Each year, I take the time to write a post about what I’ve learned and reflected on leading up to my birthday. This year should be fun because I have 30 spots to fill. 😉 Hang in there! (In no particular order as years previous!)
1. Anxiety sucks.
Okay, I already knew this, but hear me out. I’m currently (working on) facing one of my biggest fears. It is stretching me and maxing me out to levels that I didn’t think possible. This isn’t even the worst part. The worst part was realizing that once I face this anxiety head on—that there would just be a fresh new one creeping in slowly and then enveloping me in its chocking embrace. This realization was so defeating. Thankfully, #2 came along in the wise words of my therapist.
2. “If it is any comfort to you, You deal with one anxiety the same as you deal with the others.”
My therapist will never know how these words have been like a life preserver for me. I feel so much hope now. Here I was thinking that I would have to learn new coping skills per anxiety. It was crushing me. Even with God on my side, I still felt so overwhelmed. Just having this head to heart knowledge…It has been a game changer for me. I’m excited for my future. I’m excited for my NOW!
3. Chronic Illness is incredibly isolating.
I never realized how isolating it was to deal with a chronic illness until I was diagnosed with one myself. February was a month of change for me. I finally had a diagnosis. INTERSTITIAL CYSTITIS. I thought knowing would give me comfort and it did a little. It helped me to know that I wasn’t crazy. There was something very wrong. Unfortunately, most people do not understand chronic illnesses. They have expectations that are far too high for me to reach at this point in my life. I’m learning that most people mean well, but they just won’t fully understand and that’s a good thing. Chronic illness is not something that you would want to wish on others. I have joined support groups online, I’m going to therapy, and I have family and friends that I can lean on in the hard times. A support system is vital.
4. You can give up things that you once loved if it means that you won’t have to endure excruciating pain.
I loved coffee. I loved lemonade and anything lemon. I loved tacos. I loved marinara sauce. I loved an occasional glass of wine. What do all of these things have in common? These are things that I can no longer consume due to IC. At one point in my life, I thought I couldn’t live without coffee. BUT I sooooo can. You can do a lot of things when you don’t have a choice.
5. Real friends are there. They may not text/call you every day, but they are there.
The truth is that you can probably count your real friends on one hand. It’s a small, select group of people. It gets easier each year to discern the real friendships from the not-so-real.
6. Acquaintances are also great.
Sometimes its nice to just talk to someone about surface level stuff. As long as both parties are happy with this set up, it’s all good.
7. Aches and pains…ya’ll.
I know some of this is due to IC, but the back pain really?! Tiger balm is my love.
8. I have plenty of time to have a career or other things outside of my child.
I don’t feel as worried about being in an awesome career right now. I’m happy to write this blog and raise my son. What would I be doing if I weren’t doing this? Honestly, I would probably be taking care of someone else’s kids or working as a caretaker in a retirement home. I enjoy caring for others. It fuels me. I also love to encourage and uplift. These things give me life. <3
9. I will not fuel the mommy wars.
I won’t. I’m not going to comment on SAHMS vs. Working Moms, bottle fed vs. breastfed, etc. We need to encourage and uplift all moms. PERIOD.
10. There are some matters that I can’t stay neutral on.
This year was a big year for me as far as speaking out on some very important issues in our world. “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”-Elie Wiesel
11. I’m more comfortable in my own skin.
You would think after 30 years this would be true and I guess it is. 😉 I still have negative self talk, but I think I’ve come a long way!
12. I’ll always be an introvert at heart and that’s okay.
It’s rare that I have a moment completely to myself. (Thank you, Motherhood! ;)) BUT those brief moments when I do….recharge! Solitude is fleeting in this stage of my life, but I’m learning to make use of the time that I get.
13. We need to look at our own homes to be the change that we want to see in our world.
It starts at home. We have to work towards building a better world for our children. We have to invest in our kiddo(s) in order for that to happen.
14. Sleep is more important than a lot of things.
Our bodies need time to recharge. It’s very, very, very important. We are constantly on GO! We need to be getting all the z’s we can. You will thank me later for this one! 😉
15. What we put into our bodies matters. A LOT!
I truly believe this is part of the reason that I have IC. If only…I could go back and tell my early twenties Anna to stop eating like a teenager. We need to eat and drink to fuel our bodies—not to celebrate. (Insert other instances/emotions as you see fit.)
16. Budgets are a necessary evil.
No one wants to discuss a budget, but budgets make the world go round. It’s good to know how much money you have at any given time and where your money is going. This is how you can sleep soundly at night.
17. Facebook Fantasy Reel/Keeping up with the Jones’
This is a real thing and it will only lead to the green eyed monster. People usually post the good on their social media. No one knows how hard Becky had to work to lose 20lbs. or how much time Lance had to work to afford that dream vacation. Let’s be happy for our FB friends and not let the green eyed monster rain on our own parade.
I did this for my birthday weekend and I’ve decided to continue it on the weekends so I can enjoy quality time with my family and not lose focus on what really matters. <3
19. My to-read list is forever and I’ll probably never read every book.
I’m okay with this. It’s like having the challenge set before me is enough for me now. I think motherhood has added to my cherishing the time I get to read.
20. Little changes over time are much better than doing nothing at all.
It has been a long journey getting together all the supplies we need for various projects with our home. Small changes still make a big difference! Small changes make a big difference over time.
21. I do what I want!
If I want to run around at 30 years old and catch Pokemon, I do it! No shame in being who I am.
22. People can change.
People can change for the better and they can also change for the worse. Be willing to accept both of these. They will save you from a lot of heartache or at least make the heartache a little easier to bear.
23. Some days are just plain lousy.
Sometimes it’s okay to let yourself wallow a little. You may need a few minutes, hours, a day. After a day, its best to put one foot in front of the other and do something. Anything! One productive action can make all the difference.
24. You are never too old to learn something new.
I love watching Declan learn something new. It reminds me that I have that ability in me always. We can (always) keep our minds and hearts open to new knowledge. Being a life time learner is an awesome goal to strive for!
25. Don’t be afraid of change.
I have fought against the current of change most of my life. Change has always been difficult for me. The truth is, If I had only accepted that change was inevitable, I would have been a much happier person. I could have embraced the change and made the most of it. This is something I’m working on now. <3
26. Start your day with God.
I can very easily tell the difference between a day I start with God and a day that I skip that time due to waking up late. You only need a few minutes. Recently, D has been waking up around 5ish with Daddy. (UGH!) This means that I don’t have much time in the morning to have a lengthy devotional. I take the time that I’m given and read Jesus Calling, pray, and write in my journal. See? It is all about quality not quantity.
27. Accept help!
This could be as small as accepting a wipe from another mom or as big as setting up your first appointment with a therapist to do some work on your mental health. It’s okay to offer and accept help. It’s nice to be the one offering help, but accepting help is just as important. You can’t help others if you are feeling empty inside!
28. It’s okay to need more time to make a decision.
I’m a recovering people pleaser and I (often) remind myself that I don’t have to give an immediate yes and I also reserve the right to say no.
29. I almost made it to 30 without thinking too hard. 😉
30. If you made it this far, you rock!
I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my thoughts and I only hope that the words that I share can encourage and help others. <3