I turned 30 this past October and drafted this blog about what I learned from 29...I never fully finished it or hit 'publish', but thought I'd go ahead and do that now - better late than never, right?
Tomorrow....I turn the magical age of 30. Ok, maybe I'm not feeling so magical about it, but it's a milestone nonetheless. As I sit on a plane en route to meet one of my best friends in Vancouver, Canada to welcome this turning of age I can't help but reflect on the year behind me and what I've learned...
29. I'll call it 'rounding the corner'. The year of 29 has been full. In fact, all of the late 20's have been quite the hilarious turn of events and formative to say the least. However, I look back on 29 and I see a marked difference - a year filled with transformation, growth, risk and opportunity. A year where I continued to go after things I felt called deep inside my heart to do - pursue dreams. create, travel, write, love and make the most of the days I have been given. A year of continually striving to fully embrace who I was created to be [which turns out is far more creative than administrative, and a little more introverted than extroverted, who knew?!] I've realized that letting go of the way you think you 'should' be and taking off the mask of perfection is where freedom is found, and ultimately where life begins.
I've learned to stop waiting for the next and started embracing what is. Good things sometimes come to those who wait - but they also come to those who stop waiting and go after what they want. I started buying things I really loved [in moderation] and tossed the mindset of 'I'll get what I really like someday' out the window. I realized that some things are just worth paying more for - like haircuts, the make-up on the left side of Ulta, and jeans that fit. Today is just as worthy of intention and fullness as someday - so I say, buy the West Elm Hamilton 2-Piece Leather Chaise Sectional you've always wanted, along with some accent pillows and that classy throw blanket you've been eying while you're at it. Why? Because life is simply too short to be lived in the shadows of someday.
I've learned the difference between wasted time and intention. I've understood the importance of giving, receiving and saying 'no' - even to good things. The moments we have were meant to be lived with great intention, purpose and presence. I realized that I want to be wrung out, but also maintain balance. This year, I've worked several jobs, become acclimated with things like a hammer, table saw, drill and that 15 foot ladder which has become my right hand. I've been 'busy' [so my friends say], but it's not been for nothing. I put myself out there in friendships, relationships, professionally and creatively. I've seen the importance of REST. I've failed, but I've gained. I learned to push myself and pour out. I ran myself into the ground and tried to stay true to the intention of adding value and beauty to the world. I also learned that my intentions are not always good and a pure heart is always worth pursuing. I've seen beauty in the secret things and learned that to share with nobody can often be the sweetest.
I began to get serious about vulnerability and put my heart out there in the form of creative expression. I started putting my thoughts into words more often and my words onto paper - some of those words have been given wings and traveled further than I ever imagined, and that has been a little terrifying. I've learned from my new friend Brene Brown [or so she is to me] that tapping into God-given gifts and abilities are in fact some of the greatest contributions we can give to this world, aside from loving people like crazy.
I've learned the power and importance of friendship and going deep with few. I learned to practice saying hard things and realized that life is too short for drama, people are of too much value to give up on and friendships are too important to hold onto loosely. We must choose to build a history and sit in the uncomfortable, for the good of another. In regards to friendship...I've learned that avoidance can be the culprit behind shallow relationships, honesty is what we need, and intimacy - when we truly believe that we are known, loved and worth it, is the key to unlocking our deepest relationships.
This past year I stopped guarding my heart and learned to open it once again. I entrusted it to another human to care for and see into...for the moment. I gained flexibility through being stretched like never before. I exercised those muscles which allowed me to enter in again. No matter how scary it was, I learned to do it. I saw healing come in the form of something new and learned to trust again. I loved. I was reminded again that though we must hold on tight to relationships, we also must view them from the perspective of 'today'. I've learned to practice the art of open-handedness - which is HARD. I'm getting better at letting go of what was, trusting God and accepting that what I thought would be isn't always what's best. However, I've still got a long way to go.
I've learned to let go. Though the grief process is shitty and navigating it takes a lot of intention - it's necessary and the sting eventually lessens. Our active participation in grief is in the letting go, when the time is right. Through hardship I've been given a deeper capacity to love and care. I can't say I would choose it, but I sure wouldn't trade it. I've learned that I am whole. I've finally learned to believe that love is often displayed by my Father looking back at me and simply saying 'no', and that's ok. I've learned that leadership doesn't always come by way of a title or name-tag, but it's in how we live, and invest, and love, and serve. I've realized that more than anything, character matters, and character is built through the valley.
29 taught me a lot about marriage. My perspective has changed surrounding this subject more this past year than ever before, for the best. I've learned that finding a partner isn't a fairy-tale, but a quest to find a best friend. To enter in, to know, to believe in and to see someone for the good inside of their heart - this is love. Sure there is a place for butterflies and pretty floral arrangements, but more than anything else I've learned that in love friendship must be central and the choice to enter in and pursue someone is constant, like a moment by moment kind of constant decision. My attractions have swung to see as much beauty in the inward as the outward. I've realized that to be broken, humble, flawed and honestly living in pursuit of greater things are some of the most beautiful qualities of them all. I have felt the desire to fight with and for someone again. I've learned that physical is fleeting, but genuine love and deep care for another is what will see you through.
I've realized that I desire to have children someday. I want to be a mom more than ever before and build tee-pee's with my kids. I've accepted that this desire is not crazy or something to be ashamed of - it's actually one hell of a good desire to have. In the meantime, I'll be over here loving my friends kids like crazy..
I've lived with three girls throughout my late 20's in a little dilapidating house we call Pershing. Our landlord...well, he either 'fixes' everything himself or he's 'got a guy'. A strong Catholic from Mexico, he speaks broken english, has a heart of gold and spends his free time saving babies - he actually SAVES babies. Instead of knocking, he prefers shouting our names from the other side of the front door. He is a kind soul. Life with Pershing is something I will treasure forever. Whenever I tell people I have three roommates, their response is often, 'Wow, that is so many girls.' Each time I have countered that statement with, 'It is, but it's amazing and probably the least dramatic place on earth.' Abby, Alex and Courtney have become like sisters to me. The four of us - completely different according to Myers Briggs, yet we simply work. These girls have taught me about loving well, serving first and believing the best always. I mean, they do dishes that aren't even theirs. They have literally wiped my tears, celebrated with me and loved me with great intention and patience - expecting nothing in return. They have seen me at my darkest and loved me through it. They have listened. Oh my how they have listened. They have encouraged me to use my gifts and given me the space to do so, literally...I have taken up most of our house with my random projects and creative endeavors. Big Red - the giant couch in our living room where we've shared beers, fears, tears and cheers. I've learned that togetherness will always serve us well and living in deep community is when life feels most right.
I could go on and on about the past year and the crazy happenings of the 20's, but I will let you in on a little secret - someday I'm going to write a book about all of this, so...you'll just have to wait. Besides, I need someone to buy my book.
29 has been the pre-req to the major course - like that pesky required speech class we all grumbled our way through. This is the year where I've learned and experienced what will be absolutely crucial to chartering the territory which lies ahead. It's like God looked down all throughout the 20's and said, 'I want you to truly feel all that you say you believe, I promise you'll be better for it.' This final year of the 20's might be coming to a close, but they have been a blast and I will never forget the deposits they have entrusted me with. These are the days which have brought me to this present moment - which I truly believe to be the best that has been coming all along.
So, as the cute little center print of your gallery wall reads...
To which I say...
Maybe I fall...or maybe I fly. Either way, at least my jeans fit like a glove and I've got my pretty Hamilton sectional as a soft spot to land. 30, I may be crossing over to your side kicking and screaming, but I think I may be more ready for you than I actually care to admit. Let's do this.
But first, Canada...