and ramblings on everything in between
As time goes by, we seem to focus on our short comings and regrets more than the things we’ve accomplished or gotten right, things we should have gotten around to, things we should have embraced when we had the chance. In honor of my 30th birthday (!!) tomorrow, I’ve compiled my un-wish list, if you will, with 30 things I won’t wish I had done with my life. I’m praising God for all the things I have had plenty of (or not plenty of by choice). Things that make life just a little sweeter every day.
In no particular order, I won’t wish I had:
1) Taken more walks.
My mother is a walker and I can remember being very young when I first started going for walks with her. We lived in the country and sometimes we would stay on the gravel path, sometimes we’d snake through the woods behind our neighbors house, or march through a cornfield to the pond. I remember talking with her about what was going on in my life. About simple things. We didn’t solve life’s epic dilemmas during those walks together. We laughed and smiled and cheered on the aging dogs that were trailing behind us. It is a peaceful time together that I we still take part in to this day. I love the feeling of taking deep breaths of fresh air, of watching birds chase each other home in the evening sunlight, of smiling and waving at those I pass. I hope long evening walks are a thing in Heaven.
2) Danced as if no one was looking.
Need a partner to dance like a fool with you at a wedding reception? I’m your girl. If you’ve spent any time with me at a wedding reception, you know I make no apologies for the random movements and jerks that arise from this body. I love to move and dance and I don’t care who’s watching. When given the chance to bust a move, I rarely turn it down. Shake-shake-shake-shake-shake it!
3) Ran a marathon.
Running sucks and I hate it with a passion. And during my stint of online dating, I discovered that all single men between the ages of 25-35 run marathons. Bleck! I’m over it already without even attempting to train for one. If you’re a runner, I’ll gladly smile and wave at you the next time we cross paths on the sidewalk.
4) Found more reasons to laugh.
5) Held a newborn baby.
6) Written more letters that required a stamp.
My friend Dedert and I are singlehandedly trying to keep the post office afloat. We need some help people! Find a piece of stationary (Yes, they still make it!), a pen, and an envelope and surprise someone this week. Maybe the post office will get the greatest joy out of seeing you.
7) Saved for three years so my mother could mark Grand Cayman off her bucket list.
8) Written a novel.
I feel like I can finally call myself a writer and mean it. Them: “So what do you do?” Me: “I’m a writer.” Them: “Oh, yeah? What do you write?” Me: “Oh, you know…novels.” Silence.
9) Been brave enough to make a cross-country move.
10) Learned how to like working out.
11) Known how it felt to love the greatest nephew in the world (Yes, I’m pretty partial).
12) Realized how much Jesus loves me.
13) Read more books.
14) Learned how to cook.
15) Not talked myself out of going to my 10 year high school reunion because I didn’t want to walk in alone.
There were lots of excuses not to go, but I knew this excuse would be the one that forced me not to do it, and it would also be the one that I would regret the most five years down the line. How self-centered of me to think my single-dom should keep me from spending an evening with 30 used-to-be close friends. I held my head high and walked in with grace. And I’m so glad I did it.
16) Taken the time to realize how much I love working with students.
17) Studied what I loved in college instead of what would make me money.
If memory serves me right, my first real road trip was at the age of 17. I traveled to Nashville with three high school friends for a Dave Matthew’s Band concert. The only reason my parents agreed to this was because one of my friend’s parents followed behind us in a separate car. The four of us got to be obnoxious teenagers on their first road trip…but under close parental supervision from two car links back. Win win. Since that time, the road has taken me to Michigan, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, Texas, and every state in New England.
19) Hiked the Grand Canyon.
20) Not been scared to do things on my own.
I still remember the first time I went to see a movie by myself. Into the Wild, and I remember having to fight back tears because I didn’t want to be the girl who was sitting by herself and sobbing. The shame! These days I find myself going lots of places solo without even flinching.
21) Started a blog.
22) Learned how to garden.
23) Spent time praying for others.
24) Challenged myself more.
I’m a girl who loves a deadline so if you give me a challenge and 30 days to finish it, I can usually pass with flying colors. I gave up meat for a month (and then became a vegetarian because I never missed it). I spent zero extra dollars one month just to see how much money I could put into my savings account. I wrote a novel in a month. I called a different friend every day for a month (and I HATE talking on the phone so that one was extremely painful for me). What should my next month challenge be?
25) Smiled at strangers.
26) Learned how to stick to a budget.
27) Dreamed more.
28) Spent a few summers at kamp.
29) Taken the time to encourage others.
30) Enjoyed celebrating my birthdays.
The joy of celebrating a birthday might eventually pass me by, but 30 isn’t stopping it so maybe nothing will. I love looking back at what the year brought and felling hopeful for the year to come. It’s another year to laugh and love and dance and work and cherish. And that is always worth celebrating, no matter how many candles are on the cake.
My early 20s taught me that life often looks different than we think it will. My mid 20s showed what I was made of as I gave up everything to chase a dream. And my late 20s revealed to me that nothing, nothing, nothing in this world is greater than the unconditional love of Jesus. Now it’s onto my 30s, where I hope to never hold back or look back.