I turned 36 on November 19th. I'm happy to be here another year, and I'm happy that I can finally remember my age now - since I've consistently forgotten if I am 35 or 36 for the past several months. When you're a kid, you think of these numbers - these ages, so abstractly. You also think your parents have it all figured out, which is hilarious now. I'm sure they were all winging it just like I know I am! You assign specific milestones to them. It's funny that I don't remember assigning a milestone after 27. Perhaps it's that I figured my 30s and on would be so easy, with all the money I'd be making working and saving to go on trips, and buy "grown up" things like sofas, houses, cars and other adult necessities. Ha! Kids forget about taxes, student loans and childcare costs. And groceries.
I always thought 27 sounded like the best year. It was an odd number which I like, and an age that seemed like you had things figured out and were officially "grown up" and maybe had a kid, but not "old". 27 did make me grow up though, as it was the year I lost my brother. But, it was also a reminder to never truly "grow up", and to live my life and appreciate every age so that I could continue to bring joy, the learning of new things, and laughter into each new year - in an attempt to also bring part of my brother's spirit with me.
So before I look at 36, I want to remember a few things from 35. Thank God for the micro-blogging goodness that is Instagram, so can remember! (And I know this is long, but I have to get the word count in for my semi-annual posts these days - kidding!)
My mantra this year was "One Thing at a Time". I wanted to stay present (except for folding laundry, that requires television), keep my mind straight and stop trying to do too much at once. Whether that was at work, hanging with Henry, or taking on too many commitments or activities. I think it all worked out.
I adjusted to the new routine of my life with a one-year old little boy. I tried to stay present in the moment, and give him my full attention when I could, but also not be too hard on myself. Babies need to learn how to be their own people too, and I love that Henry is independent. I also tried not to fall into the "mom guilt" trap, and to support my other parent friends. We are all doing the best we can, and that has to be enough. Did I mention that I called my own mom and dad every single day? Thank God for those people, and thank God for FaceTime!
We got to travel to Florida for Christmas and this past Thanksgiving, Indiana in March, see my cousin from the Philippines in April, and have a Huber family reunion in July. We played a lot of cards. I love that my family loves games (excluding my Dad, who used to play but now rebels). The older I get, the more important keeping in touch with my family is.
I read books! I even let the dishes or laundry pile up sometimes in order to get some Marissa time in.
I did my first Capsule Wardrobe in November. I think that I always wear the same things anyhow, but now it's more intentional.
I donated, gave away or tossed possessions that I do not need or want. I've been reading more about minimalism and I find it addicting. The part that intrigues me is clearing up the clutter in your life to make room to focus on your passions. I also like buying less, but getting better quality items on something that will last. It doesn't have to be about having nothing, but surrounding yourself with people and things that you truly love. Except art supplies. The more the better! Ha!
We spent quality time with Henry. He is at the age where he has a full personality and makes us laugh all the time. We visited the Zoo, the Please Touch Museum, the beach, parks with our friends, we went on walks around the neighborhood, played at the water park, we smiled and waved to the sweet old ladies near our local playground, and we embraced silliness to make our boy laugh.
Henry and I religiously attended "Pizza Tuesday" all summer. Or as my friends refer to it,"Tuesday is the new Friday." We wrangle our kids at a park and order fresh Margarita pizzas and glass bottle Coca-Colas from a food truck with a wood fire oven on board. Tuesdays were one of the highlights of my summer. Sometimes we even got ice cream afterwards. Heaven.
I chopped off eight inches of my hair to donate and get some much needed style back.
Henry got bronchialitis / asthma triggered from colds (that he should hopefully outgrow), we stayed at the hospital 4 separate times. He is doing much better and his new asthma plan is working really well (knock on wood). We are so grateful that we live 2 miles away from the best Children's hospital in the country and he has received amazing care. Henry and I got to attend a garden showing under the stars of an opera that my friend was performing in at Longwood Gardens. It was a truly magical night. We spent the day exploring the gardens with my girlfriends, drank some wine, and sat under the stars on a chilly summer night. I sat in the back near the exit with my sleeping boy (in case he cried so we wouldn't disturb anyone), and it is a memory I'll always treasure.
I did some side gigs! I helped a lovely couple in Chicago with space planning and interior design for a family friendly Living, Dining and Work / Foyer area, and wrapped up some work with a local client in Philly.
After a brief hiatus, I started drawing and painting again.
Mike and I got to dress up fancy and attend a beautiful outdoor wedding, drink champagne and stand outside barefoot in the wet grass with our friends while watching the party from afar. I think it should be a rule for every major party to sneak away for a moment and to take a quiet moment and capture the moment in your mind.
I re-worked our family budget to pay down debt and save more. This led to saving money on food and imaginative meals using the contents of our pantry. I find our routine works better when I do some meal planning, and when I'm also realistic and put in flexibility to order pizza or have Mike pick up Wawa! (I've also found that people who are into "meal planning" are really into meal planning so you can find a lot of information - thank you, Internet!)
I finished all seasons of The Wire, and officially agree with society that it is the best television show ever made.
I read (and loved) Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and tried to apply principles to my career. My friend and I now use the phrase WWSS for "What Would Sheryl Say?" when we need to encourage another female colleague to own her success and to make a leap, even if it is daunting.
Speaking of work, I am proud of what I did this year. I learned a lot and worked hard to improve my skills and how I provide reporting and data. I love the people I work for, and there is a ton of support. Highlights were eating lunch alfresco with friends on our roof deck, eating my weight in double chocolate or orange cranberry muffins from the cafe, and the one bike ride and one run I went on with colleagues.
We took Henry on his first amusement ride at The Boardwalk in Ocean City. He was not ready, we had to stop two rides twice before we learned this lesson. However, he was ready to dance for a crowd while we were taking shelter from a sun-shower. They were literally around him clapping and he tried to break dance. It was amazing.
On to the next year!