Birthdays are always a good time for some self-reflection. Having kissed my 20's goodbye last week, I took some time to reflect on the things I learned and the lessons that I want to focus on in my 30's.
1) Don't Count Your Chickens...
When Jeremy and I were young newlyweds, we had lots of plans for ourselves (like I'm sure most newlyweds do!) We wanted to be young parents and start having kids right away. We agreed on three and I definitely wanted to be done by the time I was 30. Well that deadline has come and gone - we don't have all the little chickens we want... and to get the two sweet ones we have, it's been a very difficult journey to say the least. It is not fair to put so much pressure on yourself when it comes to this. Your body is not predictable and you have to give yourself grace.
Before I started dating Jeremy I had always told myself that I would never date anyone in the military and I would never move out of Michigan. Hahahah! Tell God your plans and give Him a good laugh. Turns out that dating a military man and moving away from my home state was the best thing that ever happened to me. Jeremy and I are so blessed to have built an amazing life together, and it would not look that same without the two never limits I had put on myself.
3) Do Not Let Other's Define Your Relationship With God
I was born and raised Catholic. My faith and relationship with God is personal and very important to me. I still consider myself a practicing Catholic, but we do not go to Mass on a regular basis- and it's my fault. I used to feel extremely guilty and ashamed. Upon reflection, prayers and giving myself time I came to a decision. I don't think that God is keeping attendance on me, after all He knows where I am most days, including Sundays - in bed, in pain and praying to Him to let me have the strength to make it through the day. If other people judge me and consider me less of a Catholic and weak in my faith, that is on them, not me.
4) Quality Over Quantity
When you are young you think that it is important to have a whole slew of friends. Well, that is not important at all. What matters most is to have quality friends (and family) surrounding you. As you get older you deal with more difficult situations, and you need people that have your back and you can truly trust.
5) Time Flies - Especially After Kids
Everyone tells you that time flies after you have children and to soak it all in. However, you do not really understand it until you are right in the middle of it. It is a tornado of diapers, midnight feedings, tantrums, messy kisses, sticky fingers, giggles and then all of a sudden they are off to school and the next season of life is starting. Those moments crack open your heart and leave you forever changed in the best ways.
6) Live Your Life - For YOU
It is so hard to put limits on your time, commitments and expectations. But when all the running around, stress and wearing your self thin catches up, re-evaluate. It probably wasn't worth it and it probably wasn't making you as happy as you could be. Saying no is a powerful, mature tool and it doesn't make you a bad person to set limits and make decisions based on what is best for YOU.
7) Emotions Make You Stronger
I was once made to believe that I was too sensitive, overreacted to everything and that makes me weak. News flash! Understanding your emotions and not bottling them up actually makes you strong. You learn, you grow and you are able to help others by understanding yourself. The people that try to say this is a weakness are probably very out of touch emotionally and threatened by your growth.
8) Being On Time
This has always been important in our family. My mom drilled it into our habits to be early for everything, especially appointments. People respect you for valuing time and commitment. You don't have to be 30 to be punctual. Jeremy knows better than anyone that I stress out if I am "late." I am going to try to be better about putting too much pressure on myself, but I still refuse to be late (haha!)
9) Fill Your Glass
I am an optimist. I like to look at the world and see the good. I also like to be around people that are optimistic. Have you ever been around people that are always looking at the glass half full and spreading negativity? It weighs on you and starts to dip into your own cup. I don't like that feeling. I have hard days and struggles like anyone, but I choose to constantly count my blessings and keep filling the glass.
10) Mystery Age
In my 20's I really didn't know what my 30's would mean. I was a mystery age that I didn't know anything about. Age is not something I have ever been focused on. Most of the time I only kept track of how old I was (especially in my late 20's) because it was on so many of my medical papers, seriously! Now that I have stepped into the 30 club, I know what it is about... It looks a lot like my 20's. It's about loving my family, watching them grow, guiding them and enjoying all the little moments that flow together to create this amazing, blessed life.