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Dear self,
Yesterday you turned the big 3-0. Thirty.  Take a deep breath. That’s right. You are officially out of your 20’s.

Your 20’s were good to you. They brought you your husband. Your kids. Your career. Your passion.

But they were rough, too. The loss of your brother, your parents. Chronic sinus problems. Back trouble. Bad feet.

You’ve had some good times – times you’ve laughed until you’ve cried, times you’ve cried until you laughed.  Sometimes those events were the same day!  There’s been lots of lessons learned.  Lots of friends made, and more than a few you’ve lost touch with over the years.  You’ve learned relationships are tough.  Sometimes really tough.  Tough just to keep going – tough to put the extra work in to keep the flame alive.  But oh, so very, very worth it.

I guess I wanted to write you this to give you some advice. Advice you probably won’t listen to, but you’ll nod and smile and say you’ll listen, and I wanted to write it out here so there were witnesses, so to speak.  So here it is. The big advice for you going into your 30s:  Do hard stuff.

Life is hard.  Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Friendships are hard. Work is hard. Faith is hard. Cleaning is hard. Downtime is hard.

Cooking is hard to find time for in light of all that other stuff.

Be kind to yourself – but also, be good at doing hard stuff, because at the end of the day that’s really what life is about.  Dig in to the moment, be present and real with people.  Acknowledge that you’re doing something hard, and then do it.  Give yourself a break when you fail, because you’re going to. Just be ready for it.  Every day you’re going to wake up with 57 things to do and you are going to fail to do most of them.

Try to do them anyways.  Don’t half-ass it, either, because who wants half-ass attention? No one. So do one thing really good. And then do another, and another, and another.  You may end up with 14 good things by the end of the day. Awesome. You did good.  You failed at 43 things, but they don’t matter because you rocked at 14 things.

When you turn 30 (if you’re me) you start to think about your legacy.  At the end of my life I want to be known as someone who was real.  Someone who had to dig her way through life with broken nails and tear stains and dirty tennis shoes who was a real person to the people she interacted with.  I don’t want people to think I’m something I’m not. I’m a mess – just like every other human being on this messy broken earth.

By the grace of God I’d like to fight against that brokenness – the brokenness that destroyed my parents, the brokenness that threatens to take others every day… I’d like to BE KIND and DO HARD STUFF because it helps fix some of that brokenness. And if on any given day I can only do 14 good things, or even just 1 good thing, it means the world is that many more things better than it was yesterday.

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Two things. First: today is a good day.  Not only did my wonderful, amazing, fantastic husband sleep slightly-less-comfortable last night so that I could get a good night of sleep (by sleeping with the bed at an angle, which makes me sleep deeper and him sleep lighter for some reason), but the visit with the doctor seems to have actually helped my breathing.  A steroid shot in the hip seems to have reduced the swelling in my nose to the point that I can, once again, breathe.  That plus two new prescription allergy medicines (xyzal and singulair) and I have FINALLY.. FINALLY woken up without feeling like I needed to immediately take a pain killer for the pressure in my head. Thank you Jesus!! Modern medicine once again helps!
 
Waking up able to breathe, feeling like I got enough sleep, it’s amazing what those two things can do for a person.  I feel brand new.  I feel like if this keeps up, I’ll be ready to start working on some other projects.  Projects to help me get more balanced.
 
I initially thought that my primary goal this year was to get to my target weight.  However, the more I think about it, the more I realize it is much more than that. When I think about how much work the weight loss is going to take, I realize that my REAL goal this year is to obtain a little bit more balance in my life.
 
See, I want to get down to my target weight (160) and I was doing REALLY good until December.  Have you ever made 500 cookies over the course of a month and NOT put on a few extra pounds?  So I was at 190 (I am putting my numbers on the internet, WHAT!) and now that the holidays are over I’m back up to 200. 
 
200 isn’t bad – still better than my max weight of 250 (ohmywordIjusttypedthat) – but I have a extra problem there that has prevented that number from going down in the first half of the month.  I’m going to say it. Are you ready? I quit smoking.  Yes, yes, I smoked. I’m not proud, and most of you probably didn’t even know.  It’s terrible, I know, but I honestly enjoyed it.  I didn’t smoke around Benjamin, and I had quit when I was pregnant, but I didn’t stay quit.  So anyways, I finally made up my mind that even though I enjoyed smoking, it was going to slowly kill me (and I didn’t want to die from something so stupid), so I quit.  I’m done. No more. Not another single one in my life, I hope, so help me God.
 
But with me quitting smoking I’ve been having a very hard time controlling my eating.  It’s kind of like, I finish a meal and I really want a cigarette but I can’t have one, so I think: “Oh, I’ll just have seconds, or maybe I can have something sweet to reward myself for not smoking!”… yeah.  Not good.  So one of the ways I have tried to cut down on my calories is by drinking more coffee in the morning.  I’m up to about 4 cups before 10am on the days I work.
 
Do you see where the balance thing comes in?
 
I’ve been trying to be cognizant of these issues, even if I haven’t really taken much action to prevent the overeating.  I’m self-aware enough to know that I can’t just change all my bad habits overnight.  It’s frustrating, but luckily I can be patient.  I have to ease in to this or I’ll stress myself out to the point that I cave and smoke.  I don’t want that, but I also don’t want to be overeating. 
  
Balance.
 
I think if I can figure it out, 2012 may be my best year yet.

Tomorrow is my final follow up with my surgeon that charged me 5k to do nothing to fix my nose.

Well, no, it is more like she charged me thousands of dollars for a surgery that was supposed to stop my recurring sinus infections that only repaired my deviated septum.

I’m not really sure what I want to tell her tomorrow. I feel like I was promised one thing, given another, and am powerless to do anything about it.  Justin is coming with me and hopefully he will help me tell her how horrible the last few months have been health-wise. A sinus infection that lasts years is terrible. I’m tired of tossing and turning so I can breathe, I’m tired of blowing my nose, I’m tired of taking pain killers every day. I’m just tired of it.

So I will go tomorrow and paint her a picture. We shall see how it goes.