Today is my birthday. Growing up in an understated birthday-type family, I’m not one to insist everyone make a big deal about my turning 36, but since I wrote a letter to my kids on their birthdays, I thought I would do the same for myself. Then I remembered how much I hate referring to myself in the third person, even when I’m writing a quick bio, and I knew writing myself a letter would be the dumbest of the dumb.
I am going to indulge in a little navel gazing, though, because a birthday is a great time to do some self-reflection. Here is my Start/Stop/Continue evaluation of the past year.
I’m going to start taking more chances. Launching this blog was a huge emotional gamble, and it has been one of the most exciting things
I’ve ever done. It introduced me to some amazing people, I’ve been published in a best-selling book, and I now have paid writing jobs. Those successes make the biting comments from loved ones about “mommy bloggers” and how bored I must be to start a blog seem terribly unimportant. Sharing my writing in a public forum is deeply personal, but I can’t expect everyone to understand that, and I was as surprised as anyone when my feelings were hurt by flip comments. I was sure I would fail, everyone would know, and I would be humiliated. I now have a better understanding of risk vs reward, and know that some of the scariest things are the very best things. I will always be afraid of failure, but I
can’t let it stop me from trying.
I’m also going to start taking care of my health (again). Several years ago I successfully lost 20 pounds by exercising and calorie counting, but this year 10 of those pounds returned. I’d like to blame my blog for my blogger’s ass, but my love for carby late night snacks and my dislike of exercise are really the culprits. I am a better wife and mother when I am fit, and I owe it to my family and myself to be that person again.
I’m going to stop worrying about what people think of me. Not everyone likes me, and that’s okay. Some people think
I’m a bad mom because I laugh at my kids, but they are wrong, and their opinion has no bearing on me or my family. There are plenty of people who understand that I can love my kids fiercely but parent in a relaxed manner, and I will never stop talking about things that some folks find inappropriate. I have always been this way, as long as I am not hurting anyone, I will be me. With confidence.
I am also going to stop wondering when our time in Connecticut is up. My husband’s job is temporary, so I have spent the past five years planning our eventual move. This “short-timer syndrome” has affected so many things about my life. My friendships, the feelings
I’ve held about our current home, and the emotional investment I’ve put in our community are all painted with the brush of a girl whose heart is still in the Pacific Northwest. Our current town is great, and we have a great group of friends. I’m going to enjoy my time with them, and ignore the time clock that is winding down.
I’m going to continue having fun with my family. I’m going to continue writing, and looking to bloggers I admire for guidance. I’m going to go out with my girlfriends, I’m going to continue laughing at my kids, and as always, I’m going to pretend the fireworks on July 4th are in celebration of my birth.
If you are still looking for the perfect birthday gift, I have a short list.