In two months, I will celebrate my 30th birthday. As I wrap up many of my 30 before I turn 30 goals (and cut myself some slack on some others), I have learned a lot about who I am, what I care about, and how invaluable the people are around me. Here are some of the lessons I have learned so far…
- Happiness means more than money. This may seem like an obvious statement, but for a girl who grew up in poverty, this was a difficult decision. I could choose between a little more money, some uncertainty, and a big life change, or certainty and happiness. Really, I was deciding on if the grass was greener on the other side, or if my grass was pretty damn green. As it turns out, I have awesome grass and the sense God gave me to realize it. That being said, this was a tough lesson and I’m glad I learned it. A huge thank you to Amber, Teri, Amy, Evan, and my Mom for guiding me through that process.
- Sometimes, you have to ugly cry in Notre Dame. You know what I mean. There is the type of crying that is soft and quiet with tears rolling down your cheeks…and then there is the full blown whaling, sniffling, squeaking, trying to suppress what can’t be contained crying. That was me, in the middle of Notre Dame, sobbing as I bid farewell and lit a candle for my grandmother who passed away. I can’t be sure if the crying was really that bad, or if the echos amplified and made it seem much worse. Either way, saying goodbye to a person I love in the place she loved meant the world to me.
- I am capable and worthy of unconditional love. Really, this is two in one. In March, I will celebrate the second year of marriage to a partner I couldn’t imagine life without. Growing up in a home with a single parent where my family members were in unhealthy, unstable, and abusive relationships – I had no concrete examples for what a healthy, authentic, wholehearted relationship could or should be, but I found my way there anyway and am grateful for it every day. This leads me to my next point…
- Love does not make me weak. Knowing that I am cable of love and being loved might be one of the most powerful experiences my marriage has taught me. I have never been as vulnerable, or as strong, as I am now.
- Three dogs is one dog too many. Evan and I have a soft spot for strays and at one point this year, my house felt more like a shelter for lost or abused dogs than a house for humans. Our breaking point, is three dogs. It’s too many. We will never (I really hope) have three dogs again.
- I can’t grow cilantro. Tried three times. Failed three times. Sometimes, you have to know when to quit. On the flip side, we have excellent lemons, basil, rosemary, mint, parsley, sage, oregano, and are working on growing figs.
- Reading and crafting bring me joy.
- Being connected is important to feeling whole for me. As much as I enjoy quietly reading a good book, I feel positively alive and buzzing with energy when I am connecting with others through phone calls, Skype, Google Hangouts, Twitter, and Facebook. I have also learned that I need to be more consistent in these forums and with my connections. There are some remarkable people out there I would love to connect with more frequently, I just need to be brave and reach out.
- Family means what I say it means. Only I can decided to forgive, forget, and move on. Only I can decide to send the text, make the call, and say I love you and mean it. Family does not mean blood, one or two people, and only those I can depend on to be infallible – because I’m not infallible and that’s unreasonable. Family is giving a shit, loving the best way you know how, thinking of someone at every turn and remember to tell them, and thoughtfully and willingly letting people in.
- Becoming resilient is a process, not an end goal and I am truly making progress.
I know I have a lot left to learn this year and I am looking forward to every lesson. It has been a powerful year and as far as I can tell, it is only going to get better.