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The Decade That Starts With 'F'

November 10, 2015
By Shasta Clark - Contributing Writer , OVParent

My cup is overflowing. Today is my birthday, and my family spoiled me. My husband took the day off work so we could go furniture shopping all day.

Looking at sofas wouldn't have been exciting when I turned 29, but at 39, a pleather sectional for family movie nights in the basement makes me giddy. That change, along with the fact that I'm 365 days away from entering a decade that begins with the letter F, which I affectionately started calling the F-word decade, prompted me to think about how my 30s have changed me.

In my 30s, I gave birth to a son and a daughter.

I embraced those five extra pounds, finally. In my 20s, I sweated and starved to keep them off, but now I accept them because I'd rather drink wine and eat chocolate than be five pounds skinnier.

I discovered why everyone is fascinated with coffee, and I developed my own addiction.

I learned how to be generous by becoming friends with an incredibly generous woman. Even at this age, it's important to choose friends who are good influences.

I sat next to my last-living grandma as she took her dying breath, and I wept. A bit of my childhood blew away in that moment. I told my mom she's never allowed to die because I simply can't bear it.

I started family traditions, like cutting down a Christmas tree and eating make-ahead French toast and quiche on Christmas morning. I borrowed some from my own childhood, too, like putting an orange in everyone's stocking.

I prayed for protection over my marriage. On our wedding day, our preacher advised us to begin praying for our marriage that very night. We didn't. We partied at the reception and enjoyed, well, our wedding night.

This decade, I've watched a few friends' marriages fall apart because of infidelity, marriages that seemed rock solid. I'm listening now, preacher.

I learned that saying what is on my mind without regard to other people's feelings isn't a character trait; it's a character flaw. I'm sorry to anyone I offended in the past in the name of "just being honest."

I grew old enough to look back and recognize my parents' mistakes, and I grew wise enough to know that someday my kids will look back and recognize mine, too.

I learned that forgiveness is a beautiful word until you have to do it. Then it can be gut-wrenching. If you can give forgiveness freely, though, you will be giving a gift to yourself.

I discovered that if you don't want to find gray hair, don't look into your car's rearview mirror.

I began looking at my kids as persons who don't want to be hurried and yelled at any more than I do.

I learned to follow the advice I give my kids: You don't have to be best friends with everyone, but you have to be kind to them.

I realized that 10 years from now I'll have a college sophomore, a high school senior and an eighth-grader.

My F-word decade is going to take me on an amazing journey, and I'm ready for it.

Shasta Kaselak is a St. Clairsville native who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her husband, two sons and daughter. Her email address is shastakaselak@



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