DISCLAIMER: I am by no means a lifestyle guru or expert. I am just one of countless mamas out there with knowledge gained from living, loving and falling flat on my face.
My 40th birthday is looming ahead on April 23rd. This has led me to ponder my current state of affairs and I realized along the way I have picked up some “pearls of wisdom.” Lessons I have learned on this journey called life, facing things I never in a million years thought would happen to me.
When I was younger, I always thought by the time I turned 40 I would have things figured out. I would wear yoga pants for actual yoga. My abysmal cooking skills would be finely honed and I would have the ability to create gourmet delicious meals at the drop of a hat. I would finally have mastered some ways to style my hair versus my go to flat against my head style. My life would be like one big Pinterest cyclone of fabulous. Well, I can tell you none of that happened and it’s OK. I still wear athleisure strictly to watch Dateline. To date, I can cook about 2 things and I think the WAITR app is life. My hair is the same and I don’t even have a Pinterest account. It makes me break into a cold sweat when I see all the craftiness. I must however state I am in awe of the people who can chalk paint furniture like a champ and make 3 tier Frankenstein cupcakes etc.
Here are a few things I have come to realize as I sit here aging like a fine wine:
Some people are just not going to like you. This is an undeniable fact.
No matter how kind, smart, charming or funny you are, some people just are not going to get you. As a former black belt people pleaser, this one is something I have had to work at getting over. I used to do everything in my power to change the perceptions of people I could tell didn’t like me. It ate away at me and I strove to be kinder and funnier, and even did everything short of juggling fruit in clown suit to “win them over.” It was a colossal waste of energy. Not only does it not work, people can smell your desperation like cheap cologne. Whatever their reason, how people act is their stuff and *newsflash* it may have nothing to do with you. Some folks, you are not going to be able to figure out. Wasting energy on these people is going to take away from the effort you can put into the relationships of people who think you are the best thing since sliced bread. They are the ones who deserve your time.
The people I admire the most are everyday folk.
The older I get, the more I realize that some of the greatest acts of heroism are done by everyday folks. New Orleanians put the R in resiliency, just look at the way people banded together after Katrina. Our city has survived the unimaginable; it’s by no means perfect, but it was stitched back together by countless people putting the needs of others before themselves. People that have risen above circumstances that befell them and still see the beauty life has to offer.
My personal heroes live across the street. They have a son with special needs and are the most amazing and dedicated parents you could ever imagine. Not to mention comedic geniuses in my opinion. Their son, Kohl, is beloved by so many and his smile can light up a room like no other. Their family’s strength, courage, determination, and humor have touched countless people. Despite the challenges they face day after day, the Chrestman’s are living life to the fullest and making us all laugh along the way. You can learn more about their family and precious Kohl on their blog.
Comparison = Misery
One surefire way to make yourself absolutely miserable is to compare your life to that of someone else. It is super easy to compare yourself into a black hole of self-pity with social media showing you the best versions of the lives of all your virtual friends. When you are in a blah place, sitting on the couch seeing one of your friends running a marathon in Bora Bora sure can make you feel like crap. Something I highly recommend is a social media detox from time to time. Or practice what I call “social media narcissism” for a bit where you look at how much your own friends like pictures of your adorbs children, but you stay off your newsfeed for a bit.
Life can kick you in the teeth BUT it’s the only one you have!
On March 12, 2014, my life was irrevocably changed by the loss of my beautiful son, Drew. It seemed unfathomable the day before I was regular mom feeding him copious amounts of Goldfish and now without warning, I was facing a lifetime without my beloved child. Suddenly, I was living one of those heartbreaking stories I had heard about but never thought would happen to me. No parent should have to experience this, but unfortunately some of us do. There are countless things about this that aren’t fair.
It is not fair all my children will never be in the same room together. It’s not fair Drew will never do the things his peers get to do. It’s not fair that I never quite feel like a normal parent because I dread the awkwardness that inevitably comes when asked how many children I have. The list goes on and on. Grieving the life you thought you would have goes hand in hand with grieving the loss of someone you love dearly.
When your heart has been smashed into smithereens, it seems impossible that you will ever stop and smell the roses again. Here is what I can tell you, you will never smell them the same way, but you will have joy again. If you allow yourself to grieve in your own way, take care of yourself and ask for help. Eventually the fog lifts despite living with the loss of life that you once knew.
You have to do you. We coped by throwing ourselves into forming Drew’s Tunes, a foundation that honors Drew’s love of music and supports the SUDC Foundation. We deal with the dreaded Month of March by asking every human we know to sing his favorite song “Twinkle, Twinkle” and posting it to their social media with the hashtag #twinkletribute4drew. (We hope you’ll join us this year!)
I once met someone whose family lost her brother to SIDS. She told me her parents tried to make every day its own little celebration, because they were living the life their son never would. This is what we try to do with our two subsequent children.
So, if you are still reading this novella, thank you. I would love to know what pearls you have picked up along the way.
Happy Birthday to Me! My tired is tired, my back hurts and I am still a work in progress, but I look forward to what the next 40 years have in store.
Georgia Boswell hails from Minden, Louisiana, but she has been proud to call New Orleans home for 15 years. After receiving an undergraduate degree from Louisiana Tech, she earned a Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management from UNO. She enjoys reading, traveling and sampling the many treasures New Orleans has to offer.
Georgia met Devron Boswell during Mardi Gras 2007 and they officially became Team Boswell on May 23, 2009. Drew Joseph Boswell blessed his parents beyond belief with his birth on November 27, 2012. Tragically Drew died in his sleep on March 12, 2014. His death was attributable to SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood).
After the loss of Drew and with the tireless support of many friends, the Boswell’s started Drew’s Tunes for the two-fold purpose of providing musical instruments to young children and also to support research on the cause and possible prevention of SUDC.
Since its inception, Drew’s Tunes has donated over $200,000 in support of its mission. These donations include thousands of instruments impacting the lives of New Orleans children. Georgia and Devron are the proud parents of two beautiful children Emmaline (4) and Joseph (2 months). They look forward to making the world more beautiful in Drew’s name as a family.