Hi everyone! I promise I haven’t forgotten the blog!
Honestly, the last two months have just been insanity, and between an extremely busy schedule and a lot of processing, I just haven’t had much head space to write/much that I felt I could write about with any confidence.
But that’s when I remembered: My birthday is coming up (29, yeesh), which means that it’s the perfect time to reflect on a larger scale with birthday questions! Specifically, the questions that some of my friends use every birthday to share reflections on their years with the people they love.
So without further ado, birthday questions:
What are three highlights/lowlights for your year?
So, in the interest of keeping this blog post light and hopefully a little bit shorter, I’m actually not going to share any lowlights here, but I did have some really great highlights. In no particular order:
- I got to go to Florida with my dad for a podcasting conference/vacation at Universal. The weather was beautiful, the memories were even better, and man, do we have some good stories. It was a great, great time.
- I got to go to a writers’ retreat that I have wanted to go to for years. It was Write by the Lake, an annual five day writers’ retreat in downtown Madison where you take classes in the morning and write/hang out with other writers in the afternoons/evenings. I learned a ton and made some great memories there too.
- I became a paid writer. This year, as I know I’ve mentioned, I finally became a paid writer with my regular gig blogging for a tea company. They are so kind to me, generous, and great to work with and I am so, so happy that I get to work with a company that works with one of my personal sub-passions: tea!
- I attended some great weddings. I know there should only be three of these, but I did also want to say that I got to go to some great weddings, including my sister’s, my cousin’s, and one of my best friend’s. And hey, if I have extra nice things to share, that’s not too bad, right? 😉
This is my favorite part of birthday questions, where each person lists whatever -ly words they want, and then the birthday person rates their year on a scale from 1-10 in that category. For example, spiritually, athletically, socially, etc. For these purposes, I’m just going to share a few that are either fairly common or that I specifically wanted to highlight.
So, this one is actually kind of tough because in a lot of ways it’s been a bit of an up and down year for me. On the one hand, I’ve learned a ton about things like grace, forgiveness, and mercy, but on the other, I’ve often felt distant or even put distance between myself and God. On the third hand though, I’ve also gotten a lot better about being honest with God, with trusting Him, or believing some of the things that I’ve always found hard (mainly in trusting His love for me). I’ve gotten better at silencing anxiety to hear Him when I’m stressed out or actively seeking His will in certain situations (whether or not I’m good at carrying it out), and even in the midst of wrestling with Him, have had some really sweet, tender moments. I’ve been challenged in my default views about God or how I approach our relationship/interactions, and though I still have a ways to go with that, I am hoping to keep on that track!
Overall rating: 7/8
This year was actually a really good one for me from a health perspective. Not only did I lose about ten pounds, but I also started going on long walks, did fairly well in the Fit Club program at my work until just recently, and started doing Zumba. I was able to go to several great dances, and am hoping to get back into it more whenever my schedule/finances start to allow.
Overall rating: 8
This year was great for me educationally. Besides going to the podcasting conference for my job, I also did a lot of research on writing (specifically plotting, which was my goal for the year), got to take that whole week off to study plot structure at Write by the Lake, and attended a smaller writing retreat as well. I’ve done some research for the tea blog, and have also learned a lot of life lessons too, not least of which being how to live on my own with having moved out of my parents for nearly a year.
Overall rating: 8
This year was both really great and really tough for me socially. I developed some really, really close friendships, and also suffered some heavy social blows. I learned a lot of hard but important lessons, including how to advocate for myself, how and when to stick up for myself, when to let things go, and how to be more firm when needed. I’ve pushed myself to get to know some new people, gotten better at trusting (mostly), and pushed myself to take more risks, even when I’m not sure they’ll pan out (you know, like what a risk is, haha). I’ve seen beautiful examples of grace and friendship and support just when I needed it, offered some of the same to others in need, and have taken strides towards opening up and leaning into the friendships I have, even when other ones I have have been painful. I am learning not to take single examples as proxies for how everyone else around me feels, am learning not to discount myself from experiences or friendships I have previously felt were out of reach, and also grown more comfortable in who I am, both as a person in general (including healthy boundaries for myself and comfort/peace in the kind of stay at home introverted lifestyle I enjoy), and as an adult with time management needs and requirements and the like.
Overall rating: 7
This one is another tough one to choose, as there have been some major highs and some major, major lows for me. In general, I think I’ve done fairly well at taking certain things in stride or reacting better than I know I would have in the past, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. One huge area of growth has been allowing myself to feel more negative emotions than I would have in the past, or rather, learning to give myself grace and space to do so. For a long time, I’ve felt like feeling negative emotions like sadness, anger or grief were a sort of emotional or even spiritual failing. But, as I’ve learned to be more honest with God, He’s been faithful in showing me that it’s okay to feel the things that I feel, and that, go figure, that’s not only a part of, but an important part of being human and, even more importantly, that He can handle it/isn’t upset or disappointed if I feel them. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can sit in them forever/let them take over, which is ultimately why this one probably isn’t going to rank that high. A lot of times this year, my negative emotions really got out of control, both in my ability to control them, and in–especially when I shouldn’t have–my feeding them.
Overall rating: 5
One thing I’m looking forward to
For this one, I think I’m looking forward to a couple related things. First, healing, especially from recent wounds. Second, growth, specifically in first getting back to God and then growing stronger as he heals me. Third, just getting back to a good place again, whether that’s in getting a new flow/routine, getting back to writing, starting to plan and hope for the future again, or anything else. So, mostly just getting back to an even keel enough to refocus and find a new path.
One thing I’m not looking foward to
Fear of failure. I’ve got a fairly big goal this year, so honestly, I’m really just not looking forward to having to fight through dragging my feet because I’m afraid of failing. Part of this will mean developing a routine, part of it will mean finding people to hold me accountable, part of it will be, well, I’m not even sure what else. But it’s going to take a lot.
One goal for myself
My big goal is to have a book that I feel is in good enough shape for me to pitch to literary agents (as in would have a draft that’s good enough to send, not just concept) by the time I am thirty. Since I’m turning twenty-nine this year, the clock is about to start in earnest. But that’s my goal. If you want to encourage me throughout the year, please feel free.
So that’s it! Those are my birthday questions! Feel free to use them on your (or a friend’s) next birthday and I hope you enjoyed mine. I’ll have another post up in the next couple days!
So, any other subcategories you’d like to ask? Any goals you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below and if you want to get more content like this, feel free to follow me here on the blog. Thank you for reading!