Reflections on 31, Thoughts on 32

31 vs 32

31 is over. 32 is here.

As I reflect on what all of that means, I am forced to admit that 31 challenged me in all kinds of ways. It was not the easiest year of my life; of course, neither was it the hardest. It was a year, as all years are; a year of challenges and triumphs, of failures and successes, of new and old, of the same and more of it. Physically, 31 took be to the edge of what I thought I could handle, forcing me to claw my way back to where I knew I wanted to be. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. And, most importantly:

I am the happiest, the most joyful, the most content that I have ever been in my life.

It feels weird to say that, knowing that the past year brought about a lot of failure, a lot of pain — both physically and emotionally. I did not do all of the things that I wanted to do. I was not all of the things to all of the people. I wasn’t even all of the things to myself. Yet, somewhere in the past year, I let go of a lot of that junk, the stuff of wanting to be more than I am in the here and now. More than matters in the present, in the moment. I let go of a lot of “what if” and “why” and “woe is me.” I separated myself from the dwelling and the carrying on and moved into the celebrating and doing something about, the being and the breathing.

I’m not saying I am relaxed, because that would just be funny and everyone would know that I was lying. I am still just as high-strung as ever. I am still all go, all the time. I am still color-coded spreadsheets and over-commitment. I am still determined to the point of stubbornness. I still fail. A lot.

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But it’s my view on those failures that has changed. They do not define me. They don’t even all matter very much in the grand scheme of being who I want to be and doing what I want to do in this world of ours. On the flip side, some of those failures have shaped me, molded me or helped me recognize who I am on levels I didn’t know to explore. Those failures have shown me that getting up, over and over, time and time again, will only help strengthen my resolve.

I mean, which girl looks happier to you?

31 vs 32
31st birthday vs 32nd birthday

What do I want from 32?

More of the same: the joy, the contentment, the understanding that failures do not define me or keep me down forever, the freedom that comes with being at peace with one’s self. More learning from my sons and my partner in loving and living. More time spent in prayer, in the Word. More time spent using whatever space I have — outside or inside, rain or shine, snow or extreme heat — in the best way I can at any given moment. More time focusing on the inherent goodness of people and things; less time focusing on what cannot be or isn’t or will never come to pass. More here, more now, more yes to what is right, what is true.

I don’t know what this next year of being 32 holds for me, but I feel strong enough to face it. That, in and of itself, is a priceless gift to myself.

 

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52 Weeks of Brotherhood: Week 16

52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 16

52 Weeks of Brotherhood

52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 16

I meant to post this yesterday, but sometimes you just need to veg on the couch with your husband.

52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 16

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This.

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This is what our days look like — when it’s not a day like today, all rain and thunder and gloom and slop. Now that spring decided to show up and bless us with temperatures somewhere above bone-chilling, we spend our time outside. Doing this. What is this, you ask?

First and foremost, to your left you will see a Wipeout course. I’ve written before as to how my sons possess big dreams of working on/for/with Wipeout someday. They practice in the present by setting up obstacle courses on the front lawn. Courses can include: a Little Tykes fire engine car, a wagon, a Toy Story tricycle, a tractor, a dump truck, and more. But always, always home plate at the end of the course, because you obviously have to have somewhere to jump, to land, to win. They spend hours climbing up and over. Falling down, crashing down. Rearranging, remaking, reimagining. I spend hours saying, “Don’t argue,” and, “Please be more careful,” as I sit in the chair or on a blanket and read, snap pictures, or get stepped on by the dog.

To the right you will see a light saber because we find ourselves still stuck somewhere in the deep muck of a Star Wars fixation. Always with the fighting of bad droids and re-enacting scenes that they still haven’t seen and telling me every single character in the LEGO Star Wars sticker book and on and on and on.

And of course, the dog.

Where we play, she also plays. Where we sit, she sits on our feet. Where we attempt to fall asleep on a blanket in the front yard after dinner while listening to Phil Collins, there she jumps on us because why sleep when you can run and jump and chase balls and bark at the people taking an after dinner walk?

The ornamental pear in the front yard, looking quite lovely in this photo, has nearly finished her bloom. These two boys — and that dog — haven’t yet finished their days and weeks and months of playing in the yard. For that I feel quite thankful. Light sabers and all.