Life Changes Things ...

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Yeah, the title's not a typo ... I am not blogging about the changes in my kids or even growing up, but stopping to reflect on how life's circumstances have changed me. I was sort of slapped in the face recently (no, not by the fact that situps (after my C-section), which used to be the easiest workout I could do, have now become akin to a root canal) by the magnitude of change that has occurred in my life in the last 10 years. I'm positive that some of the friends I believed were life long buddies would look at me today and chuckle ... "Wow, she never did anything." Or "REALLY? That's what she's doing? I wonder what her story is ..." And you know what? The 18 year old version of myself might say the same thing to the 28 year old version ... "What HAPPENED to your ambition?" I think my answer would be ... Life changes things ... Let's look at some of the changes in my life that make me MOST proud.

(1). THEN: My favorite day each semester was the first day of class ... do you know why? We got our syllabi ... I would greedily begin (even before class was over) plotting out just when I'd complete those assignments. I'd place them, meticulously in my Palm as actual dates with time brackets so that I couldn't schedule anything over them (invariably I would anyway, but it was the PLANNING that I loved). I'd color code them to match each category (MAJOR, MINOR, ELECTIVE, REQUIREMENT) ... I also color coded my extra curriculars, my jobs (I had 4), and my social events (they were often not scheduled) ... NEVERTHELESS, there wasn't a day in my collegiate life that wasn't scripted, planned and scheduled. I'm pretty positive that's the only way I could smash in the insane number of activities I chose to do. NOW: I TRY to schedule things in my life (AKA Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is vacuuming and cleaning, etc) but more often than not the kids have a mind of their own. Laundry day becomes whenever I have 15 minutes free and cleaning happens when we're having company and it needs to ... About the only thing that must stay scheduled are the doctors appointments and the playdates ... I'm pretty positive most anyone who knew me (including my own father) would assume this lifestyle would drive me insane. I'll admit sometimes, I long for the pre-planned days, the scripted lifestyle ... but I'm learning to appreciate the spontaneity that babies bring :) ... Would I change? NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

2). THEN: I was NEVER satisfied to sit at my apartment and hang out. As my roommates will verify, I spent far more time away than I ever did at home ... and 95% of the time spent at home was eating or sleeping ... This on the go, always active, constantly moving lifestyle might have been preparation for chasing my two babies, but it's what gave me joy. I LOVED being busy and was never happy unless that was the case! NOW:  The things that bring me the most joy are things that are largely slow moving, relaxing, and allow time for reflection. Among my favorites: A long walk around the block with Benny strapped to my chest and Kayleigh relaxing in the stroller, playing in the park with my daughter, getting a 45 minute power nap while BOTH kids are sleeping at the same time, listening as my daughter explores her vocabulary, watching Benjamin smile and laugh and hold his head. None of those things stem from a life on the go ... It's a quieter pace that brings me joy.

(3). THEN: It's shameful to admit, but a lot of my relationships suffered in college. I was pretty interested in doing THINGS and not investing in PEOPLE. As a result I had TONS of acquaintances but found it difficult to keep up with them as friends ... You see people need time and time was something I didn't have ... I only had stuff ... NOW: People are the most important piece in my life ... most specifically my two little people. They demand my attention, they require that I revisit and follow up with them, and they return my attention with the greatest and most rewarding love I could have imagined. This has taught me a lot about my friendships ... I'm making a more concerted effort follow up, to initiate get togethers, and to PAY ATTENTION to people. It's odd that it doesn't come naturally to me, but I understand the importance and am working to make this central to my life. Hopefully, I'll be able to re-build and sustain some of the friendships that my life choices have "left by the wayside."

(4). THEN: I was always planning for my future ... which course had the professor I needed to get to know. Which summer job would help me establish the proper connections to get ahead, which extra curricular would put me in contact with the MOST people, which organization could I quickly jump to the chairperson position ... All of these were done intentionally, deliberately and with my future resume in mind. I can't say that I ever went so far as to harm anyone else intentionally to get where I wanted to be ... I just worked and worked and worked to get myself into a position to take what I wanted. NOW: While I have day to day and week to week learning goals for my children, I'm not always scheming, planning, and resume building. We're enjoying life ... living in the moment. I only get to watch my little ones grow up once. I don't want to look back and wish that I had spent more time treasuring them. This blog is helping me remember that ... that each day holds something new for these little ones ... and for me as their mommy.

So, at a 10 year reunion would I be where I thought I'd be ... absolutely not. BUT at a 10 year reunion would I be ashamed of where I am ... absolutely not. I consider the changes that God has brought through my life to be the most rewarding and important changes I could make. I trust His plan and look forward to my reflection at age 38 as to how God has continued to unfold His plan in my life.

** Now, off to hang diapers on the line, dress and change the kids, and head to the pediatrician before running the first 3 miles of my 10K training run ... Good bye baby weight.