On Friendship, Being 30 and 16 Weeks Pregnant…

I’m 30! I’m pregnant! Two huge milestones in my life. Looking back throughout the years, the nebulous themes of being married, pregnant or 30 were all lumped into a fuzzy category of “someday” and were exciting prospects that I didn’t think practically about at all.

One thing I gave some impractical thought to was being 30. That was because I was a little bit scared of turning 30. The whole idea of it being a big mile marker in one’s life, the fact that my Mom had all of her kids by age 30, the fear of getting gray hairs or wrinkles. Nobody wants to think about that, but I’m a natural worrier so that’s where I went: Old. Gray. Wrinkles?

Of course being 30 is still considered young. I have years to go until I’m considered “old”. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of critical thinking about my life and future I would be doing at this stage in my life. Luckily, I don’t have many regrets about my 20s aside from wishing I  had stuck up for myself more in my first two jobs (internship and an awful place in Falls Church) and been able to spend more one on one time with my Grandmother before she died (we were close). My problem in life has never been about regretting things. From a young age I’ve been so afraid of regretting anything that I’ve erred on the “crazy side”. Over analyzing what my goals were and what I wanted to do, spending time worrying about not being able to do those things to the point of exhaustion. OCD is something I’ve had since I was young and the fears associated with what *could* happen (bad things) drove me to spend loads of time praying that none of these things would come to pass, but a positive side effect being my career and lifestyle because of hyper-vigilance and perfectionism.

I’ve had lots of time to think lately. Thinking about my life, where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’ve been pretty sick a lot of the time during the last four months with pregnancy nausea and vomiting. It has caused me to realize how drastically (for the better) my life has changed in the last short 5 years. The last 5 years have flown by. I met James in 2007 and feel that was the point in my life where so many things opened up to me. I think I’ve become much more confident in my myself because of James and what he has done in my life. Beyond being the love of my life and my everything, he is truly a kindred soul. I feel understood by him. Whenever I talk about my opinions or ideas about things, it seems that he’s already done some thinking or reading about it or has a similar take. He often knows the expansive history on a topic and some tidbit of wisdom to offer. It’s amazing to know that whenever I want to run something like an idea, observation, theology or general pondering question, he’ll usually have something totally new and interesting to point out or suggest. I love this about him. We often have really interesting conversations at home that sometimes I wish I could record as a journal.

All this to say that going through this new season of life with him has been amazing because I feel so grounded in his perspective. James has been through many things that cause a person to search for answers. I’m walking through life with a man full of wisdom and knowledge to offer. When I bring up something I am working out in my head about life—which is often—with all the thinking about parenthood, philosophies about living and dealing with a definite shift in life season, he’s been a constant source of encouragement and right perspective. As a highly emotional person I often can’t see the forest for the trees. One thing I recently have mulled over a lot are the idea of friends and how the friendships change during seasons of life. My friendships have always been highly important to me. I have some rare and treasured friendships that have lasted over a decade. Two of my closest friends, I met when I was in 4th grade and we’re still close.

The 30s are a real time of transition. Making friendships isn’t as easy as it once was. The friends you do have seem to matter much more. I think James’ perspective has helped me a lot in this area. I have gotten down about changing friendships, people moving away, or the loss of friendships due to life circumstances. One thing James has pointed out is that, like everything in life, things change over time. It’s normal. I think I expect things to remain the same with my friends. While I don’t intend to resign myself to “Oh this is how it is; people get older, choose their lifestyle, memories fade into the past and that’s normal” with certain people. I do understand that sometimes things just move along and certain friends are in your life for a season. I have friends that were once very close and life just got busy and we moved and we just don’t keep up. No hard feelings, just change. But some friendships are worth working on and maintaining despite changes in life. My core group of friends have a similar view as I do about how important our friendships are in our lives. Recently I’ve been having phone dates with my DC friends and it’s really helped a lot during some dark times of feeling isolated and depressed. As an extrovert being sick and laying in bed most of the day can make everything seem depressing—even though I know rationally things will get better. I’m thankful. I’m thankful for friends who have been by my side through the years. Thankful for friends that have been a constant source of support and encouragement during a tough times and good times.

Just as our mind is strengthened in contact with vigorous and well-ordered minds, so too it is impossible to overstate how much it loses and deteriorates by the continuous commerce and contact we have with mean and ailing ones.
From “Of Friendship”, An essay by Michel de Montaigne

A friend is one who knows all about you and likes you anyway.
Christi Mary Warner

 

And just because this song is so much about nostalgia, getting older and treasuring what we have…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM7-PYtXtJM&ob=av2e

And a version just for Margaret of course!

4 comments on “On Friendship, Being 30 and 16 Weeks Pregnant…

  1. Margaret January 17, 2012 11:50 pm

    Beautiful photos of friends!

    You always know exactly what to say, Steph. And you’re never afraid of saying what you feel. I love you for that. Your connection to all your friends, and James, as well as the commitments you have made to one another is honest and perennial. It would be too easy to forgot about those we love.
    On the other hand, 30 is not easy. At least the first 6 months aren’t, from what I’ve been learning and hearing from friends. The summer of ’81 birthdays are in a rough spot right now, I think.

    I have a funny feeling that just when we think it couldn’t get worse, something miraculous will happen. It will be the calm after the storm. Soon. I know it will be. Especially for you and your health.

    Since the summer, I think we’ve been blessed with these milestones of 30 however daunting they may have seen 5 years ago. However stressful yet fulfilling they are now. New jobs, new homes, new cities, birthdays, breakups, pregnancies!! Being 30 just means we can handle it all, more maturely, with peace. But a shoulder to lean on is always welcomed every once in a while or so. (which means, I MISS YOU!)

    I do have one regret, though — I wish we had taken more pictures when we lived on Fairmont. 😉

    Thank God for the LOPES!
    xo
    M

    PS – Is James giving you rabbit ears in that pic??!

  2. Steph January 18, 2012 1:02 pm

    I miss you too. Thanks for your sweet words!!! Made me tear up.

    I do wish we had more pics of our days on Fairmont. I think that was when my camera had bit the dust and I just wasn’t taking photos very often?? If you find any, send them my way.

    And yes, I am totally getting the bunny ears in that photo. He loves doing that. HAHAHAHAHA

    XO!

  3. Anna January 31, 2012 12:08 am

    Awww, Steph I’m so glad we’re friends and don’t forget I always have time for you!

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