Not old Not young
Hello pretties, I hope everyone is well.
I have not been on this side of the web in several months. I was inspired by a lovely reader to stop by and say hello. I like to share my life experiences; this one is not very comfortable but its raw and real. Take a deep breath and maybe a tequila shot or ginger shot before proceeding lol just kidding.
Last summer on July 27, I turned 30 years old. I was dreading the number 30. When you are young you have so many expectations of what your life will be by a certain time or age. I could not be further from what the younger version of me envisioned for myself. And to be honest, I am not sure I truly want those things anymore.
I was such a dreamer as a child I envisioned all sorts of careers from figure skater (I have never been into skating and I am pretty bad at it lol, but somehow seeing the dancers glide on ice during the Olympics made me believe), to a fancy beauty salon owner, writer and many others. Whatever it was, I always envisioned my life as a wealthy woman living a life of luxury thanks to my successful career. Well, I haven’t given up all parts of my childhood dream, this part remains true. I want a life of wealth and luxury only now I define wealth and luxury very differently. No longer the fancy castle I dreamed of living in as a child but holistic care, chiropractors, ethically grown farm-raised organic food (not the overprice jumbo strawberries Whole Foods sells as “organic”), masseuse, vacations, financial freedom, etc. Not just for myself, I want these things for my family. The luxury of healthy living. The luxury of freedom the luxury of time to just be, the luxury of family experiences. I am getting a bit side-tracked, read on, I’ll explain what I mean.
30, well not 30 per se but rather 28ish to 30 came with a crude reality. The reality of age and time. I am right in the middle, when the hardest and most revealing stage of life begins. When young you see your parents as resilient, heroic, unstoppable and you truly never think of life without them because before and during your twenties you see life with hope and fresh eyes. After 40 you have lived enough to know and adapted to the reality that at some point you will have to say goodbye to your parents and elders. But 30 is smack in middle of wanting to see and hold on to the heroic parents you grew up with and seeing the reality of age and how with time heroic parents become slower and more dependent on you. Roles start to switch more decisions and responsibilities now fall on you and while you’re happy to support your parents your heart breaks a little more each time thinking how nature will take its course. Your parents are now the in the position your grandparents once were, and you are in the position of your parents.
At this midpoint you understand much more about the struggle and sacrifices of your parents. You understand why certain decisions were made, you understand the emotions they went through. I think this is when your love magnifies, it’s at a peak point because it all makes sense to you now. You have lived and experience enough in life to see your parents for what they were and are, two flawed individuals who did the best that they could. They weren’t just your parents but rather adults trying to figure out life just how you are at this point. This is when forgiveness comes, forgiveness for any mistakes they may have made or for punishments that you now realize were valuable lessons.
My parents migrated to the US from the Dominican Republic. Neither of them wanted to come here, they were both very attached to their families. They lived a happy life maybe not a lavish life, but love and happiness they never lacked. They came to the US seeking more than they had back home, more than for themselves, for the family they were leaving behind and the future family they would create. That is the life and story of most immigrants, a life of selflessness and sacrifice. They worked hard to provide for my sister and I, but never forgot what they left back home. Luxury to my parents was providing for the family they created and the parents they weren’t ready to depart from. As a child I couldn’t understand why every summer vacation we had to go to the Dominican Republic, of course I had the time of my life, but as a kid I wanted to experience the ultimate dream every kid growing up in the late 90s early 2000s had vacationing at Disney World. I couldn’t understand at the time that all they wanted to do with their limited vacation time was give us a good summer or winter vacation while soaking in every bit of time they had left with their parents. It wasn’t until I got much older that I truly saw and understood that each year my grandparents were at a different stage of aging and every year my parents’ hearts broke a little more and goodbyes got harder and harder. One summer in a wheelchair, the next bedridden.
I am now my parents. I want a life of luxury for them. I want to provide them with that. I want them to live this stage of their life free, worry free, healthy and happy. They deserve it. I walk with a time watch over my head, praying I am able to provide this before it’s too late. That is what thirties is like for a child who grew up in a family-oriented household of immigrants. You don’t have the same hardship your parents endured. You don’t have the weight of being their provider because they worked hard enough to get by and through their retirement age, but you want to. You want to give them experiences they didn’t have before. There’s a burning desire to live and experience things with them because you know at some point these will be the memories you are left with. You cling tight to them because now you understand and understanding unlocks a different kind of love and empathy you never knew before.
In a family oriented dynamic with every Tio or Tia, elderly that departs a piece of your childhood is gone. You selfishly hold on because they are part of your childhood a time when life was much simpler and free. Although the ultimate level of love wasn’t yet unlocked the love you knew at this stage was enough to keep you happy, reassured. Once the elders expire you, the siblings and cousins you grew up with become the elders, the head of the family that the young now rely on for care and support as you once did.
Luxury to me now is cabin vacations with my parents, dinners and bingo nights with the family especially the elders because now more than ever I understand the importance of family and time.
Life is all about cycles. There is beauty and tragedy in all stages.