What an amazing decade. Well done to both of you for setting goals and achieving them. I hope the next decade brings you more time together, time to play and to enjoy what you have achieved.

    As for that weekend in bed, how lovely! Hope you feel happy and rested at the end of it.

  2. Litlove says:

    No wonder you feel tired, having to digest the implications of arriving at such a huge milestone! And well done to both of you for having stuck at your goals – many people wouldn’t have managed it. So glad you are taking good care of yourself and giving yourself time and rest. Being spacious is my new watchword, and I’m really loving it.

  3. auntjone says:

    Congrats to S for finishing and to the both of you for sticking by each other on such a long, stress-riddled journey. It will be worth it.

    I’m curious- do you feel slightly lost now that “thirty-one and done” is no longer your mantra? When I finally, FINALLY finished my paltry two year degree after 8 years of commuting and taking classes part time, I cried for joy upon receiving my diploma then thought “Now what the hell am I going to do with myself?” Sometimes reaching a big goal or milestone opens more windows (or perhaps books in your case) than it closes. Yes, that part is over, but look at what is ahead! Ack!

  4. musingsfromthesofa says:

    Oh congratulations! And now definitely time to take a breather and let it all sink in. It is so important just to stop every now and again. Especially to recover.

  5. Elaine says:

    Wishing you a happy, healthy, healing weekend. I’m so glad you understand the importance of taking care of yourself. The sooner you get better, the sooner we can celebrate all your exciting accomplishments properly. Can’t wait!

  6. Dorothy W. says:

    Enjoy that weekend of bed rest! It sounds lovely. And your thoughts as you look ahead to the next decade make so much sense — I’m sure it will bring wonderful things!

  7. Charlotte – thanks so much! The right side of my brain is already trying to talk the left side out of doing something so silly as staying on the bed all day, which is only strengthening my resolve. I know I NEED to do this and I must let myself…

    Litlove – “being spacious” – I love it – I might have to use it as my watchword as well. Our bodies, brains and hearts need time for rest and recovery and both are something I’m awful about giving myself…

    AuntJone – Hi! How is the pregnancy coming along? You know, I thought I might feel lost but I really don’t. My job has a huge learning curve and despite everything I still want to be a published writer, so that gives me a lot of goals to meet, too – I feel more relaxed and free and able to do the work I want to do. And since S. has to study for the bar, he doesn’t yet feel finished. And NO degree is paltry!

    Elaine – We will celebrate this and your house next Saturday after West Side Story. BTW, Kelly’s has 4 dollar margaritas that night.

    Dorothy – thanks for that. I have great hopes for the next decade, but first I need some rest, LOL.

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