Here’s to Thirty-Six

 

My birthday was on December 29. I am officially 36-years-old. Getting older has never really bothered me until last year. For whatever reason, the thought of being halfway to 70 freaked me out.

 

Me on my 35th Birthday

 
Having a birthday at Christmastime is never easy. People forget about it, are too busy to celebrate with you, or give you the infamous "Christmas/birthday gift." On the other hand, there is something interesting about having a birthday near the start of a new year. Many people make New Year's Resolutions and reflect on the previous year. Some make goals on their birthdays that they want to accomplish during that particular age. For me, I can combine all of these into one because my birthday is so close to the end of the year.

Reflecting on 2020

2020 has been a hard year for so many. My family is no different. On January 6, 2020, my brother-in-law died by suicide. My sister moved back to Indiana from California that same week so that she could be with family and start the grieving and healing process. In March, the country (and even the world) was basically put on hold as everything shut down due to COVID-19. Our family had to learn how to handle me working from home and my daughter attending virtual preschool while attempting to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Then in June, we found out that my mom had severe aortic valve stenosis and would require surgery sooner than later to repair her heart. In August, she had open heart surgery the same week my daughter started Kindergarten online. I was driving back and forth to Chicago to spend a few hours (all that COVID regulations allowed for) with my mom while she was recovering in the hospital. Once she was allowed home, we started on the journey of her recovery. Did I mention that I was still working remotely and that the country was still dealing with the coronavirus?

 

My family in April, celebrating a quarantined Easter

 
Despite the hardships during 2020, many amazing things have happened as well, all of which I thank God for on a daily basis. My mom, sister, and I are closer than ever after spending so many months all under one roof for the first time in years (and yes, there are spats along the way as well). I am incredibly inspired by my sister and her strength. She has turned a tragedy into an opportunity to share with others and bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention. I am in awe of my mom's recovery and eternally grateful to her doctors and nurses for taking such amazing care of her. I am thankful for the time spent with my daughter. As a single, working mother, I often feel guilty for having to work so much and losing out on time with her. This year has given me the gift of time spent watching her learn. She is SO smart and I could not be more proud.

Looking forward to 2021

So what do I want out of 2021 and my 36th year on this earth? That is a great question. I might say that I want coronavirus to go away, but that is beyond my control. There are so many things that I could say that I want to do or that I want to happen, but one thing that I've learned this year is that life is unpredictable. 

My sister told me that she chooses a word for each year to focus on and gets that word made into a bracelet from Mud Love so that she can wear it and reflect on that word daily. Her word for 2021 is "Continue..." because she will continue healing, growing, spreading awareness, and, most of all, putting one foot in front of the other to push on from tragedy.

My sister's "Word of the Year" bracelet from Mud Love

 
If I were to choose a word, I would have to choose "Present." I want to be present for my family, especially for my daughter. I want to focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I want to enjoy the presents that God has given me: family, love, laughter, and life. 

I drew my word using metallic outline markers from MMFB Arts.

 

I hope everyone is able to enjoy 2021 and be present in their lives. What word would you choose for 2021?

 

Photo of my family on my 36th Birthday

I've connected with some amazing bloggers to share some blogs featuring New Year's Resolutions, Goals, Inspiration, Motivation, and more! Head to each of their blogs to check out what they are sharing: 

Cheyenne     Overcoming Obstacles 

Heather        5 Beginner Blogging Goals That I am Setting for Myself in 2021 

Kimmy         Making Resolutions in 2021 

Grace           Reflecting on 2020: The Good, the Bad, and Everything in Between 

Lori              My Word for 2021: Consistency (With Free Planner Printable)

Anne            Things to Do in 2021

 

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