Birthday, Reflection


Thoughts on Turning 33

I’ve apparently now gotten to the point where I have to start doing calculations from my birth year to make sure I’m telling people my correct age (and I’m not the only one—until I wrote it on his birthday card earlier this week, Matt genuinely thought he was turning 32 rather than 33 this year, too).

The fact is, with our last milestone birthday behind us by three years and our next one not until 40, it gets easy to just forget exactly where we’re at in that general middle ground between the two.

The past couple years, I’ve been setting some intentions for myself on my birthday—things I’d like to generally like to work on over the course of the next year. In true Torrie style, the lists were usually always a bit on the lengthy side.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m now 6 months pregnant and tired, or if it’s just me growing up, but I feel like I’ve mellowed out a lot lately. While I’ll never stop setting goals, I also have been able to really let a lot of expectations for myself go, which has been freeing.

So, this year, I only really have one intention:

Keep an open heart.

A year and a half ago, I read a little gem of a book (aff link) that totally changed my perspective on my interactions with other people. Rather than endlessly adding “service” items to my never-ending to-do list, I simply tried what the book suggested whenever I interacted with others, and that was try to keep my heart open. (I actually wrote a whole post about the book and my initial experiences with my open-heart experiment, which you can find here.)

Then, since I got hit with some pretty intense anxiety flare-ups earlier this year (which we figured out were due to some metabolic inefficiencies and nutritional deficiencies, weirdly enough), I found myself going into survival mode. Even once I went on some medication and supplements to level out the problem and even once I started feeling basically totally normal again, I still felt like I’ve been in that survival mode for a long time—keeping to myself, not actively seeking to build up new friendships, staying pretty reserved whenever I made small talk with anyone.

But I’m done with survival mode. This last year has been particularly brutal in a lot of ways, but lately, I’m starting to see the strength and fortitude that were being forged out of the disappointments and the challenges.

And I’m ready to start looking outward again.

So that’s it, really—keep an open heart. Invite more people over. Strengthen our relationships with our neighbors. Visit with our families more. Find ways to serve regularly. Be generous.

And the best part is, when I asked Matt what HIS intentions were for this next year?

They matched mine exactly.

So that’s where 33 is looking to take us—into a renewed sense of focus on looking outside of ourselves. We’ve already tried to get a headstart lately, and it’s been wonderful—freeing, really, to get outside of our own little circle of troubles and challenges and daily struggles.

Here’s to a good year ahead, whatever it brings!

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