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?