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Today, I am thirty-one.  Is life in my thirties exactly how I imagined it? Not, exactly.

Time has flown by, our perception moving upward and onward with every passing year. I have become wiser with age, this is true for everyone, but there is still so much to learn.  When we are young, opportunities are all around us, but without the wisdom we gain from years of “learning the hard way”, how are we to know what to do with them?  Even today, I am at a crossroads; I have been given choices to make, but now, the decisions I settle on will affect my entire family – my husband, my children, even my parents.  Despite being older and somewhat wiser, I still struggle with what to do. Do I listen to my heart or logic? I try to silence my mind, but there is so much noise. (My screaming boys surely don’t help with this.)

So as I vacillate back and forth, trying to figure out what path to take, and because it is my birthday, after all, I wanted to reflect on how my life has played out – pun intended.  These are a few of the ways that my life has not turned out as I imagined and a few more ways that it has surprised me…

What My Life is Not

It is 2018 and David isn’t playing Major League baseball or professional baseball for that matter. In our hearts, we believed that he would be playing in the big leagues well into our thirties.  He was born to play baseball, we always thought, and he had many wonderful years of doing just that, but what we expected to be his predetermined destiny, just wasn’t so.  There are so many factors that go into succeeding in the big leagues, and the cards just didn’t fall into place the way we hoped.

As is to be expected, we aren’t where we thought we would be financially speaking, which falls in line with things not going as planned for David professionally. After years of struggling through the minor leagues, I thought we had jumped over a big hurdle when David made his MLB debut on his twenty-sixth birthday – what a good omen?! Yet things just didn’t pan out that way, and the obstacles just kept coming.

After years of jumping around from organization to organization, David hung up his cleats – an expression that we use in baseball.  Since his retirement, I also retired from being a stay-at-home-mom.  Being at home with the boys day-in and day-out just wasn’t working for me.  I was going crazy stuck at home with two toddlers who couldn’t, and still can’t, find a way to keep their hands to themselves.  So I put the kids in school full-time, and I went back to work at twenty-nine.

Even though I had tried to work real estate for a while, I always knew a career path as a realtor wasn’t for me. I could give you a list of reasons why, but I will spare you. Nevertheless, since real estate didn’t work out, and my life as a baseball wife was in transition, it was time for me to find work.  Work that would bring in a steady income, and that is precisely what I did – just shy of the thirtieth birthday.

What My Life IS

My life is full of blessings.  Even though David’s career took a detour earlier than we had planned, I can confidently say that our family is right where it is meant to be.  Since he started coaching, I have seen David come to life.  He is thrilled with his job, and I have seen him evolve and mature as a man, husband, and father exponentially from it.  If I didn’t know better, I would say coaching was his calling from the start. 😉

Somehow, without putting too much thought into when would be the right moment to have children, we had our babies at the perfect time for our family. David and I have two beautiful, healthy boys and I really can’t ask for more than this.  Above all, I am grateful for our health and the all the blessings that have been bestowed upon our little family.

Soon after David retired from playing, and right after we both turned thirty, I went back to school to pursue my career as a writer.  I have always been passionate about writing, and publishing a book has been in my purview for years. Few things make me as happy as being able to sit and write, but in my twenties, I was preoccupied with other things, and my writing took a backseat.

The biggest lesson I have learned in the last thirty-one years is that time is a gift. It has a way of healing wounds and allowing you to see the beauty in the challenges life throws you. It is in precious time that I have come to realize that if everything were precisely how we had planned, my aspirations would have gone unattended and life would look very different. If things had played out any differently, I highly doubt I would have had the initiative to go back to graduate school and find the drive to write a book, regardless of whether it ever gets published.

My reasons for living and thriving have changed, and my boys have become my why; they are the reason I aspire to do everything I do.  David’s change in career was a blessing in disguise, not only has it been wonderful for him, it has also helped me to realize that I need to work on me, too.  Focusing solely on his career and my boys’ lives isn’t healthy – there needs to be a balance.

Now suddenly I am thirty-one.  I didn’t arrive at my current destination by chance, I am where I am after many years and many more falls, but when I look at everything objectively, I can honestly say my life is exactly how it should be.