I’m 35 today! And I kind of love it! I remember turning 30 was kind of anticlimactic, 31 was a little stressful (I’m IN MY 30’s now!), but 35 feels just right.
Last year I filled out this birthday interview and loved it. It feels good to reflect on a year and see how far my grey hairs and I have come.
How are you spending your birthday?
David has planned a weekend trip for the two of us! So while I don’t know where we are going (yet), I do know that I’ll be hanging out with my favorite guy and eating delicious food.
Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Both, on all counts.
Going off medication has opened me up to a larger range of emotions than I’ve had for years. It’s been overwhelming, to be honest. I cry a lot. I’m angry and sad about SO MUCH right now, but I’m also so happy with my little family + my little projects + my little house.
I’m finally exercising more than never. But between slimming down in some areas and bulking up in others, I feel thinner but definitely have gone up a pant size. Thanks a lot, squats.
When more money comes in, it tends to go right back out to house projects. That said, we have significantly less debt than last year, so I’m 100% okay with having less in savings for the moment.
What did you do last year that you’ve never done before?
I made macarons! LOTS of macarons. They’ve always intimidated me but honestly? They’re not that bad. You inevitably mess up the first batch, you learn something, and things get smoother going forward.
This should not be new information to me, and yet here I am, still scared of trying new things.
What was your favorite discovery last year?
It’s a fluffy one but…ipsy! Although I didn’t technically discover it last year, I did finally sign up for an account. Y’all. It is so much fun. Each month I pay $10 and get a new bag of surprise makeups + nail polishes + hair products + skincare stuffs. Some of my favorites that I use daily have been ipsy offerings. BONUS: I’m not wasting money on random lipstick or lotion at Target because I’m bored, since I know I’ll get something in the mail soon.
I should really do a whole post about it. Until then, if you want to try it out, use my referral link so I can earn points toward extra goodies. Or email me and I’ll sign you up for a free bag! (I think I get five to give away.)
What do you hope to learn this coming year?
How to write and market an e-book or e-course. I have several started but they’re still just word docs. I want to learn how to make them pretty and convince people to buy them. Although let’s be real: I’ll probably just say something like, “I MADE A THING PLEASE BUY IT.” That’s how marketing works, right?
What would you like to have this year that you didn’t have last year?
Some income. I’m not ready to dive back into full- or even part-time employment, but I’d like to make a few dollars from my creative efforts. (See the previous question.)
What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Feeling mentally + emotionally stable enough to wean off my depression/anxiety medication. It still feels fragile, but I’m proud of what I’m learning about processing emotions and letting go of perfection.
What was your biggest failure?
Procrastinating. I’ve been meaning to move forward on a few blog-adjacent projects (like those e-books/courses I mentioned) but I keep putting them off. Everything I’d hoped to launch is still on hold and that’s my fault.
Where did you travel this year?
David and I were in Czechia and Austria exactly a year ago. (I still need to write up a Brno travel guide!) We took the kids to Cincinnati to visit my brother’s family, which was new to us and completely delightful. And we drove up to northern Arizona to check out Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon over spring break. Plus a few short trips to visit my parents sprinkled in there.
Do you have a destination in mind for next year?
We have a beach trip planned before school starts and a family reunion shortly after. David has a lot of work travel scheduled for the fall, but I’m thinking about a road trip with the kids over fall break anyway. And there’s a very real possibility I can tag along on another epic international trip with David. I’ll keep you posted as that comes together.
As much as I dream of BIG travel, that’s not necessarily our reality right now. Mostly I’m looking into lots of smallish trips to nearby State + National Parks. Lots of planning but nothing set in stone.
What did you get really excited about?
Planning and going on adventures with my family. Big ones like Antelope Canyon, little ones like new-to-us parks, and everything in between. I literally have a file on my computer labeled TRAVEL with DOZENS of itineraries in the works. As the kids get older, the easier and more fun it is to go places, and I am trying really hard to make it happen.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Same as last year: engaging with my children one-on-one. Going on dates with David. Reading. Sleeping.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Also same as last year: cycling through social media on my phone. The struggle is real, but I’m doing better.
What was the best book you read?
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. One of the best historical fiction books I’ve ever read, and easily the best re-imagining of a Bible story. I’m also slowly working my way through Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, because it’s SO MUCH INFORMATION, but I can already tell it’s going to change the way I cook forever.
What did you want and get?
A functional bathroom! And it’s pretty! It’s not finished (yet) but at least we’re back to having a toilet and sinks. Every time I look in the door I grin in surprise. It’s such a massive improvement. I should write an update to this post soon.
Also, looking at last year’s answers, I’m reminded that I now have a little boy who can walk! He can run and climb and play with the rest of the kids his age. It’s easy to forget what a miracle that is and all the hard work we put in to achieve it.
What did you want and not get?
I’m really struggling to answer this. My life is far from perfect, but I have everything I could ever want. Any thing I don’t have feels kind of irrelevant. (Is that a humble-braggy answer?)
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having more control over my schedule. It’s really hard for me to wait for other people to make decisions or not know what’s going on until the last minute, if at all. But for various reasons, there are quite a few calendar items I have little control over. It’s so little but I find myself struggling with it a lot.
What kept you sane?
Time to myself to do my own thing. Whether it’s a few quiet minutes in the kitchen making dinner while David takes the kids on a bike ride, or hiring a babysitter for a few hours so I can write, alone time is critical to my sanity. Extra points for time spent doing something creative.
What political issue stirred you the most?
The #RedForEd movement here in Arizona got me pretty fired up. The most recent, though, is obviously the crisis at the border where families are being separated from one another. I have cried on the phone with the staff members in my senators’ offices way more than I care to admit.
I mean, our country has a long history of separating children from their parents. During slavery, during WW2 in Japanese internment camps, countless times that Native families have been broken up for various reasons. I can’t say, “This isn’t America!” because it definitely is. But I’m devastated that this is still America. That we haven’t learned from our mistakes. That despite our reputation as a “beacon on a hill” and a safe haven, we aren’t. At least not for everyone.
It weighs heavy on my heart and I’m tired, but I’m doing what little I can.
Did you fall in love?
With places? And food? All the dang time. With people? Just the same marvelous ones I live with, over + over + over again. I sure like this family of mine.
Who did you miss?
So many friends. My social life has taken a nosedive (completely my own fault, of course) and I feel the lack. Social media is great for keeping people connected, but there’s something so special about actually being in someone’s presence. I miss that face-to-face connection.
Did you learn a valuable life lesson this year?
Mindy Kaling actually touched on it in her address to the Dartmouth class of 2018:
“Don’t be scared if you don’t do things in the right order, or if you don’t do some things at all. Structured ambition can sometimes be motivating. But also, feel free to let it go.”
It’s okay that my timetable doesn’t look like someone else’s, or like what I thought it might be five or ten years ago. I can let go of old ambitions and new ones brought on by comparison. Everyone’s path is different. What matters is that I’m a) doing my best and b) finding happiness + gratitude as I go.
Last year was a good one, but thirty-five already feels pretty great too. I’m excited to see what it brings!