Holy. I'm 31! When I was fourteen, 31 was absolutely ANCIENT. Luckily, now that I'm here, I can say it's really not. Although, I did do a 5 km run yesterday that just completely wiped me out by 9 pm. (And when I say yesterday, I really mean last thursday because that's when I started writing this post... because let's be honest, with a 3-month old baby one does not simply sit down and and tackle this in one sitting.)
So far, 31 looks a lot different then 28, 29 and even 30. And to be honest, I can't believe how fast these years have gone by. I feel like it was just yesterday that Mike and I moved in together and I started writing this blog because I wanted to separate my "work life" from the stuff I did on the side. When I started the 9-5 it was important to me to intentionally keep track of non-work activities and thoughts because it seemed like the well oiled machine of the work week put a blanket over "really living." Now of course, it's all blending together; there's no work life, there's no "DIY time or writing time" it's just, life. Right now life is a mess of day to day activities, and I've realized that even if I'm not documenting it, it's still "really living."
But that being said, living with intention is so important. And I think that's why I'm really excited for this year. I'm excited to grow into my role as a mother more. I'm excited that I've stepped away from the judicatory I was on before I left on maternity leave. I've heard it before from other people but I know now what they meant by "you'll evaluate your priorities when you become a mother." I'm looking at my time differently and how I want to invest my energy (when I have free time and energy to spare that is). So I'm trying my hardest to be intentional - to not spread myself so thin and to take into consideration what it is really that's important to me and to my family and to my role as a mother.
I'm not at a point where I can tell you specifically a list of items I want to accomplish over the next year, but I can tell you what I want 31 and the years that follow, to look like.
1. Family - I have specific goals for our family. For the way I want us to get along, to support one another and to lift each other up. I think that's why I've made this list up in the first place; all the ways I lead my life will affect my family, which is why I feel so strongly that I need to know where my priorities lie.
2. Fitness - I've dreamed of specific fitness goals since I was a little girl and I've done a pretty good job in the past of reaching them. I'm proud of the personal bests I've reached in the half-marathon and I would like to keep these benchmarks and add others like daily yoga practice and reach further with races. I believe that fitness is so strongly tied to health and well-being and I'm super excited to announce that I'm a now Fitfluential Ambassador. I'll be writing more about this in the future but for now you can click on the button on the side for more information.
3. Food - Some of my earliest memories are of toddling along the garden rows, following after my babysitter as she pulled enough potatoes and vegetables for their winter cellar. Food doesn't have to be idealistic - it's easier then we think to maintain a positive relationship with where our food comes from and how we work for it. You just have to want to be involved in the process. I believe in the benefit of watching our food grow and in gathering our food ourselves. This is something I want to pass along to June and any other children that come into the Kelly family and I'm so excited to get started with our garden plot were next summer (I will probably be frothing at the mouth by the time next spring comes around.)
4. The environment - I can't capture exactly how much stuff you realize you have, that you don't need, after you have a child. Mike and I spent the better part of the past year purging our house of excess, mostly motivated by my intense desire to nest when I was pregnant with June. It hasn't really gone away and I'm on a mission to continue to cut back on the amount of things we buy and bring into our home. In my mind, consumption is one of the biggest problems we have in terms of environmental degradation - on top of the fact that I want June to believe that people are more important than things. I also don't want to be "owned" by our possessions any more then we already are. So I'm making an Ernest effort to buy used where possible - there are so many amazing resale groups for our neighbourhood and for children's items on Facebook, and I've been watching all summer thinking, it's more fun to go on the hunt for something anyway.
5. Creativity - I can't really pick between my creative outlets; and I've turned at one point to either writing, design or photography to feel fulfilled from a days work. Since none of those categories make me money (and I'm not sure I want them to) I'm going to continue to blend them together here on my blog.
6. Community - Maybe it's because I'm a transplant in Ottawa but seeking out a community and becoming an active member of one it really important to me. It doesn't take 31 years to realize that you get more out of a place, the more you put into it, and so I'm on a mission to find my place in this city that I've been calling home!
7. Integrity- I've always been a bit of a passionate red-head sort... And it's been known to backfire on me in more then one occasion. But it hasn't stopped me from speaking out when I feel the burning desire to be heard. Like so many people, I was affected very strongly by the images of little Syrian boy on the beach last week. I've been feeling convicted about the conflict in Syria since I've spent the past 7 years off and on working in humanitarian affairs with our government. When you work for the government you tend to censor yourself if issues become political. Whether it's this issue or another, I want June to know that she can stand-up and speak for people when she feels compelled to, even if it's political to do so. And I realized she's going to be watching me and learning from me, in all aspects, but particularly in how she views the world. I don't want her voice or beliefs to be narrowed by what she's afraid other people might think.
So those are my seven line items that I've been toying over tirelessly when I'm holding my sleeping baby, dreaming of what I want for our lives together. In most ways they've always been those things that I've been striving for, but I think because 31 comes with new responsibility, I feel so much more compelled to make it happen for us.
I'm motivated by this proverb which, of course not surprisingly, is Proverbs 31:
"Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates."