Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What 34 Feels Like

Autumn in Austin

Yesterday I celebrated my 34th birthday.  As a treat to myself, I wanted to take some time to update my poor blog, which remains so neglected in the hustle and bustle of this new life I’m building in Austin.

34 feels good.  I’m now in my second year of full-time freelancing.  It’s definitely easier this year than it was last year.  I feel more confident, more sure of myself and what I’m doing.  I love the work and the students.  I’m getting better at saying yes to the right things and no to the wrong things.  I’m still learning and growing, which feels wonderful.

34 feels busy.  Very busy!  Due to the logistics of sharing a car, Paul and I have longer days of work, more time away from home.  I was not on board with sharing a car, but now I am.  Somehow we are making it work.  It puts some boundaries on my work life because I can’t meet students in as many locations, but I think those boundaries are healthy.

34 feels accepting.  I’ve learned to let some stuff go in order to feel more peaceful.  We eat more meals out to alleviate some pressure on the cooking/cleaning front.  Our house is usually a little dirtier than I would like.  I’ve developed a tiny Starbucks habit, just to give myself something to look forward to on my longest days. 

34 feels assertive.  As a freelancer who works with other people most of the time, it’s hard to prioritize my own projects and professional development.  And yet, part of how we get better at our craft is through concentrated effort at climbing the next mountain.  I’m inching my way toward the weekly decisions that give me time for growth.  This is hard for me because 1) I really like helping people and 2) I really like getting paid for my time.  But if I don’t take time to refill the well of my intellectual and creative powers, then I’m not doing anyone any good.

34 feels well-loved.  Sometimes, I look around my house filled with people I love, one furry cat, books and art and good food, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  How did I stumble into such a good life? 

Totes for Bernie cropped

34 feels optimistic.  So many things give me optimism for the year ahead: Bernie Sanders is running for president.  Everyone in my house is gainfully employed and moving in the direction of their dreams.  My family is healthy.  Love is the law of the land in this country.

34 feels big and small.  Building a life is big.  But I think we find more pleasure and happiness in our daily routines, our daily treats.  The small stuff comforts us.  It gives us the strength and the courage to carry on with the big stuff.  34 feels like the perfect blend of big and small.

34 feels committed.  Paul and I are engaged!  And if I can ever get over my paralysis toward wedding planning, we will be married within the next year or two.  I love him so much.

The Ring

And just for fun, here’s a rapid-fire Q&A on a few things wedding-related:

Who proposed?  We both did!

When is the wedding?  Either summer of 2016 or 2017.

Where are you getting married?  Probably Michigan, near the shores of Lake Huron

Are you excited?  I am equal parts excited and terrified.  I’m less afraid of being married and more afraid of wedding planning.  But my sister just gifted me with two fantastic books that a dear friend gave her, so I’m feeling like I have a roadmap to hold my hand.

Do you guys want children?  Yes.  We’re hoping to have one child, and after that, we’ll see how we feel about more.  (To the moms and dads whose “first child” is twins, I salute you!)

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That seems like a good note on which to end.  Onward and upward, friends!  May you always be moving in the direction of your heart’s desires.