Birthdays become an entirely different event as you age. Or perhaps not even an event at all. I remember the days when I would plan, blueprint style, for my birthday party. I specifically remember planning a Lord of the Rings themed party and designing Legolas boots out of gumdrops…what can I say, once a nerd always a nerd. And no, I wasn’t planning it because my parents didn’t care. It was mostly because I was a slightly psychotic, planning, control freak with 13-year-old hormones. Moving on though—quickly now. Point is, birthdays are a BIG FREAKING DEAL as a kid. Turns out, today is my birthday and I honestly forgot that it was happening until yesterday. And I only remembered because I realized “OH CRAP! I have to get my license renewed before tomorrow!” Funny how that works.
Call it aging. I call it Mom brain.
Regardless, here we are. Another year of life has lapsed and I still haven’t figured out how to slow this thing down. But I didn’t get on here to go on and on about my birthday and all of my wonderful qualities (seriously, wondering if you know too much at this point). No, I got on here because now that I’m older, birthdays tend to be more about reflection than celebration and why not share some of that with you! Plus! Speaking it out loud keeps me accountable and provides a written commitment to look back on as a reminder.
When I say reflection—I don’t mean a droll, dreary event. I’m not upset about aging. I’m not upset with where my life is heading. I’m not trying to hang on to my “youth.”
I’m actually really excited about each new year because I’m truly happy with my situation and the people who I’m heading into the future with. So when I say reflection—it’s a good thing. It’s a positive but honest, thoughtful evaluation of where I am now and where I’d like to be in the future. Am I growing into the person I want to be? Do my traits, habits, and goals align with my priorities? Am I setting myself up for success later on down the road?
I think it’s really important that we each take time (not necessarily on your birthday—the cake calls) to look at ourselves in light of the bigger picture and adjust accordingly. Otherwise, it’s so easy to become “stagnant” in our patterns and not grow as best we could. It doesn’t have to be BIG goals that seem almost impossible. It’s actually better to set smaller goals with smaller time frames so that we can better focus, achieve and then reevaluate as we go.
I’ve actually been thinking about this for some time with the big THREE-O approaching and here’s some of the things that I personally want to focus on and continue to grow in over the next couple years.
LIVE DEBT FREE
I’m talkin’ the car loan, the mortgage, the student loan debt…GONE. Andrew caught the Dave Ramsey bug last year and even though I’m just about sick of hearing “well, Dave Ramsey says…” I do know one thing, I want a debt free, savings-oriented lifestyle. We’ve been working towards this goal for a bit now—limiting spending in favor of paying down principal. It’s such a great feeling to lessen the burden. Here’s to being completely debt free by 30 and being free to pursue other, more fun interests! New Zealand, anyone?
MAKE A SKIN CARE ROUTINE (and stick to it!)
One of the things that I’ve really taken for granted in my twenties has been good skin. That early twenties skin is much more forgiving if you forget to put lotion on. But now, I basically have lizard skin and there is no mercy. Especially after having Jack, it’s like the life was just sucked right out of it. It’s caused me to get serious about taking better care of my skin and the things that I put on it or expose it to. I’ve been doing lots of research and experimenting to find a good, non-toxic, truly nourishing skin care routine. So by thirty, I’m aiming to be confident and consistent with my skin care.
RUN A HALF MARATHON
So…everyone wants to lose weight, eat better, blah blah blah. These are all good things—things that I can always work towards or tweak. But right now, I want to get specific and to focus on doing something that I enjoy. And you guessed it, that’s running. I love that it’s sort of “mindless”–in the sense that I can just go, it’s truly relaxing. I’ve never had any desire to run a marathon. But after having Jack, I wanted to find ways to work out with Jack so that I’m not as limited and because, well, I like having him around. I started looking at training plans and got really excited—this I CAN do! I haven’t actually started my plan yet. I need to tweak my eating plan so that I’m getting the nutrition I need. And I need to get to a proper shoe store and be properly fitted for running shoes. But I have a plan and a goal—I’m running towards thirty. Literally.
WORK ON MY SOCIAL SKILLS
I’ll be the first to admit that working in customer service for years has made me a bit of a hermit. I’ve gotten a little too comfy on my couch after a long work week, I’m afraid. Not all together a bad thing. But I fear becoming too reclusive that I also become isolated. Becoming a mom has made me crave community & deeper relationships. That’s something that I avidly pursue via the blog/IG but I want to do a better job of being hospitable & intentional in real life. Inviting people over, sending snail mail (or just remembering to put the postage stamp on it and send it), taking the time to have a conversation, or just smiling at people in the grocery store (I’m from the East Coast—we don’t do friendly 😉). Hopefully by 30, I’m a bit more socially developed.
GET MY TATTOO
I’ve been dreaming up a sick shoulder tattoo that started out as a weight loss reward years ago but has now become a “hey, congrats on making it this far” reward. I’ve been holding off because it involves birth month flowers—including the currently non-existent siblings that I hope Jack will have. Even though I can technically add on to it, I don’t want to throw off a good design by being hasty. Still, it’s been about five years since this went on my wish list so I don’t want to wait too much longer. Therefore, I’m making 30 my cut-off. Hopefully, a bit sooner than that.
GET OUT OF THAT COMFORT ZONE
I’m at a place in life where I feel settled. I’m married, a mother, a home-owner, a pet owner…basically, I have responsibilities and a situation that grounds me. That’s phenomenal—I love that I have such a blessed foundation for my life. However, the flip side is that it’s easy to get too comfy where we don’t stretch and push ourselves as much as we could. I never want to stop learning and growing…I mean, I’ll take a bitty break until my life is less zombie like (you know, when my kid is in college). But overall, I want to cultivate my ability to push myself. I’ve always wanted to develop my photography skills—actually learn how to properly work a DSLR. I’ve always dreamed about going back to college—not necessarily for the Master’s degree (though that would be some sweet icing on the cake) but to be better equipped for the goals I want to pursue. I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve always wanted to bless other women from whatever platform God gives me. Now maybe those things aren’t in the cards simply because God has other, better plans. But as I have the ability and the gumption and as God allows, I think it would be a shame to not pursue those passions. Basically, I have a lot to do in the next two years. 😉
TAKE JACK TO AN AQUARIUM
I know that Jack will be so amazed by seeing the fish for the first time and I can’t wait to see it. I mean, there are so many things that I am SO EXCITED to show Jack—so when I say aquarium—I mean all the things. My goal here is to remember to embrace his innocence + joy, to take a step back from life + enjoy moments with him—big and small, and to be intentional about making family plans to just have fun together. That’s what sticks in our hearts after all. Not in the sense of overdoing it or to make his childhood as perfect as possible, but to make the most of the time that we have together. I’ve heard it goes by fast. And I have no intention of letting the next two years slip by without adding some memories to the books.
WORK ON MY PRAYER LIFE
One major goal that I have for my walk with God is prayer. I enjoy devotional study, research, reading notes, cross referencing, and reading systematic theology books. But prayer, that’s a bit less “natural” for me. It’s easy to remember to pray when we’re in a hard spot or want something specific. But it’s not as easy to remember when things are going well or we can meet our own needs. Some of the most encouraging, strengthening moments in my life happened because I turned the car radio off and talked to God instead, one on one—pouring my heart out to Him. Not only do I want Jack to see that Mama talks to God often, but also that I NEED to. I want to be known as someone that prays when they say they will and talks to God often because they love to do so. Over the next two years, I plan to be intentional about developing my prayer life. Starting with picking up where I left off with my “Works of God” journal and starting a fresh, monthly prayer journal (I love Val Marie Paper’s prayer journals).
If you’re anything like me, there are so many things that we can always be working on (we are flawed people after all!) but I’ve found that by getting specific and making steps towards intentional change in that area, we’re more likely to be productive in our pursuit. So those are my things–spoken out loud for everyone to read and keep me accountable, one specific goal for each of the main areas in my life: financial, wellness, health, just for fun, relational, hobbies/pursuits, family, and spiritual. If all this personal reflection has inspired you to do some “reflecting” I’d love to hear about it! Here’s looking at you, thirty. Bring it on!