Monday, January 23, 2012

30 Days Until I'm 30

I turn 30 on February 23rd. That is 30 days from tomorrow if my calculations are correct. I am in the final month of my 20's and I wouldn't mind leaving this decade of life on a high note.

I entered my 20's as a brand new bride. I was a sophomore in college and married for just over two months when I said good-bye to my teens. Since then I have gotten my degree, lived in 5 homes, driven 8 different cars, been to Disneyland 6 times, had 7 different jobs (well, kind of anyway...), and become debt free except for the house. I have had three babies. One was born in my heart, one was born of my womb and one was born into Heaven. We have opened our home to 11 foster kids and I have kept up on 2 blogs documenting these aforementioned journeys through life.

It's been a whirlwind decade. And these are just the brief highlights!

But, whether I like it or not, I'm about to say goodbye to this season of life. I have more than a few extra pounds, a rapidly increasing number of gray hairs and a new-found set of wrinkles to help me usher in my 30's. Ready or not, here they come!

My 29th year has been a rough one for me. It will be difficult for me to say goodbye to my 20's but I won't think twice about saying goodbye to 29. I am more than happy to put this year behind me.

I entered the final year of my 20's with a deep hope that we would either be, or be on our way to being, a family of 5 by the time this decade of my life came to a close. I never could have imagined when I started this year that we would indeed become a family of 5, but that we will never know our newest family member this side of Heaven.

Somewhere along the timeline of this year I went from being hopeful to conceive, to nearly obsessive about wanting another child, to grateful for the life growing inside my womb, to apprehensive about the health of the baby, to devastated at the news that our baby wasn't growing, to traumatized by the process of miscarrying this child I'd prayed so long for, to being hurt by the fact that so many important people around me didn't seem to notice or acknowledge the pain I was feeling. I know that's a terrible run on sentence, but you get the drift.

And in the process of all of this I have admittedly became very self absorbed. I am usually a giver. This year I've had nothing to give. I've been in survival mode. I have been giving all that I can muster just to get through daily life with some semblance of normalcy. I've been mentally, emotionally, spiritually and at some points even physically drained. I have stopped putting effort into non-essential areas of life, including some relationships that have hurt to let go of. However, giving to others brings joy to my heart. So I feel like being unable to muster the energy to give to others has further robbed me of my ability to have a joyful heart amidst trying circumstances.

I don't want my 30th year to be a repeat of my 29th. Don't get me wrong, I still very much want to have a baby. But I don't want my desire for something that I can't control to define my life. I know I need to get to a point where I can move forward, enjoy life and once again be a contributing member of society regardless of whether or not God chooses to bless or family with another child. Children are a blessing, not a right. I need to be emotionally present for the family that I have, not emotionally caught up in the family that I want.

Anyway, all that to say, as I turn the corner into this new decade I want to do so with a heart of gratitude. I won't cultivate a heart of gratitude looking for others to fulfill my needs and wants, or looking for someone else to change my circumstances. I will only be disappointed when it doesn't happen. Instead, if I look for opportunities to fill others needs and wants, it stands to reason that joy and gratitude will naturally follow. Right?

So, in an attempt to cultivate a grateful heart I would like to embark on an adventure to do 30 intentional random acts of kindness over the next 30 days. It's a little experiment, if you will. I don't know what effect I'm expecting to have, but I'm pretty sure it will at least be a good distraction from this self-absorbed state of being I've found myself in over this past year.

So, this is where I need your help and input. I have a couple of questions for my faithful readers.

1.) Do you have any ideas for random acts of kindness I can plan in advance? I've got the random part down, but planning isn't my strong point. I'm open to suggestions. I need 30 and I can only think of about 10 off of the top of my head. Please note, I don't have a lot of money to give toward this project, so the ideas should be free or frugal in nature.

2.) Should I blog about it? I struggle with this one because the Bible instructs us to give in such a way that our right hand doesn't know what our left hand is doing. However, I love to give, and part of what I can give to others is ideas of how to be more joyful and giving themselves. In fact, this whole scheme I've worked up this morning is inspired in part by this blogger. She's already inspired numerous people to  engage in random acts of kindness. I would love to part of that momentum, but is it possible to do in such a way as to draw attention to the acts themselves instead of the person engaging in the acts? See my dilemma?


SaraJane G Campbell said...

I love this idea! And by the way, an early welcome to your 30's where I have been for quite a while :-) Glad you could join me.

I have some ideas
-Pay for a drink for the person behind you in the drive up line at starbucks or wherever you go.
-Take a part of a meal you prepare for your family and put a serving into a container and give it to a homeless person on the street.
-Send an anonymous note to someone who might need it.
-Write out scriptures and randomly give them to people.
-Clean someone's car window at a gas station
-Ask the school if there is a kid who is VERY in need and give them a bag of groceries, books etc

There are lots of books on this subject that you can get ideas from as well.

Love you friend! Maybe I will join you on this act

becca banana said...

SaraJane has some awesome ideas!!

1) my ideas:
- socks & granola bars in your car to hand a homeless person (recently I heard this was a major request and welcomed openly by those in need!)
- double a few meals (or scones or muffins) and take to someone who had a baby or surgery
- have the kids make something for all your neighbors, like a cute valentine with cookies or candy

2) I love to see what busy moms are able to accomplish and would love to read about how you made a difference. Don't be shy or second-guess yourself!!!

Jennifer said...

I personally would love to hear about what you did, you don't have to tell who you sent it to, but what you did! It would be a huge encouragment to others, I think. Could you post some of the ideas, so I may pick from them? :) I love to give as well, and it hurts my heart that we are so strapped that I can't give in the way I want to. I have always been telling myself "When Dieter is done with school, then I can give more," but perhaps there will be ideas to help me NOW.

becca banana said...

I checked out the link you referenced... holy cow, what an incredible inspiration!!! I certainly couldn't pull off a lot of those things with a newborn but I love the way her kids were involved and the variety of people they were able to thank and show kindness to!

Sy-Rena-T said...

All day, I've been privately praying about what I should do with my last 30 days before I turn 30. Your post was so transparent and comforting that I've decided to keep the trend going. I'll be doing 30 acts of random kindness too! My husband and I have struggled to conceive for 5 years, & it's easy for me to hyper-focus on that around the holidays. Thank you for reminding me to concentrate on what really matters: making a difference! :) Blessings!