In short, Year 30 provided me with opportunities to learn more about myself, my marriage, and my child.
Last October, I shared a 40 by 40 list of things I hoped to accomplish over the next decade. I think I’m off to a pretty decent start. For a reminder of the level breakdown of my list, click here. True to my word — I’ve knocked several things off my list. I thought I’d give an update, in part, to keep myself accountable. Here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve marked off my list this year:
Find and regularly participate in a local nonprofit cause/organization (Level 1)
This year I found and became involved with an organization called Moms Demand Action. I’ve shared their mission before on the blog and discussed why they are so important to me. In light of the gun violence that occurred in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I believe their mission is even more critical. They are not looking to take guns away from responsible gun owners. Hell, I am a responsible gun owner. They are however, looking for ways to make gun ownership more responsible, ways to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, AND ways to ensure that guns do not fall into the hands of children. Did you know that gun accidents kill at least one child every other day in our country? My newsfeed this year has been flooded, absolutely flooded, with stories about children shooting and sometimes killing, themselves or others after getting their hands on an unsecured weapon. And yet, I still constantly see pictures of unsecured gun posted online as well — even from people who have young children in the house. Moms Demand Action have created the BeSmart initiative (you can find out more about it here) which aims to promote responsible gun storage. Moms Demand Action chapters, like the one here in Arkansas, hand out FREE gun locks in hopes of lowering the number of senseless gun deaths. Free.
I am so happy that I have worked with this amazing group of women this year. I will admit that work and life have been crazy recently and I have not participated as regularly as I would like. However, I am proud to be associated with Moms Demand Action and I am looking forward to continuing my work with them in the coming weeks, months, and years. Moms Demand Action will not stop until sanity surrounding guns and gun violence has been restored in our country.
Have a romantic in-state weekend getaway with just Adam (Level III)
Back on September 7th, Adam and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We decided it was finally time to take our first vacation since our honeymoon. We dropped the kiddo off with Grandma and Grandpa (for the first time ever) and drove about an hour up the road to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It was an amazing getaway — especially considering it was our first getaway post-Holland. We were far enough way that I felt I could let loose and have some fun. But, we were close enough that I felt relaxed knowing that I could get back to Holland super fast if need be. Turns out, I didn’t need to — she was in GREAT hands with her grandparents and had a splendid time without us. And we had a great time too. We ate amazing vegetarian food, we indulged in late nights and lots of wine, which in turn, led to sleeping in and taking our mornings slow and easy. We saw some sights and visited way too many quaint shops. All in all, it was a wonderful and romantic in-state getaway for us both.
Visit a fortune teller or psychic (Level II)
Speaking of that Eureka Springs trip, I saw a psychic there! I went to a place called Mystic Moon and had a Shustah Card reading. I had never heard of Shustah Cards before but apparently they are divination and mediation cards and are used to obtain wisdom and guidance from one’s spirit guides. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t believe in psychics at all, but this lady probably was not the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, she was extremely nice but I definitely got a sense that she was relying heavily on the Barnum effect. She kept mentioning how I juggle a lot of things and do not take time for myself. But honestly, I think those things apply to nearly 90% of moms. Hell, that probably just applies to 90% of people. Anyways, I tried to get somewhat more specific with her as a test. I told her that there was a big decision in my near-ish future and that it could go one of two ways. I asked her to tell me the pros and cons of each way. I was thinking of something specific. In short, she kind of failed the test. She basically told me that both ways were okay but one would involve more short term stress and one would involve more long term stress — so yeah, super general. But she kept switching up the two ways and then again, continued to rely on very vague and general statements instead of addressing anything I was specifically thinking about in that moment. If she was indeed talking to my spirit guides through the cards, then my spirit guides aren’t paying close attention to my life. Still, it was all in good fun and I was able to mark an item off my list so for me, it was $40 well spent.
Become a regular financial contributor to a worthy cause (Level III)
Shortly after the election last November, Adam and I decided it was time that we start putting our money where our mouths were. Of course, we had always made occasionally donations but we had never really become regular contributors anywhere particular. We took a chunk of our budget each month and divided it up between some organizations that we felt particularly drawn to following the election results. For us, those were: 1) the American Civil Liberties Union; 2) Planned Parenthood; 3) National Public Radio; 4) Public Broadcasting Service; 5) Earth Justice; 6) the International Rescue Committee; 7) Save the Children; and 8) Moms Demand Action. To be honest, it still isn’t as much as I’d like to do. A couple of these organizations receive as little as $15 a month from our family. But it is regular and it is a good start. Through this process, I’ve learned that you do not have to have a ton of extra cash to make a difference financially to worthy organizations. You merely need to set aside what you can and take the step of making it official by visiting the website and setting up the draft. It’s definitely worth it!
So there it is — some highlights of Year 30 in a nutshell. It’s been a good year. It’s been a fun year. And I am incredibly excited about what Year 31 holds for me and for my little family.
Happy Birthday to me.