I’m 40. I need to say this (okay, write this) out loud (on the computer) because lately I’ve been eluding myself that I’m “that age”. Not that I honestly think about it often or anything like that, but certainly, sometimes I do. 40. It seems like only yesterday I was 10 years old and had a plan….to be a “garden worker” (aka, gardener). I didn’t want children, didn’t want to get married (I mean, after going through a nasty divorce with my folks, didn’t seem worth the try). I just wanted to work outside in the yard with my pets. Simple, huh?
Then came 6th grade, and I upped my ante to “teacher”. I wanted to become a teacher because my 6th grade teacher roomed with Medusa. She was scary, she was mean, and we shared the same last name, “Clark”, oh, and she dated my dad a few times. Yuck. No teacher should ever date her student’s dad, unless he’s not MY dad, and unless the teacher is super COOL. Mine wasn’t, so in order to make the world a better place with less mean and devilish teachers I decided I’d become one myself. Age 11, I had a plan. Still no marriages, still no kids, just teach and live my life.
40. Obviously, plans change. And, change. And, change again. Over and over and over. I’m not a teacher; I’m an admin assistant for a vineyard management company, and I love my work. I’m also not married, but I have been, more than once, and I’ve learned my lesson. I have a daughter, and I can’t imagine my life without her, ever. And, my life is anything but simple, pretty much like the rest of the world.
This past Friday I celebrated 15 years clean and sober. No need to go into my history…you can enjoy early blog posts if you want to catch up a bit. Please do! But, 15 seems strange because it was at 15 my drinking truly became a problem, and not only did my life’s plan change, the options did, also. I’m grateful I’m sober today. I’m grateful my daughter has never seen me drunk. I’m grateful I have a slight fear of ever taking a drink again…a healthy fear. I’m grateful I enjoy life with a clear mind and a clean heart because for me, sober is the only way I can do that. So, now at 15 I begin anew and apart from who I was at my first 15. Pretty darn awesome!
40. One thing about celebrating sobriety birthdays is I tend to reflect. More-so than my belly button birthday I think about what I was like before, the choices I made, the behavior I displayed, and the constant turmoil I felt every time things got out of hand. A co-worker of mine offered me 2 bottles of wine last Friday because he had an abundance given to him this past Christmas. Ironic? Sure it was. I reminded him that I don’t drink, and he said, “Really?” Obviously this tells you that I can act just as ridiculous as the next girl at a party with or without being intoxicated, ha, ha. (Love it!) Then he said, “Well, it’s over-rated anyways.” Interesting. I thought about his comment, and I shared his sentiment. As the day went on I felt immense joy fill my heart. 15.
I’ve learned to listen a bit. I’ve learned to listen to my gut, my heart, and my own mind, but I’ve also learned to listen to those who’ve gone before me. Those whom I trust. Those whose intentions are not self-seeking but rather knowledgeable and caring. It was in my early days of sobriety I believe this transformation began. Instead of doing everything my way no matter what (look where it got me) I had to rely on the suggestions of others to make it through one day at a time without drinking. I held on for dear life. I went breath by breath, moment by moment sometimes waiting through the nerves and the discomfort as if every hour was filled with 120 minutes instead of 60. And, I realized it pays to listen. It pays even bigger to follow what is laid before me from the right folks with the right intentions-my mom, my closest friends, my boss. I don’t always do it, of course, but when I do I find more times than not these wiserthanI people are right!
I got a call from my kiddo Thursday who was down south visiting Grandma and then going to her dad’s for the remainder of the weekend. She’d been gone the entire week-only the second time we’ve done this, and for the same reason: lack of childcare during winter break. She was upset and crying and said she missed me and wanted to come home. Now, she did miss me, this is true, and I know she wanted to come home. But, truthfully, she was also upset because Grandma had put her foot down about a certain situation, and Maycee didn’t like it. I texted her dad, “Maycee’s having a rough time. Might need to get her early this weekend.” Then, I told my boss about the call. She said emphatically, “She’ll be fine. You don’t need to rescue her! You need to enjoy this last bit of Kasey time. Ride your horse tomorrow-alone. Don’t go get her early. She can handle it, and her dad can handle it.”
I went home that night and thought it over. I called Maycee and talked to her only to hear the sadness entirely gone from her voice. “I don’t think I can get you early, Sweetie. You have the birthday party to go to with your dad, and it’s at 5:00 on Saturday.” “That’s okay, Mama (chewing in my ear as she had her dinner), I’ll be fine! I’m better now.” My boss said she’ll be fine…I trust my boss…she has been where I am. Her dad texted me, “You can get her early on Sunday, otherwise, we’ll be fine this weekend.” The confidence in his voice affirmed his words. I listened. FINE, FINE, and FINE. Well, okay, then! Three “fines” makes an A-Okay in my book!
At 40 and 15 what’s the new plan??? To keep doing what I’ve been doing. To keep working towards the simplicity desired in my childhood years. To be open to change because it’s always waiting; it’s the only thing that is guaranteed. And, to keep listening and following when I know it’s the right thing to do. The results speak for themselves.
Life is short, Readers. Listen carefully, be happy, and always, always give a chuckle!