I turned 34 on Saturday and we celebrated for 4 straight days. It’s a bit excessive, I know. I can never turn down an excuse to get together with some of my favorite people though, so celebrate we did!
Getting older doesn’t bother me. I’m like a fine wine; I get better with age. I mean at 30 something I basically have the body of an 80 year old between my bladder and my back – and my memory isn’t much better. I honest to God thought I was already 34 for the past 6 months. The upside is when someone pointed out that I was only 33 I felt like I got a year back in my life.
With age comes wisdom though and in all honesty, I feel like I’m becoming a better person. Or at least I’m trying to be. I grew up in a small town in Indiana and I can remember a few mean girl moments that I’m not proud of. I was also on the receiving end of it and that shit sticks with you for much longer than I care to admit. Friendships change along with the seasons in your life and I’ve come to realize that’s okay. I’m more confident in who I am in my adult years; as a result, I place greater value on the people that I choose to surround myself with. In the midst of all the ups and downs life threw at me this year, it dawned on me one day as I was driving alone in my car that I have the kind of friends in my life right now that make me want to be a better friend in turn. And then I rolled the windows down, turned the music up loud, and cried happy tears.
Personal growth is a life-long journey; so while I’m more aware of how I’m showing up for people, I’m not perfect and I don’t always get it right. In fact, a day rarely goes by where I don’t think to myself, “I need to do better” at one thing or another. It can be as small as remembering to ask my husband how his big presentation went. Or finally scheduling that lunch/play/coffee/HH date. Or something more daunting like developing better time management skills so I can do more of the things I love. Or finding teaching moments in the spilled milk at dinner. Of course I can do better at a lot of things, we all can. But it takes time, energy, and mindfulness that I don’t always have in this season of my life. Let’s be honest, most days I’m just winging it. Life. Parenting. My #OOTD.
I’d be setting myself up for failure if I said 34 was the year I was going to be my best self, because Carter will turn 3 in January and we all know how well I handled the 3’s with Deklan. This is my last year where I can say I’m closer to 30 than 40 though so if I’m going to take Mark Twain’s advice to throw off the bowlines and sail away from the safe harbors, now is as good of a time as any. In another 365 days from now I want to look back and say I did the following:
- Learned to respond to compliments with confidence and grace.
- Found an opportunity to lift someone else up every single day.
- For every thing I told myself I should do better, I responded with one thing I did well.
- Built relationships with other like-minded bloggers where we encouraged and inspired one another.
- Said NO more often to things that drain me of my time, money, or energy. Sorry, not sorry. (highly recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F – or simply watch the the Ted Talk like I did. You’ll get the gist.)
- Said YES more often to the things that energized and stretched me.
- Practiced patience.
- Spent less time aimlessly searching for things I think I need or want, and instead found contentment in all that I already own.
- Figured out what I want THIS to become and made a plan to go after it.
- Let go of all inhibitions and took more ridiculously random, imperfect solo photo shoots that captured the spirit of a 30-something just-put-together-hot-mess of a mom.
This is 34.
Photo Credit: Amy Hughes Photography