I turned 34 last month and for the last couple of years, I have written an annual post reflecting on my life at that point. This year I was torn between writing and not writing my birthday post. I didn’t think much had changed and didn’t think this post would be different than previous years. And of course, I had the good old excuse of not having time to write. I am glad I left the kids with dad this morning to spend some time at a coffee shop with my hot chocolate in hand to write. As I thought about what I wanted to write on my walk here, it was this post that wanted to be written. I had a kind voice in my head that reminded me that even if the post sounded similar, it was beautiful to pause and capture what this year meant to me.  Thank you, kind and wise inner voice! Here I am with what this moment in life looks like.

  • Gratitude – This is my first & biggest emotion. I feel so much joy, love, and gratitude for everything I have in my life. Every time I pause and think about the millions of people who don’t have food on the table, women who work as sex workers, children without parents and the dozens of other situations that makes life so much harder I feel nothing but gratitude for how abundant, beautiful and purposeful my life is. This has been the most valuable life lesson I have learned from my dad, thank you, papa!
  • Blur & Magic – And yet, this year is what I call a time of blur and magic, of fog and fun, of chaos and beauty, you get the picture. Life with two little kids is so all-consuming and I can be so exhausted that I can fall asleep anywhere, yesterday I fell asleep on a beach!!! And yet, I so enjoy the simplicity of children, the challenges of parenting, the fulfillment of experiencing a family of four, way more than I could have ever imagined. It truly is magical.
  • Alignment – For the most part, my life feels in alignment with my values and that feels good. Yes, there are parts I want to change and cards that I wish were dealt differently but for the most part, things feel in balance. It has meant constantly questioning how much is enough and being okay with the fluidity of priorities.
  • More than mom – Now, especially that I have two kids, I feel an even greater need to nurture other parts of myself. There often are times on a Sunday afternoon, where I secretly hope my mom would appear and take my kids for an hour, so I could do something to nourish myself. I also find myself missing a lot of things about my pre-kiddo life. Perhaps it’s a function of the enormity of the work with two kids or it’s that I have been a parent for almost 4 years and the accumulated exhaustion wears in. I think it’s a little bit of both😊
  • Parents & siblings – I didn’t get to spend as much time or invest in my relationship with my own family as much as I’d like to, given how much I love and get along with them. I can attribute it to the fullness of my own life, but I want to change that.
  • Cancer – One of my close friends was diagnosed with cancer and it was very hard in so many ways to watch her fight cancer (which she did incredibly well). I feared for her life, for my own and my loved ones but then would struggle even more as I questioned why such diseases and suffering exists in the world and the millions of lives that are disrupted with this disease (and others). Still, no answers and my quest continues. I also often felt guilty of not being there enough for her, for not spending as much time as I’d like to.
  • Podcasts – I recently discovered the joy of subscribing to podcasts and it’s been a beautiful addition to my life. I have learned so much from them and realized the power of a few minutes here and a few minutes there to nourish myself. And yes, same goes for audio books!
  • Grad School – I completed grad school this year! So happy and excited to be done.
  • Marriage – This was the hardest year of my marriage in many ways. The details deserve a separate post. It was the small stuff, but I saw first-hand how the small stuff can become the big stuff and how and why people can fall out of love or get divorced after decades of being married. I also feel incredibly beautiful that we caught some of our red flags and are tenderly attending to the broken parts and working on ourselves and in our marriage. Grateful again.
  • 52 Hikes – I committed to 52 hikes this year and completed my 50th hike yesterday and it feels wonderful. This experience deserves its own detailed post too but overall it was great to hike with the family and friends, expose the kids to the outdoors and experience the joy of completing a project. I exercised the most I ever have, even before I had my kids and that feels like a big accomplishment.
  • Mortality – I have also been thinking a little more about my own mortality and accept that as much as I may want to I will not be living forever and my time on this planet is finite. Sometimes it makes me sad, both as I think of my children but also as I think of what I can do in this world and how self-centered my life is. I am trying to channelize this more constructively and it’s a work in progress.
  • Injustice – This year was so difficult with so much injustice and pain in the world – natural disasters, crime, violence and more. Every time, I am exposed to this I shut down in some ways. I feel incredibly guilty for not doing enough. This is one place where guilt is very prominent, and my way of coping is acting to help. I am working on a campaign for next year to do more. Hopefully, the fog with little ones will settle and I will see more clear skies and have more headspace for this or as I often say, I will make more headspace for this.
  • Blog Love – And finally, I have learned that this blog, my writing and my community of readers is a very integral part of my life. I haven’t written as much this year, but I hope I change that in the months to come and write more, create more and give more through this medium.

Deep gratitude to Lindsey Mead for her post This is 38 and Dina Relles for her post This is 35 for inspiring me to write this. You can read my posts, this is 32 here and this is 33 here.

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