The week we brought my first child home from the hospital, I received a card from my sister-in-law. The sentiment inside said simply and pointedly, “Now you know.” There has never been a more true statement. Most of us are blessed to know children and some of us are blessed to be part of other people’s children’s lives. I cared for my nieces and nephews and I have babysat my friends’ children too. My job is to care for and educate hundreds of children over the last 18 years. But, none of this experience actually prepared me for the moment the nurse said, “OK, you’re on your own. I’ll be back to check on you in an hour.” I asked with grave naivety, what if he needs a diaper change, to which she casually responded, “then you’ll change it.” Life is crazy, one day you are not a parent and then suddenly you are.
There is only the time of pregnancy to actually prepare. They call it “nesting.” They say that your body and mind begin to prepare for a baby. Your body is tired and that may be purposeful to prepare for sleepless nights with a newborn. And your mind drives you to organize and prepare the home to be safe and nurturing.
This is how I feel about my 30s. I feel like the entire purpose of my 30s was to catapult me into my 40s and into my own skin just like pregnancy created a foundation for being a mamma. Carter was born when I had just turned 30. At 32 I accepted my first promotion and entered school administration. At 36 I accepted my first principalship. I have worked my tail off. My mom has always called me a “work horse.” I don’t know any other way to behave than to put in all of my efforts and uphold strong integrity in my employment. Meanwhile, I have kept a marriage alive and sometimes thriving. Right honey? As well as birthing and raising three of my favorite humans on the planet! My mom always laughs when she’s asked a question about the 1980s; she never knows ’80s trivia. She says she skipped the ’80s because she was busy raising four kids. Too bad, the ’80s were AWESOME. Quick, name the movie, “AS YOU WISH…”, “This is our time down here”, and “who you gonna call?” See, it was a great decade! But, again, “now I know.” I have spent my 30’s: building a career, learning from mistakes, and building a family. Yet, I wonder many things. Who am I? Who is Allison Carmichael and what is she going to do with this crazy and beautiful life? It is a decade lost.
The time was lost mainly due to an unstable outlook on life that left me always wondering. I often wondered about my chosen career, chosen home, chosen lifestyle. I wondered if they were the right choices. All this wondering has taken me on this beautiful and ever-so meaningful Second Arrow path! Without the pain, the bad times, the tough experiences, the failures, and the wondering, I would never have found meditation and mindfulness. And so for the last two years of my 30s I learned and ultimately gained chutzpah to create something to share with others, my Second Arrow ideas. Still, I will never get back my 30s. Count me out for Trivial Pursuit the Early 2000s Edition.
I have only just turned 40, but I have already had one mindful presentation, showing great vulnerability in simply presenting my own creation, and now doors are opening, ideas are flowing and people seem to find value from my words and lessons that have helped me so much. I am so blessed, but I am also thankful for the 30s. I cannot wait to see what is to come to fruition all from this lost decade.