Since I was a little girl my heart longed to have a family of my own. To have a life partner with 2.5 adorable children, a home of my own complete a white picket fence, and a full time career. But there I was, about to turn 30 working part time, renting super tiny one bedroom studio, and had little to little dating prospects or hope.
I knew there was good in the season, but I wasn’t quite sure there was joy.
So on the eve of my 30th birthday I sat down, on the deck of my tiny house (that was literally in the backyard of my dear friends..but that is another God story), with a mason jar of cold brew, and got to work envisioning what a brave & beautiful decade would look like.
I scribbled down deep, seemingly impossible dreams like owning my own home, going on a mission trip again, and participating in Making Things Happen again. There were also LOTS of fun adventures like visiting an outdoor theater, homemade gelato, and starting my own garden. It was a marker to choose a life of beauty and bravery. In writing that list a shift began in my heart to cultivate a life I love, even when it looked different than I envisioned.
Here I am today, five years later, and look over my list of 30 Brave and Beautiful Things and see a full and vibrant life. There are still a few items that I can’t wait to check off…Country Living Fair and mission trip adventure are at the top post COVID life 😉 But, as I spent time reflecting on the items I’ve been able to check off my list, I noticed so many other gifts in this season that were unplanned and unexpected.
In my 30’s I also…
-built lasting friendships both near and far. My “forever friends” are such kindred spirits and unexpected gifts.
-embraced my calling at ZA as a servant-leader and reluctant farm girl.
-did (and continue to do) the heart and hard work required in counseling through seasons of transition, anxiety, and everyday life.
-found a local church home that is not perfect, but even better is rooted in the gospel and full of people who love each other and love Jesus.
-invested in my neighborhood and got to know them as friends, beyond just a quick “Hello!”.
-gained a sister and became an auntie to the sweetest little love bug ever.
-adventured all around Wisconsin, the US (NYC, Chicago, New Hampshire, Sanibel Island, Boston, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina,…), and most importantly the UP and our Koselig Cottage.
Memories and joy that I would have overlooked if I just focused on what was missing. My heart still longs for the “white picket fence” ideal (or whatever version that might end up being), but the truth is that this life is good, beautiful, and full of a deeper joy. I’ve learned that gratitude doesn’t but a “happy mask” on our life circumstances, but it does allow you to shift your eyes to the gifts of today. On the eve of 35, I can’t wait to see what the rest of my 30’s will bring. I have a feeling the best is yet to be.
30 Brave & Beautiful Things in my 30’s
- Love on littles through an overseas mission trip.
2. Plant a fig tree!
3. Learn the art of hand lettering.
4. Get a tattoo 😀
5. Be completely debt free!
6. Host “An Evening to Bloom”
7. Weekend adventure to Nashville with girlfriends!
8. Attend a farm to table dinner.
9. Write an e-book.
10. Go Blueberry Picking
11. Finally visit the Country Living Fair!!
12. Plant a garden of my own.
13. Take an art class and let go of perfection! (pottery, calligraphy, painting..)
14. Speak at women’s conference
15. Complete the Bravado (run/walk, bike, kayak)
16. Have a little free library.
17. Master sourdough bread.
18. Own my own home.
19. Complete whole30 challenge.
20. Gather farm fresh eggs!
21. Try Stitch Fix for a special occasion outfit!
22. Visit a fresh lavender farm.
23. Host a girls weekend at Koselig Cottage.
24. Outdoor theater or concerts on the square.
25. Purchase a really comfy, squishy reading chair.
26. Learn to flip a pancake (seriously people, it’s BAD!)
27. Enjoy a Spa Day.
28. Host a weekend retreat.
29. Make lemon-basil gelato with my lemons.
30. Attend Making Things Happen Conference for the 2nd time and be encouraged to live on purpose and make what matters happen.