ten things I learned in my 31st year

Well Happy Birthday to me. My father-in-law told me that he remembers thinking while he was 32 that 32 was his favorite year. I love that. And it makes me excited for this year ahead.

I have been thinking about all of the things I learned or re-learned in my thirty-first year. (I've written about some of these before, but thought they were worth mentioning again...) Here they are, in one random list:

1. When you're feeling ugly, don't go and chop your hair.
I remember watching an Oprah where a young girl's mom died of cancer. But before the mother died, she made countless VHS tapes of herself, telling her daughter life lessons, truths she wanted her to know. It makes me sad to think about it. They showed one video during Oprah's last season, now fifteen or so years after the mother had passed away. On the video the mom told the daughter, "when you're feeling ugly, don't go and get a drastic haircut. Wait a week or two, get a trim, buy some new makeup, and then decide if you really want to cut your hair off." I remember watching that woman on my television and having my own Oprah Aha Moment. What wise, wise words this woman spoke.

Fast forward to this January when I was reading this awesome blog post by Meredith. She said one of her new years goals was to grow her hair out. Initially I thought it was a funny resolution. But then all day long I kept thinking about how that is how you grow your hair out: you commit to not cutting it! So I jumped on board. Resolved: I'm growing my hair out in 2013 (with an occasional trim of course...)

2. Buy Warm Socks. Just spend the money.
I figured this one out last winter. But it has changed my life a bit. I live in Minnesota. I have chronic cold feet. And you know why? Because my whole life I have been buying packs of socks that are paper thin. Not anymore. Socks that cost ten or twelve dollars a pair are worth it. The price makes me a little sick inside, but  I'll pay it now. Because winter is a long season and winter feels much longer with cold feet.

3. Two kids are more kids than one kid.
Do the math. It's true.

4. Food can be marketed and made trendy.
My sister-in-law Stephanie and I were talking about this while on the North Shore this September. We talked about how cupcakes had made a comeback, how arugula had been such a big deal on pizza for a while, how popular pomegranate juice was for its time, how trendy ramps and truffles are, and how roasted brussels sprouts and kale chips are in style and thanks to pinterest, so are a whole host of crock pot recipes, smoothies and homemade granola bars. Recently everywhere I turn I find bundt cakes. Apparently bundt cakes are the new cupcakes. It's so weird! How can food be fashionable?!!

5. Reading my Bible is fruitful every.single.time.
I started a Bible reading plan at the new year and I still love it. I think I'm two weeks behind, but there are no dates on the plan, so there's actually no way to be behind. Every day is a new book of the Bible, Sunday is Genesis, Monday is Romans, Tuesday is Job, Wednesday is Psalms, Thursday is Isaiah, Friday is Matthew and Saturday...ah, well I missed one somewhere in there, but whatever. You get the idea. Again there are no dates, so you can start today if you'd like. I promise, you'll find it worth the time. God speaks through his word. I'm hearing lots. Print this and get started!

6. There is a countdown for the next Olympic Games.
It is like a digital paper chain. You're welcome.

7. The best help for our marriage has been sharing a dream.
Rory and I are going to this three hour class every week about living on the land. We're learning the basics of what we need for what we want to do with our property. Last week focused on tractors and sustainable agriculture. It was awesome. It got us so excited and we came home and talked at the kitchen table til the wee hours. We have shared hopes and dreams and that turns life and marriage from routine into something really exciting and full of possibilities.

8. Yeast shouldn't be scary.
I've made a few successful breads and pizza doughs. Wish I had started this years ago. Hope I continue to try new carb loaded treats.

9. You have to work to build community.
When we moved to our new place I knew I had to get to work finding play groups, moms groups and friends fast. Because winter was coming. I felt like a squirrel or something, preparing for the season ahead. Heh. So I googled for Beth Moore bible studies in the area and went to the Baptist Church every Sunday night and met a bunch of women that way. Then I started going to the library toddler group with the kids and met moms there. Then I joined a Thursday morning Bible study and met some great friends. I started a small group for moms where all we do is meet to eat out twice a month. And even on Friday, I ventured over to MOPS to meet more mom's with wee ones.

Sometimes it's exhausting. But it is rarely fruitless. Every single time it seems I make some connection or share in a helpful conversation. And sometimes I come home having made a new friend. Which is the whole point.

10. There is no one way to measure the productivity of a day.
I have a feeling this lesson is going to roll over into my thirty second year as well. I'm smack in the middle of learning this one. I like to have things to show for my time. A job out of the house would offer a tangible measure for me. But because I am at home, my measures are often deceiving... a lot of times my kids are in need of a bath, there is laundry that never gets put away, piles of dishes that I despise, and emails I can never seem to respond to. To base my worth on any of those tasks would make me feel embarrassingly behind.

But I am learning to measure my days differently. I'm starting to take a long view of things. To see my work as a calling. To treat my days with my kids as my vocation. Because if I based my days worth on the cleanliness of the kitchen counter, well, I  probably would have been fired long ago.


Anonymous said...

Earlier this very day I decided that it was now popcorn instead of cupcakes- http://luxirare.com/popcorn-bar/ I will bet you a bundt cake I am right! Or maybe it will be both. I'm not on pinterest, so I might just not know.

Also Costco has much more reasonably priced smart wool type socks. Which I really appreciate as a hiker and x-country skiier.


a midwestern belle said...

Love that you are growing out your hair too! It's so hard...and so tempting to keep it short. My goal is to have it long enough for an up-do at Emily's wedding this summer! Happy belated birthday! :)

Becca Groves said...

I'll see your bundt cake and raise you a pizza with a sunnyside egg on top!

And thanks for the tip on the socks. I have a growing collection, it seems.

Meredith, seriously I decided to grow my hair out after seeing your post. And it is getting longer! (And...Emily's Wedding?!! Ah! That's so exciting!!!)

sarah in the woods said...

Hey, guess what I learned in my 31st year. Five kids are more than four kids. You would think I would have figured that out by now, but I had to test it out to make sure.

Amanda said...

This is a great post. Thoughtful and full of great reflections. Wouldn't it be a great practice to commit to each birthday? It would be a great way to see how much you change and grow over the next few years. (I think I may have to adopt the practice myself.)

I also thought your comments on trendy food was so funny. I had cupcakes at my wedding--about a year and a half before they got big. I've really been into pie for a couple of years, which you see everywhere now. Apparently, I'm ahead of the curve. Haha. I so into kale right now. I'm actually glad it's been trendy because I'd never tried it before seeing in on Pinterest. I was kind of afraid of it.