I turn 34 next week. To my own surprise, I have been able to relax comfortably into my 30's as they are not as scary as my 24 year-old self thought they might be. Something about THIRTY-FOUR sounds grown up though.
Like, legit grown-ups are 34 right?
Just the other day I was talking to Tommy about how we need to start teaching him how to tie his own shoes. He was overwhelmed at the thought of it because naturally it's easier to have someone else do this for you and he was certain that he wouldn't be able to figure it out. I explained that he will spend his whole life growing up and having to learn to do new things - learning how to tie your shoes is just one of those new things. And me and dad will be there to help him until he figures it out for himself. I told him that growing up means learning and changing and doing things that are new and sometimes uncomfortable or even scary.
And in this conversation I was having with my five year old son, I was saying them to myself. No one needed that reminder more than me.
My recent flare up with Rheumatoid Arthritis has triggered some other things in regards to my health and physical body. The last couple of weeks have been full of doctor's visits and bloodwork and X-rays and new medications and vitamins and plans to get healthier with the help of all of the doctors I have been so purposefully avoiding.
For years now, I've been in denial. I have been resistant to change. And I have been scared of what it would mean or look like to go down any of these paths. It has been in my head that seeing a doctor about any health-related issue was equivalent to failure because I couldn't get better or fix something on my own and I should have been able to somehow. And as I have embarked on this new journey, I have realized that choosing to see a doctor doesn't mean failure or defeat. It means that I am choosing life, health, and hope. I am learning that doctors and overall medical scary-ness is simply part of my story and choosing to seek a doctor, to trust a doctor and purposefully submit to one is both a victory and an act of repentance for me. It seems as though God has written even this piece into my story. To redeem yet another place for me as He is always so faithful to do.
And maybe growing up looks like asking the people for help that can really help you.
I'm not sure I was truly ready for any of this until now. The seeing a doctor thing and figuring out what I really need to do to take care of my body. But at the age of 34, I think I'm finally in a place where my desire to take care of myself has caught up with my desire to act on it. Even if it's scaring the crap out of me and it's a major drag. Because it does and it is.
But maybe that's what growing up is all about. If you know me or my story at all, you would know that I have a history of learning things the hard way. Sometimes I need to make mistakes, and then make some more exactly like them before I can learn what it is that I'm needing to. I mean, we can hear things and we are taught things and are guided in certain directions. But until we make those decisions for ourselves and act on them, we haven't really grown up at all.
Last week as I was wrestling through decisions and sitting with the weight of lab results and doctor's advice, I went to God with all that I was thinking and feeling and fearing. And it was as if He told me this very thing. It's time to grow up Jenn. I've grown you here - I've been growing you here. You're ready for this. It's time. And He reminded me that If I could give up sweets for 40 days during Lent and if I could train and complete a half-marathon (which, hi, I sort of never wrote about that) then I could certainly do more. My body is ready. And so is my heart.
I've officially decided it's time to grow up. Though I'm not sure how much of a decision it really was. I think growing up is one of those things that has been happening inside of me for quite some time. And now that I am faced with big decisions and weighty news, my grown up self is acting on them in grown up ways.
All of this is a birthday gift to myself. Maybe not exactly what I'm wanting, but it's exactly what I've been needing.
So, Tommy will be learning how to tie his shoes. And I will be at doctor's visits and doing new things to care of my body as I pursue wellness. It's time to do the things that we don't really want to do.
Because no one else can do it for me,
Because I am growing up and I'm not the same.
Because I can.
And because He has been growing me, pruning me, preparing me for this very season.
Spring is coming. And something new is ready to break through the surface and burst forth.