A New Year, A New Decade
Updated: Feb 16, 2020
2020 is just around the corner, and it seems appropriate to reflect on both the past year and the past decade before the ball drops and a new decade starts. Ten years. A lot of life happens in ten years.
In December of 2009, I was a year and a half out of college. I was working in the office of the summer camp where I spent all my summers, and I was single.
Since then, I’ve gotten married, gained a stepchild, had three babies of my own. I’ve experienced loss, most significantly, that of my dad. I’ve worked in teen programming, customer service, and run a church preschool. I’ve had my own little Etsy shop, and for the last year, I’ve been a stay at home mom. I’ve lived with a roommate, in an apartment by myself, and three different houses with my family. My oldest child has started kindergarten.
I’ve learned how to be an adult, how to pay bills and meal plan and maintain a home. I’ve flirted with the idea of minimalism, but have yet to fully commit. I entered my thirties, and like I've heard so many say, have started to care less about what others think and more about who I am and who I want to be. I’ve learned to put down the badge of busy and rest. I've figured out what brings me joy, and that those things are always worth making space for.
I’ve realized that many of the things of my childhood self are things that still ring true about me today. Most likely place to find childhood me? Nose in a book or at the library. Still the case. Childhood me had a dream of being a writer. This year, I found myself dreaming of writing, and so I started to write. As a child, I was drawn to taking care of younger kids, starting babysitting as early as I could. Now one of my greatest joys is in being a mother.
The 2010’s have been quite a decade for me. I rang 2010 in at a bar downtown with friends, staying out well past midnight, sleeping in on New Year's Day, my responsibilities limited to showing up to work on time and paying my bills. I'll ring 2020 in early with my family, and possibly be awake at midnight to watch the ball drop, but I'll definitely be in my pajamas. My responsibilities will wake up at the same time in the morning, no matter what time I go to bed.
If I could tell my 2009 self anything? It would be that life won't play out exactly how I imagined, but the best is yet to come. Joy and sorrow will often come on the heels of each other--experience them as they come, and try not to worry about what comes next.
2019 has been a year of slowing down and really figuring out how to make space for the things I value the most.
After the birth of my third child in December of 2018, I made a scary post-delivery hospital return due to post-partum pre-eclampsia, and that experience, combined with leaving the working world to become a stay at home mom, really inspired me to lean into rest.
I discovered 1000 Hours Outside and was inspired to spend more time outside with my kids. I didn’t do a great job tracking, and I know we didn’t get to 1000, but we did make outside time more of a priority, and it was wonderful. We spent hours and hours at the pool this summer, and have enjoyed exploring nearby parks and nature preserves. I’m setting my sights on 1000 hours for 2020--our tracker sheet is printed and ready to go!
I decided to be more intentional about finding community and joined a MOPS group, which I have loved.
I felt the urge to start writing and decided to join Exhale Creativity (led by the Coffee + Crumbs team) to give me some community and accountability around writing. It’s been a great experience and I was excited to have some of my writing shared on the Coffee + Crumbs Instagram (here and here).
After close to eight years of running an Etsy shop off and on, I decided it was time to close up shop to make space for other things in my life.
I’ve watched my last baby go from a tiny newborn to a crawling, dancing, singing, moving one year old. I’ve driven my middle child to and from speech and physical therapy, helping him catch up to his peers and watching him make amazing progress with an incredible attitude about it. I agonized over finding the perfect elementary school for my oldest and sent him off to kindergarten. I spent last spring in a sweet spot, on the precipice of change, wanting to freeze time.
This year, I’ve spent my time in a lot of ways that seem mundane. I’ve spent hours waiting in the carpool line (which, I actually love because it builds reading time into my day), hours driving my kids to and from the pool. Laundry, dishes, carpool, library trips, packing lunches, and pushing kids on the swings. In it all, I’ve been able to find little moments of everyday magic and I think this is the year that I’ve spent my time the most wisely of all.
A few years ago, I jumped on board the word of the year train. The past few years have been versions of simplify and intentional, and those are both things I want to continue to focus on, but with a new year and new decade ahead, I needed a new word. So as we head into 2020, my word for the year is invest.
Invest: devote (one's time, effort, or energy) to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.
The ways I choose to spend my time and resources are an investment. I want that investment to have a worthwhile result. I want to invest in my marriage, because it is the foundation of my family. I want to invest in my children, creating a childhood that will have a worthwhile result. A childhood filled with time exploring nature, more books than screens, more memories than stuff, and filled with wonder. I want to invest in my home, spending the time to make it a place that welcomes both my family and invites others in. I want to invest in myself, making time in the Word a priority, along with time to read, write, and create, time to rest and prioritize my health, things that are all too easy to push to the back burner with the demands of young children. I want to invest wisely, focusing on the long term results instead of instant gratification.