Ode to 31

Oh thirty-one you won’t quickly be forgotten.  As I prepared to write about this year I went back and read what I wrote about the year that was 30 and I loved it.  My heart warmed as I reread about what I had celebrated during a great year and how I had grown and loosened up as I tried to embrace what truly mattered a little more and leave behind the shore of perfection to embrace people.

So that brings me to summing up the year that was 31 as I turn 32 tomorrow…

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of 31 is that my parents have lived in Florida for a year now.  I saw all but one of my Dad’s games last season and I have a Southwest account full of trips to cheer for him again this year.  I flew down and helped my mom move, I took my friends to the beach and taught them how to play pegs, and I slept on a very uncomfortable pull out couch in their condo when my whole family crammed in for a week this summer.  I’m glad I didn’t know just how much I was missing the last 8 years of not having family close – because this is AWESOME and I’ve definitely been missing out.

What was hard about this year? Everyone says as you enter your 30s you care a heck of a lot less about what people think of you. True.  But I also found it changes the way you feel about friendships. I reprioritized my friendships this year and I pursued harder friends that I felt would be lifelong friends – while backing off friendships I felt like I was making all the effort in.

Last week I realized how energizing it’s been.  As I flew home from North Carolina my friends reached out to me and said: where and when? We’ll be there to pick you up.  Then they came in and played games half the night.  I didn’t even have to ask!  And as I save to replace some flooring in my house another friend and her husband popped by to help me measure square footage on the way to lunch.  I found more community  this year.

When Irma was headed for Tampa yet another friend came to my rescue – dropping me at the airport and returning to check on my house after the storm ( I was in the first zone to be evacuated).

As it turns out, I needed community more than ever this year.  This year I faced a cancer scare that brought me to my knees in a humbling way.  I cried and prayed more than I have in a long time this year.  The girl who’s use to offering all the support, love, hospitality, and advice learned what it’s like to NEED people.  I needed the prayers. I needed a few shoulders to cry on.  For the first time in my adult life I called my family and said: send help!

Though I wish that nightmare on no one (even though I turned out to be perfectly healthy in the end) – I’m grateful for what it taught me.  I learned to be vulnerable and it was well rewarded.  My Mom came to take me to my biopsy and my sweet friend Glenda had a huge bouquet of flowers waiting on my porch when I got home.  Friend after friend prayed, called, and loved on me while I waited nearly 3 weeks for those results.  And we all celebrated together when I was pronounced healthy after the brutal waiting game.

When the ‘c word’ enters the picture you can’t help but ponder the future with ‘what ifs’. While I’m glad that wasn’t the literal beginning of a fight for my life; I’ve thought really hard about my life as a result.  When I flew to North Carolina to see my nieces and nephew I squeezed them a little tighter, cuddled them more, and woke up every morning  in my basement bedroom grateful for time. Who knows how much time but every day seems like an incredible gift.

I prayed hard this year over my goals and I’m excited to report I’m literally SLAYING them.  I reached a huge financial milestone 4 months early and I’m nearly 15 books ahead of schedule to beat my biggest, loftiest goal yet.  I’m traveling hard, hosting with some semblance of grace, and proudly leading an incredible group of women through the bible in a year.

I’ve always been a believer than each year of your life should get a little bit better and so far the 30s haven’t let me down.  I reunited with my college roommate and I’ve already been to see her, had her to Florida, and I’m headed back her way in October.  I’ve seen my best friend almost every single month this year (and I’m currently holed up at her house avoiding a hurricane).  This has been a year of friendship that I’m grateful for.

So what do I want out of 32?  To continue to do less of what I hate and more of what I love.  After reading and rereading time management books I’m working on ‘outsourcing’ the things that keep me from being able to spend my minutes living my mission: to love God and to love people well (while reading books, rabidly cheering at football games, and seeing the world – naturally).  I want to continue to learn to let myself off the hook for mistakes while pushing myself every single day towards excellence.

Most of all I want to play by my own rules.  If the best benefit of the 30s is caring less what other people think than I should be getting more and more comfortable in my own skin.  I’m still learning to be comfortable being myself and not fitting into the boxes other people design for me.  I am filling so many roles from aunt to friend to boss to investor but I’m purposing more than ever to do them my way.

So here’s to another year of living my commandments.  Of being a cheerleader for my family, my friends, and my colleagues.  To being a safe haven through welcoming others into my home, keeping confidences, and being someone people can come to in times of crisis.  To taking and making the time.  To doing what ought to be done (even when no one else does).  And of course, to taking everything a little less personally.  To another year of health, of growth, and maybe even the pursuit of happiness – cheers.

Thanks 31, you were good to me.


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