This Was 30

Last week one of my coworkers stopped at my desk on her way to get coffee and she said ’30 is almost over. What was different about this year?’

I went easy on myself. That was my response. Not easy on myself in the way you might immediately think of. As I write this I’ve read 66 books, I’m leading 2 book clubs, I’m more than halfway through my 8th read through the bible, my fall includes almost 10 trips, I volunteer tutoring, and I’m hosting high school bible study starting next week. I didn’t take it easy this year but I was easy on myself.

Early in the year that has been 30 someone said something that really hit home for me. She said, ‘I’m learning to be kind to myself. I do a lot. And I’m pretty good at my many roles. So when I’m not perfect, I let good be good enough’. That, I thought, is what I want out of 30.

What I know about myself is I am not wired to be the girl who watches endless reality tv and sleeps past noon on the weekends. I am reliable and responsible to a fault. But this year I took a deep breath and on the busiest, hardest, and most chaotic days I reminded myself that I’m a pretty darn cool Aunt B. I am hard worker and a loyal, dedicated friend. I am a cheerleader for my family members. And some days I fall and skin both my knees or I have an absolute meltdown after 6 weeks of insurance nightmares. But when perfect did not happen, good was good enough.

What made this year special is this – better than the 29 before it, this year I lived my commandments. When my friend needs someone to fly to Nashville and help her pick an apartment, I went (even if I did back the rental car into a staircase – #goodenough). When another friend followed her dreams to Australia even when it felt big and overwhelming I said ‘I’m buying a ticket – I’ll be there’. When my sister needed help and my Dad changed jobs – I was there.  ‘Take the time’ and ‘Be a cheerleader’ are probably the two commandments I made for myself I most highly value and I lived them with passion this year.

Do what ought to be done, I wrote on my commandment list a few years ago now. I realized as I wrote it that it had existed long before I took the time to write it. This year I was given opportunities to bless people who have hurt me. To be generous to people who have treated me poorly. And to stand up for what I believe in awkward, uncomfortable situations. I should pause to say the commandment is to DO what ought to be done. It does not say ‘when you want to’and I would be lying if Iacted like I always wanted too. I have become a little infamous for this quote ‘I am tired of being the bigger person. Today I want to be small’.  Good enough is doing it and feeling glad you did later if you can’t quite rally your attitude beforehand.

It took me a few months to really get in the groove of being kinder to myself but I got to put this mantra into play towards the end of the year. You want to make a clean freak cry? Give them four rounds of company in five weeks with work and commitments inbetween. I determined up front – be present, be fun, make every second count. Other than my mom, I reasoned, no one was really counting the dust bunnies on my baseboards against me, right? I planned and I cooked and I tried to wake up first so I didn’t miss a day of bible reading but I truly loved every minute. My house and my hair were often dirty and a little messy. Yet even when someone at work asked me rounding the 2 week bend ‘if I felt alright’ followed by ‘you look sick’ (aka like crap) I just smiled because bags or no bags (is no bags an option?) under my eyes: this was the best month ever.

This year was perfect even when I was anything but. It was full of what I love the absolute most. It brought with it unexpected blessings like my parents move to Florida and a new friendship I’d already bet will last a lifetime. I’m writing this really with one full day left until 31 but that last day includes friends, food, football, and book club so it’s safe to say I’m finishing strong.

This was 30.

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