It was my birthday on Friday.
My goal for 35: to end the year less tired than I began it.
(Gilbert, I’m lookin’ at you. You’re sleeping through the night soon, right?)
A lot happened from 30 to 35:
I had a baby. We bought an old house and moved to a new city. I had another baby.
I had a thriving writing career that dwindled to a nonexistent one. Because of the aforementioned two babies.
And now, at 35, I’m feeling, well, ready for more. (Not more kids or more house. Let me adjust to what I’ve got. Geez.) I’ve got five years before 40 and for some reason I feel compelled to make this half decade really count.
It’s the window of little kids becoming less little, restarting a career or rethinking it altogether, moving forward.
Thirty-five = champagne pancakes (topped with gold leaf because aging is ridiculous!) with Mom + Black Forest Cake by best husband ever. Sugar is my love language.
Last week, I was on a roll, bread-wise. (Pun intended.) I made brioche and naan and cornbread and a sourdough starter. And I felt alive. I felt excited about these silly little projects involving flour and elbow grease. Even Matthew noticed: I was a happier healthier person by doing something I enjoyed. He and the kids benefitted from me doing something for me (and for them, because as much as I love carbs, I do have a limit. That limit is less than three loaves a day).
I’ve had three years of semi-unintentional-and-totally-unpaid maternity leave. I’m starting to get restless. I fantasize about quilting for a living. Dying linen with avocado pits. Designing a line of cloth napkins.
Yes, I DREAM OF SELLING NAPKINS.
I think I need to go back to work.
When former stay-at-home mom Nadiya Hussain won my favourite reality show ever, she said, "I’m a lot better mum now than I was five, six years ago, because my kids get to see me work and be happy and raise them and still feed them."
That's what I want. To raise and feed my kids. And still pursue things that are good for me.
I read something recently about five-year plans and why they're valuable. A lot of the time — and I know this is especially true for me right now — the changes in our lives are reactionary ones. I'm constantly adjusting to the needs of my growing family and temperamental old house. This is fine. It's real life. We need to adapt.
A five-year plan, however, helps you be proactive, not just reactive.
So while I fully anticipate that reactive decision-making will be a huge part of parenthood and life in general, I don't want to sit back and expect that reaction (and/or inaction) will lead to incredible career and/or creative opportunities in the coming years.
These next few months of kickin' it with little ones — Gil isn't weaned yet, so anything beyond super-part-time isn't an option yet — will be a time of brainstorming, goal-setting and dreaming big.
And then comes the tough part: implementation.
I'll keep you posted.
Here's to 35. To forward motion. And to sleeping through the night.
(Sometimes the small goals are actually the most important ones. For survival.)
Have you ever developed a five-year plan for your career? Personal life? Finances? I'd love to hear about your process and how you implemented it.