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Year 32

Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. Truthfully, I used to celebrate my entire birth month but then #LittleLadyHolland came along on October 14th and I had to reevaluate that a bit. Since her birth, the month of October has understandably been about her and I’m 100% okay with that for super obvious reasons. But the kid inside of me still loves a good birthday celebration even if my birthday is a bit of an afterthought now.This year feels different though. Perhaps it is because my 32nd year on Earth was my hardest yet. I honestly went into my 32nd year feeling more hopeful than ever. In Year 31 I had visited France. I was more plugged into my community. My job and my family seemed better than ever before. I felt like life was more than good; it was amazing. And as I continually saw glimpses of what the future held for me and my family, I became more and more excited to see how the next year would unfold.But I never saw it unfolding like it did. I’m still in the throws of it all. I have good days and bad days. More accurately, I have good hours and bad hours. And while I cannot share too much, I can now say with confidence that on October 18, 2018,  I only saw half of the picture. Waking up to the reality of the other half has been hard, but easy things don’t refine you. I’m overdue for some refinement.

As always, let’s revisit my 40 by 40 list of things I hoped to accomplish this decade. Here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve marked off my list in Year 32:

Write a letter to myself that I can read at 50 (Level 1)

I just did this yesterday. I was looking over my list and becoming a little disheartened that I hadn’t truly accomplished as much as I wanted to in the past year and I thought — I should do this one. You see, I had been putting this one off. Even though I initially put it down as a Level 1 accomplishment, and therefore, an easy one, I’d discovered over the past couple of years that it was, in fact, harder than I thought. I’d started it a few times but always gave up on it. I kept thinking that I needed life to be “set” before I could write it. I needed to know where I would land — I needed to be able to point to something concrete so that future Kate use it as a guidepost back to harmony in the event she’d strayed. With that sort of pressure, it was hard to get anything out of my head and onto paper because life, of course, is chaos and we are never truly “set”. But yesterday morning, as I settled down at my desk, ready to embark on a day of work, I suddenly realized that I couldn’t think of a better time in my life to write this letter. Yes, life is full of ups and downs right now. It is far from set. But maybe that’s what I need to remember. I need to remember that somethings never change and thankfully, others are always in flux. So I wrote myself that letter — it’s four pages. When finished, I sat down and read it aloud to myself in front of some photos of me and Holland while sipping hot tea. It was a moment I hope not to forget and one that, in seventeen years, I hope I can vividly recall as I open my letter for the first time.

Go zip lining (Level 2)

In June we went to Colorado for a family reunion of sorts. While I’d flown through and over Colorado many times, I’d never actually visited the state itself. It is such a beautiful state. Don’t get me wrong — I think I’m still likely pick a beach over a mountain a majority of the time, but I gained a new appreciation for the mountains on that trip. Much like the beach, I found that they have a humbling beauty to them that in person, make you feel as if you are both terribly important and supremely insignificant. One day during the trip, we visited the Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge is a canyon, very fittingly, of the Arkansas River located west of Canon City, Colorado. My generous grandparents-in-law offered to pay for me to zip-line over the gorge so I took them up on the offer. At 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge zip line is the highest zip line in America! It was amazingly fun and the only downside is that the ride itself was fairly short overall. It was fantastic though and I truly hope it isn’t my last zip-lining experience!

Take a girls only vacation (Level 3)

In July, my best friend Alex, accompanied Holland and me on a tip to Santa Barbara, California. Though it was not originally scheduled as a girls only vacation, unforeseen events turned it into one and honestly, it was amazing. I shared details pretty liberally on Instagram at the time including the first time Holland’s tiny toes touched ocean water (a moment this beach-loving mama will never forget). So many moments from that trip have already morphed into fond memories that I often recall when life feels hard. While I sincerely hope it is not the last “girls only” vacation in my 30’s (I already tentatively have a few others in the works) it is one that I am supremely thankful for and already cherish!

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In additional to officially crossing the above items off my list, there are a few “Honorable Mentions” this year. This last year really pushed me out of my comfort zone and while I could technically cross some of the following off my list, I’m not going to quite yet because I think there is more to come in these areas. So let’s quickly visit a few honorable mentions:

Attend service at a house of worship of a religion I am not familiar with 

Earlier this year I felt a calling to find a church family. I know how that sounds — especially if you aren’t religious or spiritual but it’s true. Years ago I had given up on ever finding a church that encompassed and lived out the Gospel as I interpreted it. For years I had kept that side of my life private — reading Rachel Held Evans‘ blog and Twitter feed and feeling, mostly content, with the community it offered. But then, as you probably know, RHE tragically passed away. For someone who did not personally know her, I was shocked as just how crushed I was to lose her. But underneath the sorrow, there was a small voice. I heard it every time I checked #BecauseofRHE for new messages of lament. I slowly realized that there was a whole community out there who read the Gospel as I did and I realized that maybe, just maybe, I could find a church community that did too. Each time I pressed this thought down in my mind, it would arise again. Finally, I relented and put a list together of churches that I’d be open to visiting. On my second such visit, I hit the jackpot. I found my way into a local Episcopal church, and while it was supremely different from any “church” experience I’ve ever had in the past, I fell in love with it. With the people, with the traditions and customs, with stained glass and the choir. While parts of it still feel foreign to me, I am really enjoying learning more about it and settling in. I also love that Holland talks about going to church with enthusiasm and that we often find ourselves having somewhat theological chats before bed or at dinner. While I still plan on attending service at a house of worship that is not Christian, I feel like my foray into the Episcopal church this year is noteworthy and is a first step on a much needed path.

Put a wild color streak(s) in my hair (even if temporary)

I’m not sure if it totally counts as “wild” but earlier this year I broke my nearly decade long “no-color” streak and went ombre with my hair. At first, the ends were a bit amber in color but over time, I’ve lightened them even more. In person, the tips of my hair are definitely blonde and that’s a color that, for this brunette, is at least somewhat wild. I do however, still plan on incorporating a truly wild color in my hair, at least temporarily, in the future so I’m not going to cross this one off the list quite yet.

Get a Holland related tattoo

While I do not yet have my Holland related tattoo, I have figured out what that tattoo is going to be and have already set a date (plus paid a deposit) for it. Not spilling the beans yet, but let’s just say, this is one that I’m definitely crossing off the list in Year 33.

Go Scuba Diving

Speaking of things I plan to cross off the list soon, an opportunity has hit my radar where I might, just might, get to go on a week-long scuba diving trip in 2020. A lot of things would have to fall into place for me in order to make it happen, including me being able to find the finances to pull it off (at the moment, that particular piece seems the most challenging). Nonetheless, I’m excited about the prospect so I’m going to put this out into the universe and hope it can all come together! Wish me luck.

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The more I think about it, technically speaking, today is not the end of my 32nd year (that was yesterday). Today, I turn 33 so it’s really the beginning of my 33rd year. I like that framing better. In the midst of so many endings, I like the idea of beginning anew. Sometimes we need to rest and to re-evaluate the lives we lead before we set off on new travels. This post today has helped me do that – I’ve been blessed before, I’m blessed now, and I’ll be blessed again. It’s time to start anew in a new year of a new life. Let’s go 33 — I’ve got big plans for you! 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Liz

    Kate,

    Apologies for the multiple comments. As I said, this is my first time to your blog. My instinct when I read the first blog post — your most recent — was to reach out because I recognize that you are going through a very hard time and I just want to try to reach out and help you. So, this is even more encouraging that you have found the Episcopal church (“Catholic Light.”) God bless the Episcopalians. Please just keep in mind that the Episcopal church does not believe in Transubstantiation, meaning, although they have priests and therefore celebrate the holy Eucharist (holy communion) they don’t believe that it is the “True Presence” of Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Meaning as if He is in the same room, truly there with us as if He is sitting in the room, and also truly in us when we receive holy communion. (I had a boyfriend who was Episcopalian and his father was a priest and I believe one of his brothers is now a bishop.) And in a pinch I have received holy communion at the Episcopal church, and you can even receive holy unction at a healing mass at the Episcopal church, which I have done and highly recommend. (This is reserved for the dying in the Catholic church, just out of practicality, although I have also received a blessing with holy oil (Chrism) from a Catholic priest in the past few years. If you have not availed yourself of this at your Episcopal church, holy communion, and a blessing with holy oil at a healing mass there, I strongly suggest you do.)

    Having said all this, the Episcopal church is still in schism with the Church that was established on earth by Jesus Christ through Saint Peter, the one true, holy, catholic (meaning universal), and apostolic church. And recently they have departed from the teachings of the Gospel and are promoting some heresies. So, again I am very relieved and thankful that you have gotten this much closer to Jesus and His holy Church (all baptized Christians are part of the Church, as there is only one baptism and one Christian Church on earth,) but I just want to point out that even the Episcopal church is in schism with the Church established by Jesus Christ. Stay with the Episcopalians until you find a Catholic church. Every Catholic church is a little bit different in “flavor” but the teachings, beliefs, the Mass, the Sacraments, are exactly the same. The resounding difference between the Episcopal church and the Catholic church is the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament (holy communion.) Please read John 6:25-59. This explains the Blessed Sacrament, the necessity of receiving holy communion on a regular basis, truly consecrated bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. I would invite you to go with me to my church today, but I don’t think we live in the same city. Catholic churches have at least one mass every day, so maybe you could even go to the regular mass at the Episcopal church you attend and then also find a 5 pm mass at a Catholic church. All Catholic churches feel holy because they are: Jesus is there in His holy temple (under the species of the consecrated bread in the tabernacle.) And when you receive holy communion in the Catholic church He is in you, and you become His holy temple as well.

    I also recommend the Word on Fire website of Bishop Robert Barron, although watching online videos is still not a substitute for actually going to church and receiving holy communion (or sitting in the Adoration chapel, or before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.)

    May God bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you, and may He give you peace.

    February 23, 2020 at 4:50 pm
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