November 20, 2012


Today, I am 26 years old.

(And by today, I mean the day this post goes live. As I sit here and write it, it's a few days earlier, and I'm finishing up a few last minute chores before I go to sleep and we head out on our first babymoon - we'll likely have two, both trips to visit our families before the baby gets here.)

But still. 26.

Thinking back to previous birthdays, both blogged and not, there seems to be a common theme. Every year, I marvel at how I'm not where I'd thought I'd be at this age.

At 23, I was depressed. I was nearing 350 pounds, stressed like crazy over my graduate work, and devastated that, at the same age, my own mother was both married and pregnant. I still had hopes that I might meet someone someday, but a year or so before, my doctor told me calmly but sternly that, miracles and IVF aside, children would be out of the question. I'd done it to myself, with years of obesity.

At 24, I was motivated. I had lost just short of 75 pounds, and was feeling fearless and ready to take on the world. On my 24th birthday, I ran a mile without stopping for the first time in my entire life. I don't remember the time, because that wasn't what mattered. I set a goal, and I reached it. I was not only motivated, but hopeful.

At 25, I was uncertain. I was maintaining double the previous year's loss, but through occasionally unhealthy measures. I loved most aspects of my job, but hated the location. My relationships were in transition, and though I spent the morning of my 25th birthday running, I spent most of the rest of the day and evening on my living room couch, talking to a guy who mattered an awful lot to me - the only one who remembered it was my birthday.

And at 26?

Today is no exception to the standard of years past. I've gained weight from last year, but with the temporary justification of the lovely little baby I'm nourishing and carrying at the moment. (I'm also now incredibly aware that even if you still have all your external PCOS symptoms despite losing weight, you may now be able to get pregnant. Play it safe, folks.) I'm changed, for better and for worse. I'm in a different place, both physically and emotionally. I'm at a part-time grocery store job that I don't particularly like, but am grateful to have in order to pay my bills until I find a full-time teaching position. I'll be spending my birthday on a little vacation, enjoying some time with the same wonderful guy from last year - except this year, we'll be spending time face-to-face and not over the phone.

(Sorry your parents are weird, Nugget. And sorry we're not actually sorry.)

Things to look forward to at 26:
... hopefully finding a new job in my field, and possibly moving (we're remaining open-minded, knowing that with a newborn, a full-time teaching salary almost anywhere would be worth relocating for).
... enjoying my time with Matt as a just-the-two-of-us couple, and preparing for parenthood together.
... becoming a family with the birth of our sweet, beautiful baby.
... working back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and continuing on to my goal weight.
... running again, with my little Nugget waiting for me at the finish line.

Even though every year I seem to be in an entirely different place, I always approach my birthday with the same idea: that it's my "happy new year," my chance for resolutions and my opportunity to look forward and anticipate the upcoming changes that will, if history continues to repeat itself, land me in an entirely new condition once again. As the saying goes, the only thing constant is change, am I right?


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday (and happy new year!) to you! :)

Unknown said...

HaPpY bIrThDaY!!!!! You look all glowy:) Congratulations! Good luck on the job hunt- they will be lucky students! love your blog!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I guess the last thing you should do is prognosticate, huh? Like you're already planning, enjoy your alone time and happy Thanksgiving!!

Amy said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!!

I hope you're having a fabulous time away with Matt!

Birthdays truly are such a great time for reflection. I think each year never ceases to amaze me, and I'm certain that when I hit 26 I'll barely recognize myself again and marvel at all the amazing things that happen in a year's time.

A year is both so short and so long. It flies by in the blink of an eye, yet, so much can change and happen.

Sarah G said...

Happy Birthday!!

ikylilcrafter said...

hey today's my birthday too! (38th, not 26th though).

Cherish these moments together as a couple. As awesome as parenthood is, those little ankle biters really cut out almost all couple time for the first couple of years.

Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday friend. I hope this upcoming year brings you more delights and joys than you can imagine.

Amy said...

I also think of my birthday as a New Year (which is convienent because it's in Feb. so I get a restart on my resolutions!).

It's wonderful to see how much progress and growth you've made in the past few years. That is not the case for me...I'll be in the same place this birthday as last.

Debsdailylife said...

Happy Birthday!! I wish you a blessed year!!!

Renee said...

Happy Birthday!!!! I can't remember my 26th...must have been uneventful! Lol.

Spoonful of Me said...

Happy Birthday

Taryn said...

Happy birthday Mary! I'm completely inspired to get back on track and start pushing towards my goals. My hubby and I want to start trying for a family next summer, but at this point I know for a fact it's out of the question. I'd be too unhealthy and that wouldn't be fair to put a helpless fetus in that position. Thank you for the wake up call.

marisol said...

I hope that you are having a fabulous day. How did I not know about you & PCOS? Anyhoo... this year will be an amazing one for you.

Five Arrows Farm said...

I love this post. It's so...real.

Happy Birthday, too! :)

Enjoy your pre-baby-being-born trips! (Especially because they're the last ones that your parents will ever pay attention to YOU at - once that baby is here, you're toast! ...but in a really really good way.) :)

Tammy said...

Hope you had a wonderful birthday!!:) You look amazing & I'm very happy for you & the new journey you have begun. Enjoy everything about your pregnancy. I totally miss being pregnant!! Except for the whole horrible morning (all day) sickness!LOL Hope you feel better soon!!

Miss Carrie Ann said...

Happy Birthday! It makes me ridiculously happy when I'm running a race and I see my 2 year old daughter cheering for me! Also when she will talk about how I "run fast". I don't, but to her I do and she talks about it proudly! And when he will play with a toy and make it run because I feel like my newly developing good habits and making an impression on her instead of habits from years of being obese. I'm so excited for you to be able to enjoy the gift of motherhood, especially since you were told it wasn't a possibility for you not long ago!