Baby / Moments / Thoughts

On Easter and Holi and adulthood

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how settled we feel here. After moving 9 times in the last 5 years; after three countries, three states, one whirlwind courtship, a Foreign Service job offer, a speedy engagement, a marriage, China, a baby, America, India, it’s hard to imagine life without adjusting to at least one life-changing event or international move every 3 months.

And yet, here we are. The dust has settled and–almost without realizing it–I’ve traveled so far from where I was 5 years ago. I’m no longer a recent college grad. I’ve now lived overseas for longer than I ever lived in D.C. I’m not a newlywed anymore, or even a brand new mother. For the first time in my life, I no longer feel defined by any recent life-changing event.

I certainly don’t feel like a grown up and I anticipate many more years of growth and change and international relocations ahead of us, but at the same time I can’t help but think there can only be one first born, one first overseas assignment. There could only ever be one man who could ask me to marry him while waiting for a takeout pizza who I could have ever said yes to.

Maybe this is what it means to reach adulthood–to realize that, no matter what comes next, the most formative events of our lives may no longer be ahead of us, but behind us instead-whatever those events may be for different people.

10 years ago, I would have found the above idea depressing. Today though it feels exhilarating, liberating even. For five years I’ve been a happy pinball, in a state of constant reaction to the new and changing contours of my life. It was fun and exciting, but it’s also hard to really savor the moment or act with deliberate intention when one is constantly ricocheting from one life-altering event to the next.

So, it’s nice, for at least a few months, to just…be. To be a mom to our son, to hang out with my husband, to plot my next moves and push myself a little creatively and intellectually.

Which is all, perhaps, a very, very long way to go to say that I really like knowing we have one more year here. That, as much as I’m looking forward to bidding and moving some place new and exciting next year, as much as I’m looking forward to growing our family at some point, it also feels really good to know that we won’t be doing either for the first time ever again.

And, on an only very tangentially related note, it doesn’t matter too much that Will didn’t get into Holi this year. With a little luck, we can always try again next year.

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Easter eggs, on the other hand. Will really gets into those.

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8 thoughts on “On Easter and Holi and adulthood

  1. You write beautifully and I love the way you look at things. Although I don’t think we can possibly be that different in age, I still have many of the formative moments you mentioned ahead of me. But I’m okay with that. The important thing is reveling in the moment and having something to look forward to. I’m glad you’ll be able to enjoy India for a while longer so that not everything is *always* new.

    • Thanks Jessica! As I wrote in response to Liz, I don’t think its the nature of the events that matter so much as the realization after they’ve occurred that they were transformative, whether its related to relationships or travel or work or even just some sudden, life-changing, epiphany. For me, it’s been such a wild ride in part because so much happened so fast and really took me by surprise. I never thought I’d meet my future husband a week after moving to D.C. and it never even occurred to me when I met him that we might end up living on the opposite side of the world together. It was a lot to happen all in a very short time frame and so that definitely colors my thinking about growing up and milestones, etc! Thank you as always for reading and commenting!

  2. I have to agree with Jessica – this is so thoughtfully written and easy to relate to (though I hopefully still have the motherhood thing to look forward to!). Adapting to new places and making new friends is not the easiest thing in the world, but you have away of keeping everything in perspective and being comfortable with where you are now, but aware and open to possibilities that await your next assignment. It’s a crazy life! 🙂

    • Thanks Liz! It took me a while to figure out how to write what I wanted to say so I’m glad to hear it was read in the spirit I wrote it! I don’t think that the transformative milestones of a person’s life are the same for everyone. Maybe, for some people, they feel fully formed and comfortable in their skin long before they get married or start a family or settle into a career–if they ever even desire those things. Maybe for other people it’s less family oriented and more work oriented, or visa versa. I think that what matters most is just that realization that one has stopped looking forward to the next thing and started being really grateful to have days and space to fill with quieter, less dramatic events. Thank you so much again for reading and commenting Liz! You always have such thoughtful things to say!

  3. =)
    indeed, large life moments such as reunions, births, deaths, moves, etc… may form the stages of our lives, but it is in the mundane, day to day, the sunrises and sunsets, the simply being in each and every moment.. it is often those times that define us.

    may you continue to find greater depth, joy, and wisdom in your continued ‘adulthood’ wherever that may be (and whichever country that may be, as well.) =)

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts–I agree with you completely. The big events are memorable and transformative but the true substance and joy of life comes from the everyday moments. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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