It’s my BIRTHDAY today! I know you are just so excited for me. In all honesty, I can’t believe that I am turning 37 this year. I remember thinking how old that was when I was a youngster and now when I hear about people who are turning sixty, I’m like, “She’s so young! She’s got a lifetime ahead of her!”
It’s funny how perspective changes as we age.
I feel happier and more self-assured than I ever did in my twenties. How lovely to stop caring so much about what everyone thinks about you. How freeing to let things go a little easier. How refreshing to not feel like you have to keep up anymore because we are all just trying to play the game of life together. I hear that I have even more to look forward to as I get older.
Truly though, I don’t feel a day over 20. Unless it is past ten o’clock. Then I feel like the oldest person in the room and I think about my bed and how it needs me a lot. I guess in some ways, I do feel every bit my age.
Maybe it is just age that finally lets you say “uncle,” and not feel like the best things happen after ten.
In honor of my 37 years of life, here are 37 things that are making me happy!
1. Coffee and lots of it.
2. NPR every day. All day. I feel like I’m finally aware of world issues and it makes me feel passionately about things I thought I would never care about. I’m proud to be able to participate in conversations about those issues too. Well, unless the conversation is political. Then I shall let you have the floor and I will go get a drink while you share it.
3. Sponsoring our first child from World Vision and receiving her updates in the mail.
4. Siblings for friends. What a rarity in life to say that your best friends are your siblings. I try to never take it for granted.
5. Journaling with my husband. I look forward to his hilarious and heartfelt responses every morning.
6. Being a mom to two awesome kids. Nothing made me beam more this year than to hear from our teachers things like, “Your child…she/he is just GOOD PEOPLE.” Good people and being the one who raised ’em- that’s some happy stuff right there.
7. Volunteering and reading to my kids at school every week. I want everyone to be a reader and love books as much as me. Seeing kids struggle with that and then feeling the triumph of them discovering a love for books makes my heart unbelievably happy.
8. Real and true friendships. The lifelong kind. No BS and drama-drama-drama. I am thankful I have those kinds of friends.
9. Finding my dancing feet again. I hope I never lose them.
10. Saying no. A lot.
12. Making my little home into the kind of place that I can be proud of. 11 years ago I would have never dreamed of all that we could do in our 60’s fixer upper. I’m still dreaming.
13. Ditching the Facebook addiction and the happiness and peace that came from that decision.
14. Books, books and more books. The Sundays With Writers has been food for my book-loving soul and a dream come true for this reader. Reaching my reading goal of 50 books (and surpassing it) is something I am really proud I accomplished this year.
15. The absence of so much “stuff” in our home and the joy & peace that comes from clutter-free spaces. It’s always a work in progress and I’m trying to make a commitment to bring in only the stuff I really love.
16. My minimized wardrobe. Raise your hand if you didn’t think I could do it (raises a hand for her very own self). How lovely to wake up and know just what to wear. And to give to others all that I don’t need.
17. Getting my passport. The first step towards seeing the world with my best friend.
18. Finding two new sources for secondhand goodness for my closet. Consignment shopping from the comforts of my own home is quite lovely!
19. Finally have glasses confidence. Four eyes ARE better than one!
20. Friends finally coming to Netflix.
21. Learning to embrace and appreciate the beauty of a scarf to my slimmer wardrobe. The transformation is a delight.
22. Beauty products that keep a girl trucking along in her late thirties. I’d love to get a shout out to this BB cream, this skin cleanser, this at-home hair color, and this exfoliator for making me feel young and happy as I age.
23. ePantry, for not only helping me become a huge fan of so many new green products for the home and saving me trips to the grocery store, but even more for the fact that they made a HUGE donation with my affiliate credit to two amazing organizations in our town on my behalf. Blessing our local women & children shelter and our church’s food pantry for those in need was such a great way to pay it forward this year.
24. Having a fireplace in our home- what a treat this spot has become this year. Picture my husband with a pipe and smoking jacket, me with my knitting, and This American Life on the radio by our roaring faux fire.
25. My growing vinyl collection. There is just so much nostalgia in getting and playing records…especially the ones I loved as a kid.
26. Mastering the filet. It is the one life skill I wish I could gift everyone. Our date nights have gotten much more economical now that I know how to make the one thing I was always after when I went out.
27. Boxed wine. Thank you for your easy-to-pour spout after not-so-easy days.
28. Reading my favorite childhood books with my children. It’s been a Little House year with my daughter and rereading the words as an adult make me just as happy (if not happier) than when I read them as a child.
29. Having the pride of parents. My job is weird and hard to explain, yet they still try to share about it with everyone they know. What are we without our parents?
30. Giving, giving, giving- my heart, my time, my talents, my belongings, my funds. How lucky to be in a position that I can share?
31. The joy I feel when cooking for people I love- my happy place is definitely in the kitchen cooking and creating for them.
32. Seeing my daughter dance her first Nutcracker this year- it was truly magical.
33. Every moment that I get to be with this kid, knowing that these years with him are passing me by, far quicker than I would like.
34. The joy I feel every time I see my book at a store. I take a picture EVERY TIME.
35. Finally having red lipstick confidence.
36. Our little shelter cat who has become my third child. I am embracing the crazy cat lady that I never knew I was.
37. This corner of the internet. What a boring life I would lead without you. I am thankful for anyone who would take the time to read my words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!