Last month I turned 37 years old, and I think I needed some time to really figure out what that meant for me. This year has been tumultuous (at best) and it’s been hard to find moments to process most of it. It has recently occurred to me that, like others, we have learned that sometimes you just can’t let yourself process in order to not be overwhelmed with how much it all starts to spiral out of control. After some time, I think I have 37 manifesto of sorts.
This year’s birthday hike on Mission Peak. If you haven’t spent a birthday morning on top of a mountain, I highly recommend it. It’s a very literal-meets-figurative experience to start a new year of life.
This year has brought lots of heartache, change, death and an overall evaluation of values. In order to understand how I view this year of existence in my life differs from others, or what some of my year should be, I had to look at the past.
At 35, I did have feelings of unhappiness and set out to figure out why. I chalked it up to a general feeling of motherly postpartum or job insecurities, but it was more than that. I realized there was a complacency in my life that changed the very essence of me. I realized there was a part of me that was gone but my mind had not adapted to who that new person was, so it was really uncomfortable to not be confident in yourself as a person. So the only thing I wanted to do was figure out what makes me unhappy, and maybe in the process find what it was that made me fulfilled.
At 36, it was time to really follow through with some changes. I needed to cut out the things in my life that leave me drained, that waste my time, that don’t deserve my attention. With everything from the loss of friends or even the changing politics, I needed to remind myself what my core values are and who shares that with me. Not only cutting out what makes me unhappy, but nurturing the relationships that do bring me joy. Making sure I’m adding time to spend towards what I love and hiding behind some excuse to my unhappiness. Life is busy, and hard, and it requires some assembly and care.
Birthday manicures with my baby girl. <3
Which brings me to 37…
As I’m still working on what 35 and 36 brought in my life, but I wanted to add some new goals to that list.
- Exchange some ideas of STRENGTH into ACTS OF KINDNESS… After loosing a friend in a fire, a niece to illness, and another friend to depression this year, I have learned being “strong” is not always the answer. That grief and sorrow are just the things we all endure to come out on the other side ready with a new understanding, even a fortitude. The “being strong for yourself or one another” feels strangely similar to having “thoughts and prayers”. I’d rather offer something to feel like maybe some action is being taken.
- Having a LARGER PICTURE MENTALITY is not my strong suit. I don’t remember what I did last week and barely plan for the next week. I live my life day by day, and I like it that way. When so much has happened this year, it’s forced me to look at that larger picture and see where long term effects of something that I do really starts to become an issue. If my mindset is that I don’t want to get stuck in a consumerist and capitalist machine, and I realize that some things I can change from shopping smarter to even being able to clearly identify what those actions are. If my mindset is that I want my daughter to have equal opportunities, I can’t let some deep rooted issues with this country slide or be complacent when I see injustice. This also means I need to start seeing what 5 or 10 years from now is going to look like for me. Are there things that I do that will affect my health down the line? How am I living? What is sustainable? How will my daughter’s life be different from mine? Seriously adulting here… and it already sounds unpleasant.
- Not focusing on having work that I am passionate about, but rather having work I am HONEST about. Not everything in life needs to be “your calling” and I’m okay with that. I work to make money to do things I love. If there’s things I love, I need to dedicate myself to being on top of my game. If I’m designing a room, I need to make sure my best foot is forward in my design at all times. If I’m climbing a mountain, or writing a blog post, being a mother, or even taking some photos… I need to face challenges and do them with the skills I know I possess. Interests change and we all have moments in our life where we question what our purpose is, that doesn’t change what abilities we all have. Why can’t we forget the idea that our work is representative of who we are and just say that we do so many things to the best of our abilities and be satisfied with that? I need to be making sure that I am using “the best of my abilities” and putting in the effort to sharpening skills. Honesty in my own purpose can come from changing the idea of expectations into improvements and self-criticism into appreciation.
Even with all those changes, it still remains; I got no time for BS, I’m cutting what makes me unhappy and making room for joy. Hoping that this year brings experiences and compassion more than anything, and after that last year, I’m hoping to have a little more patience to handle whatever comes my way.
Relaxing time with Evie as she indulged my birthday hot tub request.
Featured image from my trip to Cuba in January, there hasn’t been a lot to smile about this year to I’m putting it out there that I’m going to smile more in 37!