32.

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Today I turned 32.

If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that my day (and mine and Matt’s birthday week in general) did not go exactly as we’d hoped.

But rather than talk about all that went laughably not-great this week, let’s talk about how now, at 32, I actually kinda sorta feel like I’m a legitimate adult now. Not because I think my age finally reflects that I am (because *obviously* that’s supposed to happen RIGHT when you turn 18), but because I feel like in many ways, I’ve finally learned to put my big girl pants on.

Oh, there’s still a LOT I need to work on.

But I think, at 32, I’m finally running out of excuses about things holding me back from changing to be who I should be and working on what I really want.

Last year on my birthday, I set some intentions for myself, and it’s something I want to repeat for this year.

So, going forward, here are a few of my intentions for the year ahead:

  • I want to take more deep breaths before jumping in and correcting or disciplining as a parent. This is an intention that was driven home hard last week with the sticker book incident, and it’s something that I’ve been made aware of that I need to work on. So, rather than going with my kneejerk reaction to correct first and ask questions later, my initial response needs to be to understand first and THEN to act accordingly.
  • I want to intentionally set aside more pockets of time for deep, meaningful work. This one is largely inspired by my current reading of Cal Newport’s fabulous book Deep Work, but it’s something I’ve been slowly growing aware of over the past several years. The fact is, I often seek out distractions when I should be pouring my focus into personal projects (like photography or writing), which detracts from the quality of my work and adds massive amounts of time to the job. Although I sometimes have very mixed feelings about turning two of my passions (blogging and taking pictures) into ways to make money, they are still both things I need to be consciously seeking to improve, whether or not I continue to make money from them. Lately as I’ve been editing photo sessions or writing up blog posts, I haven’t let myself open up any other browsers or do anything else to get distracted, and it’s made an enormous difference in the personal satisfaction I feel from doing the work. This is something I really want to pursue for the year ahead.
  • I want to more actively seek out ways to minister to others. I am sometimes a little too good at sticking to my own business and my own routine, but I know that many of my richest emotional experiences have happened when I have taken the time to minister to others thoughtfully (both in my little family and out of it).
  • I want to consciously take time regularly to connect with my loved ones. Matt and I have been much more thoughtful lately in how we’ve approached strengthening our marriage, and I’m amazed at the difference it’s made–we always had a great marriage I’ve felt, but lately I feel like my love for him has grown to greater depths and like we’ve been falling in love all over again. The same thing has happened with my kids since I’ve been quite a bit more conscious of making sure I spend meaningful time with each of them individually on a daily basis, too.
  • I want to more actively focus on the GREAT in the middle of the hard. There’s a lot of hard that comes with being the mother of small children, but I always notice a big difference in my mood and my feelings towards it all when I take time to be grateful and to be present and to just simply notice that there’s ALWAYS a lot of good mixed in even the hardest days.

There are a lot more things I want to work on (as always), but I think that this is a solid list to focus on for now. Here’s to another growth-filled year ahead!