I wish this post came with answers. I wish it came with wisdom and enlightenment. All I can give you is mediocrity. That was my birthday today. It came and went with very little to do. A flurry of text messages this morning and a surprising deluge of Facebook well wishers this afternoon, but everything in between was business as usual.
I was back at work, I barely saw anyone since it was a teacher workday, and no one really knew it was my birthday. It’s not like I broadcast it or anything.
And of course there was no, nor has there been any party. But there will be. I promised myself I would celebrate this day and I shall. Next weekend my mom agreed to watch the girls, and I agreed to throw a Harry Potter birthday party for myself. Embracing my inner nerd at last! Which reminds me…
What things in my many goal setting lists did I finally accomplish?
- Not eating right, but I am eating better.
- I finally realized I had been saying my mantra for a while! LESS IS MORE!
- I think I had a few days to myself in there somewhere
- I did give up soda, but I fell off the wagon, hopefully I will be jumping back on again soon.
- I have consistently worn sunglasses, and I think it makes a difference.
- I have chosen and have been consistently seeing my own health care physician, although it feels like I have made up for six years of visits in one. My health may be better for it, but my wallet is not.
- I did take a HULA HOOP class and I wish I could take more. It was really fun and I found a form of exercise I don’t hate.
- I did not create a sisterhood, but I got my mom to create her own with her circle of friends.
- I did not sell a piece of art, but I did create a masterpiece for Quinton—a long awaited portrait of sorts.
- I have not learned to dance any specific way, but I have begun using a 10 minute solution dance workout video. Still my favorite way to workout and getting some dance moves in the process.
- I did not get to watch the 3 or so meteor showers that happened this year, but the day after one of them I did happen to see a lone shooting star.
- I have not found a consistent book club, but I have started my book challenge for 2013.
- I have not learned all the rules or how to actually play, but I am working on chess and it does make for really fun date nights.
- I did not get anything published, probably because I didn’t send anything out…I got it all ready, then set it where it wouldn’t get messed up, and forgot all about it, for the most part. I might be afraid of more rejection, but I have started writing again, and I am even collaborating on it with my sister.
- I have not learned to play a musical instrument, but Charlotte got a real acoustic guitar this Christmas, so I may have to learn, while I teach her…
- I have found my passionate cause (literacy), now what to do with it?
- 30 lbs be gone? No, but how about 15!!
- The budget was blown, but I have begun taking some very important steps towards making and keeping one and on my way to a more stable financial year.
- I have been doing yoga more regularly
- I tried meditation, and couldn’t always quiet my mind, but I found that coloring helps me to do that…So now to break out my very own coloring book.
- No steam punk Victorian murder mystery party, but I found a love of steam punk and I am throwing myself my own HP party!
- I still plan on making those self portraits one day, only a little differently…
The tattoo thing: I believe that something that permanent should not be rushed into simply to cross it off a list that technically wasn’t even mine. I still like the idea of it, though still not a fan of the pain, and should the right tattoo and the opportunity ever present itself, I will have a memory and a memento to last a lifetime.
But what about the rest? Did I finally understand what it means to be 30? No, and yes…
It’s no different than any other birthday.
You don’t wake up and feeling changed. Your day doesn’t suddenly get better, your life doesn’t suddenly make sense. But looking back at a year ago today, I do feel like I have grown quite a bit.
I feel less naive, and more aware of my wants, needs and dreams. I feel like I am getting a better handle on this adulthood thing, but am equally aware that there are some things I will never get, and that’s okay! There are also many things I will never like or want to do and that is also okay. I guess after a year of trying to do everything I “wanted” to do and what everyone tries to do by 30 I realized that just like loosing your teeth, riding your first bike, your first kiss, the first time you realize you’re no longer a “youth” as compared to high-schoolers, etc…this day, this whole year leading up to this day, is just another right of passage.
Everyone will go through some sort of change here. It may be a depression over where their life isn’t at the moment, it may be a wild and crazy adventure in which 90% of your bucket list is crossed off, or it may be a simple year of self-realization and I think that that is what turning 30 is really all about.
Like the Buddha, I feel there is something about leaving our 20’s, beginning to form an understanding of what the world is to us and what we want from it, whether it be because our brains are now fully developed and we begin to look inward after processing all of our outward stimuli, or be it divine epiphany of enlightenment and calm, it is the moment we begin to find ourselves. It is the moment we understand we have the power to control our lives: “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.”
It seems for me, after all this time, I am finally starting to feel like that turtle: comfortable in my own shell.
Have you ever woken up on January 2nd and realized you are already reneging on your resolutions?
Is it a worse feeling than thinking back over the past year at 11:50 on December 31st and realizing you didn’t accomplish even half of them?
So one year later, after writing down everything for nearly every day of your 29th year of life, do you look back and smile at the experience or does the regret start to sink in?
In truth it hasn’t hit yet…I’m still on vacation brain, I know the day of the week, but it doesn’t feel like my birthday is tomorrow. It doesn’t feel like my blog will end before this time tomorrow and that everything I have worked for this past year will be done…
The question is, will I have learned what I set out to learn? Will the secret of this birthday have been revealed? Only time will tell! Drum roll please……
Tonight we wend to our weekly visit with my mom. In full tradition of birthday celebration for me they ordered Chinese (my favorite) from my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant and baked my very special homemade yellow cake with almonds. No frosting. It doesn’t need it, it is perfect.
The celebration was small but it was plenty. My mom bought me a new, shiny red watch, another traditional gift from her. My aunt bought me an new awesome MP3 player with a speaker so I can listen to it in my radio-less car. My mom even kept Charlotte for the night.
All in all, it’s a great start to birthday. And it won’t be the last. I have decided to throw myself a little bash…Harry Potter related I think, next weekend when my mom can watch the girls. Nothing too fancy as my wallet still cannot take it. Just a small gathering of nerdy people like me! But I know it will be one of the best birthday’s I’ve had in a long time, and at 30, that is really saying something.
As a side note, I spoke to my friend Adrienne a couple of days ago and she told me that her birthday theme was 30 going on 13, complete with roller skating rink and a sleep over! Talk about fun. I think this deserves special recognition in the birthday party theme hall of fame.
The first in a series of changes to my outward self, I got a fresh new haircut today. I average about 1 every six months. So I look very cute for about 2 months and then I look like an unkempt crazy woman until I “find time” to get another one.
That has always been one of my biggest problems…wasting time and thinking I had none. It is also such a problem for me to envision starting something. Most often, I find that once I begin, I am happy having done so and I plow on with full speed. Getting me out the door however, is a test of wills I often loose. The mere thought of the work wears me out before I even begin…even the thought of fun still requires some work.
Today, I wanted to shop for shoes and clothes with my gift cards, get my hair cut and possibly have lunch with my aunt or a friend. My aunt was busy and my friend did not respond right away. The thought of doing all of that alone was tiring, and as I looked out the window at the inky sky and smeared, wet landscape awaiting me, the thought of cold set in and I suddenly wanted to stay home.
My friend responded about 20 minutes later, after I had solidly resigned myself to a day at home, but I knew I couldn’t disappoint her again…we have been trying to have lunch for months now.
Ten minutes later I was on the road to get my hair cut. My stylist, Ashley, was delightful, and it was her birthday today. She said she loves her job and wanted to come to work. We shared lots of stories and she (though younger by a few years) gave lots of truly helpful advice. I will be going back to her and I left a larger tip than I normally would, but it was her birthday and I know what it’s like to have one so close to Christmas, and she did do a really wonderful job with my hair.
Then, off to meet Gabbie at some random small Vietnamese restaurant that turned out to be really good. We talked for hours, and it was so great to finally see her again. I love that, like most of my friends which are all few and far between, we seem to pick up like no time has passed since our last visit. It’s nice to find comfort in a kindred soul.
A prolonged good-bye later I was back in the car and headed towards Target. I have been wanting a planner, one that I don’t use for school. I stopped by the Pay Less next door to buy an adorable pair of shoes with one of my gift cards and an hour and 50 some odd dollars later, I was finally on my way home, once again, without a planner.
And to think I wanted to stay home today. What adventures await us on those days when we talk ourselves out of plans, or outings or fun. What do we miss out on because we cannot “find the time?”
Less time spent searching, more spending quality time.
I went to the DMV this morning at 10 am…I just couldn’t wake up early enough…I left the DMV after 1:30 this afternoon. I had a lot of other errands to run, and I was so hungry when I left that I came straight home…nothing got done.
Most people hate the very thought of going to the DMV. They would shudder at the fact that I had to stand outside in line for over an hour in near freezing temperatures. They would have hated the family in front of me who kept reenacting stories of fights, drunken grandparents and exes, where half of every sentence was filled with expletives. They would have been disgusted at the extreme wait once I finally got a seat and all the more since my turn, when I finally was called to station 6, lasted less than 5 minutes.
But they didn’t see that I took that time that I was sitting to get things done, like write a long awaited letter to a friend, catch up on my journal about my daughters and talk to some friends I haven’t spoken to in a while.
They would have been too grumpy to carry on the conversation with the nice older gentleman who got in line behind me soon after my arrival, and later left the line to go get himself and myself a hat because, “You lose 90% of your body heat through your head.” Even more surprising—he gave up 40 minutes later, and let me keep the hat because he had plenty more at home.
Most miraculously, though some might have felt that it made it all the more miserable…had I not been stuck in that line, had I been at home in bed, stuck in the house, or blissfully anywhere else warm this morning, I would not have seen something that doesn’t occur in San Antonio on a yearly basis…certainly not daily…
Had I chosen to complain more and appreciate less, I would have missed the snow.
Too wonderful and perfect not to post again! This is going somewhere I can see it every day in 2013!
Last year, starting this blog was a spur of the moment, epiphany sort of thing. It would have been easy going, or easier going, had I had more than a day and a half to plan ahead. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to accomplish and I thought making a list as I went, at the end of each month for the coming month, would be easier than planning it all out in advance. I was wrong…
Due to that very fatal error in judgement much of what I wanted to do slipped by me. I was too overwhelmed at the end of one month to sufficiently prepare for another. But, in all my research over the year, I have found many things that have helped me. Pinterest has been a wonderful tool as ever; particularly those 52 week challenges.
They have to-do lists, check lists and other various levels of planning and organization broken down by month, week and day-to-day. It may be a bit obsessive, but I have learned how much I need to plan ahead, commit to it in writing and post it in as many places as possible so that I can remember it.
Already today I started a monumental task of organizing the pantry/laundry room/kids craft storage area. It’s not a very big space but it serves many purposes and if this area in out of sorts it spills out into the rest of the house. Chaos! It will be mostly finished tonight.
The rest of my year will not be filled with these Herculean tasks. I will be taking it slower, steadier…”suffering for 15 minutes a day” as the theory goes…just a little bit to conquer in a day filled with tasks, but enough to keep you motivated and see progress all year long. But more on that tomorrow. Happy New Year everyone! How did you spend the first day of your new year?
Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each New Year find you a better man.—Benjamin Franklin
This quote speaks much of what we strive for each new year, yet somehow loose sight of along the way. As Gretchen Rubin says,
The only person I can change is myself.
And she is right, and it was brilliance to do a second Happiness Project focused on home.
I began this year and this blog talking about the good kind of selfishness that brings happiness to others. “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” as the saying goes. But it goes so far beyond that. This year I spent time and energy looking for those things that “everyone” tries to do before 30, the bucket list, the last minute “oh, what the heck, I’m turning 30 next year,” attitude that keeps us on our toes all through that 29th year.
Some of it is for the better: weight loss, relaxation, trips around the world…
Others are a bit reckless, and some are just flights of fancy that we do in the moment to say, hey I did that.
But whether you got that tattoo, or lost that 20 pounds, or took the leap, quite literally, and went sky diving for the first time, we are just skimming the surface…we are attending to the symptoms but not identifying the problem. Why do we feel the need to take that leap..why now?
The only person I can change is myself, but we do not live, like a turtle, inside our own shell, we are immersed in a world of individuals fighting their own battles and reacting to those battles in plain view of the public. We are in the cross fire of every other 29-year-old’s crisis, 15-year-old’s first break-up, 50-year-old’s parents passing, and so on…we can only change ourselves and how we react to everything else around us…the problem is not what they say and do to us, it is us and what we feel because we have not resolved certain things that we thought would be resolved by now. Or things we never thought would need resolving. Life, time, age pass so swiftly, so silently, so stealthily until moments like this…
New Year’s Eve, Birthdays, all days where time is miraculously seen and felt and we evaluate, not the reason behind what we feel, only what we feel and we react…
My New Year’s resolution, as I said before is “LESS IS MORE.”
I am starting a new happiness project. This blog was one in a way, but it was focused on those gut reactions, those societal pressures, it was focused on what other people felt and did and said about turning 30, it was not entirely what I wanted to do…but it was helpful. It helped to teach me things about myself and made me pay far more attention to how and why I react to things…I am happier now I think than I was when I started this blog in many ways, and sadder too, because there is much work to be done. Let’s just say that this soon-to-be-30-year-old has seen the error of her ways. LESS IS MORE.
It may be more work at the beginning, more planning, more organization, more advance preparation, but it will lead to less complication and stress over time, which will lead to so much more in my day to day life…
IF I spend MORE time organizing my budget, and learn to spend LESS and more wisely, then it will lead to LESS bills, LOWER payments, LESS stress and LESS paperwork which in turn will lead to MORE savings, MORE security, MORE to spend when the time is needed and MORE opportunities to do BIGGER things down the line.
This works in almost every aspect of my life. I have identified the problems, I want to treat those problems and see my symptoms disappear or morph into things like peace of mind and patience…I can only change myself, and my little shell, my home is where it all begins. I can rework my own environment to work in my favor so that when the rest of the world is still reacting, I can act as I should and be happier for it. This is the year of LESS!
A few days ago I got a long awaited massage. Quinton’s mother is a professional masseuse and when she has time available she squeezes me in. These don’t happen as often as they use to, due to babies and her cancer, but when they do it’s a delightful treat in so many ways.
- It gives us a chance to talk. We talk all the time, but this is out of earshot of our significant others and we can talk more freely, and these “table conversations” as I like to call them, are a real bonding experience.
- It cures my aches and pains. I use to simply enjoy them for the relaxation benefits. My body was not a treasure house of pent up pain and anxiety…that is very different now. From tight shoulders to pains I didn’t even know I had, to working out my carpal tunnel pains in my right arm, this really is a recuperative experience.
- Relaxation, of course, and always the best part of the whole thing.
So, this happened on our final night in Houston. It was cold and rainy outside, it allowed me to escape a cabin fever situation and a growing restlessness emanating from my children. It was just enough of an escape to get me through those final hours and allowing for a much smoother departure than when we left town an entire week before.
There is a lot to be said for mini escapes, and I notice a major difference in how I feel and how I act when I have had just a little time for myself, especially massage time. It is definitely part of that meditation, selfish for the sake of others tack I have been striving for all year long. I think this definitely goes on the resolution list…I may not be able to afford them once a month, but more regular attention to therapeutic escape will not go unheeded in the new year.