It’s not something you think about as you chore through daily life and deal with all its ups and downs but when your husband and kids tell you that you don’t smile enough, you have to stop for a moment and face the music and then question, why?
I don’t know why. It’s probably the same reason you may not know why if you fall under the same category. I suppose life just gets too hectic to stop and taste the cherries (no puns intended there). As I’m approaching my 35th birthday, LOTS of things are running through my mind. When I turned 29 I thought life was over but then I remembered my mom telling me that the thirties were the best years in life: you still look good, you’re as thin as you’ll ever be from that point on, there’s no wrinkles yet and you gain maturity.
I had a huge blowout for my 30th, then one year later faced a marital separation which ultimately led to my expat adventures, a new marriage and now a new baby. Wow! How life takes you on these wild adventures I’ll never fully understand but I feel like the last five years just blew past me like the harsh winds in a desert storm. My eyes are still recovering from the grains of sand that flew in them and only now am I beginning to see clearly.
I have mixed emotions about this upcoming birthday. First, in my naive 20-something thought patterns, I thought I was going to be and do everything I ever wanted by the time I was 25. That’s a laugh…now that I know better. When it didn’t all happen I decided to not put a time limit on it because by that time I smartened up enough to know that things never turn out as you plan. So, is spontaneity the spice of life?
On a spontaneous whim I decided to give Germany a try. Though life hasn’t been very spontaneous since, that one move prompted a life I had always wanted but never thought I’d get. There were aspects missing in that dream I got but then I realized that I never got specific enough to get exactly what I wanted so with such generalizations like, I want to live in Europe and I want my daughter to grow up with a European education and blah, blah, blah, I actually did get exactly what I wanted. I got the first two exactly as I wanted but then the rest of life swirled in an odd way in order for me to get there.
So here I am facing the ten-year mark of when I thought I’d reach a certain place in my life and I can’t help but wonder if living life with naivety is wrong. Sometimes when we know the true difficulty of something before we begin we tend to shy away from actually trying to achieve it. Back in my early years as a waitress in a diner full of 65+ retirees, many of my dreams were shot down by their “words of wisdom” and advice warning me that usually dreams don’t come true because life slaps us down too hard and too often.
They called that diner “God’s Waiting Room” for a reason. I think back now and see that as they ate their bacon and eggs, complaining about politics and bugging me whether or not their coffee was really decaffeinated, their dreams were gone and not because they were old but because they had given up. With a mindset like that, I might as well shoot myself now.
So here’s a toast to all those individuals who consciously choose to smile, dream and try because life is meant to be the adventure that leads to the destination and not the other way around. Had I figured out this shit at 25 I might have had ten years of more happiness, fun, spontaneity and wild memories. But as mom said, the thirties are your best years, enjoy them. I intend to.
Smile because before you know it, you’ll need dentures! And I have a great smile. So do you.
Namaste, Tatiana von Tauber