Why turning (gasp) 30 isn’t so bad…

I can no longer try to deny it. The day has come. The day that etches in time that I am supposed to be a responsible adult. The date that is a bit scary because people have families, are settled, have careers, education, and the like—all under their belts. They are doing life and have it going well.

As of today I fit this category.

I am 30 years old. Thirty years ago today my mother gave birth to me on a hot, humid August day. You know during the popular 1984 olympics that people still speak of today… yeah that year. I’m old enough to have been born in the old Lutheran hospital in Fort Wayne, In—a hospital that doesn’t exist any longer.

Who says that? Oh yeah, people who are elderly… or of older generations.

I am one of those that kept telling everyone I was 25 for so long that it took going to my OB’s office when I was pregnant with Daylan, seeing my age plastered at the top of the paper—putting me in complete shock and horror, my husband laughing at me—for me to realize that I really was seeking 30 whether I liked it or not.

Because turing 30 has been a hard bullet to bite, I’ve decided to go ahead and bite it and go over 30 things that I’ve learned in my 30 years on this side of heaven. Because I truly appreciate my 30 years and everything that I’ve experienced.

1. I’ve never felt more confident in who I am than I do now. I don’t worry as much about what others think of me because I know who I am.

2. Christ is the ONLY reason I know who I am. Salvation and baptism allow me to know where I’m going after my time on this earth. But my relationship with Christ is what gets me through the day to day. He is the only one that will be my everything—not my husband nor my children, nor anything I can buy or bury myself in.

3. Friends are necessary on this side of life as well. I see people passing Memes across social media regarding real friendships and the like. What I’ve learned is that I have made friendships for specific seasons of my life. Sure there are friendships that will span a lifetime, but there are friendships that are meant for seasons of life. Forever am I grateful to everyone I can call friend throughout my life, because you are there for a reason and a specific season of my life.

4. Husbands aren’t your savior, aren’t your soul mate, aren’t perfect. My husband is my best friend, he is the one I still want to do everything with and explore the world with. I still anxiously await that VW diesel clanking to pull into the front of the house, the pounding of combat boots to come into the house and drag in little rocks, those same boots that I inevitably stub my toe on at some point in the week… He is and forever will be my life mate, my best friend—but not my soul mate, that is Christ’s job. I love Dustin more now than I ever thought I could.

5. My children are a reflection of me, but they also have their own free will. It is my job to teach them about Christ, proper social etiquette, morals, values, and so forth. But in the end, it is their responsibility to take accountability for their actions.

6. I never thought I’d be a stay at home mom. I was worried about the judgement from family and friends.  I learned that parenting is probably the most important thing I’ll ever do in my life. These few short years at home are worth the sacrifice.

7. Make friends/peace with your neighbors. They are the only ones that know your day to day nearly as well as you do.

8. Humble yourself as soon as you can muster it up when you know you’re wrong. Just do it. You learn to become a better person for it and the other person you’ve wronged will respect you even more.

9. Try as many new things as you can. Whether it be foods, business ventures, speaking engagements, crafts—whatever. Try it. You may like it or find yourself in a completely new avenue than you ever thought you’d be. You will always learn a few new things about yourself in the process, too.

10. Spend some time with middle schoolers. I happen to be very fond of them. But just do it. If you can’t stand them, observe them from afar. Pay attention to them because you will see what the future holds and what future issues we will have to deal with, positive or negative on all levels (socially, technologically, fashion, whatever).

11. Read at least 1 nonfiction book a month. Make it creative nonfiction. Make it something you don’t normally read. Expand your horizons, but expand your knowledge somehow and expand your worldview. Being too wrapped up in your own kind of people or your own kind of lifestyle is problematic and so closed minded you’ll not realize it before too long. Then you’ll not realize how powerless your words, actions, donations, or ministry may be.

12. Parents aren’t forever. Enjoy them while you can. Watch the parent/child/grandparent relationships evolve. Enjoy it. Document it. Embrace it for your children (or future children or future family.)

13. Cars we buy tend to represent the stage of life we’re in. My cars: 1992 Cavalier, 2000 Cavalier (crashed into Starbucks), 1999 Grand Am, 2007 VW Jetta Wolfsburg Edition, 2011 Odyssey, 2014 Odyssey…. Can you tell when I got my first teaching job, when I had children??

14. I’m one of those women that doesn’t like other people’s kids. But I’m here to tell ya, other children can hold a special place in my heart. A gripping place. A place that nearly feels like I gave birth to them.

15. Walking through the sting of infertility never goes away.

16. Experiencing the sting and grief of miscarriage never goes away either.

17. I love knowing that I taught the most amazing middle school students ever :). I went back to teach the second semester after having Dietrich. My students needed 100% of me and so did my family. I just couldn’t do it. My family won. I miss my students and teaching, but I love my family and I love not having bells telling me when I can pee or eat.

18. I’m so grateful for my Butler University education. I cannot imagine how my education experience would have been without it. I don’t know if I would have even made it through college seriously without it.

19. I see people my age or friends I have getting large houses, buying cool things, going on vacations often. I live at the same 3 bedroom house that Dustin bought before we started dating. I’ve lived here for 11 years. We have added two more bodies, lots of toys/accessories. I’ve learned to be grateful for what we have and not go into debt or go back to work at the risk of losing what my family has created. We have hope for a better future. We’ve created goals, an education plan for our children, and plans for our future. Those vacations last but a week or so at a time. What we have will last a lifetime and possibly generations to come. So grateful for our family values and placing what is right and just first. Choosing to live with less for now, so that our family may have more later.

20. Health is more important than ever. My brother was diagnosed diabetic in his early 20’s (He’s 3 years younger than me.) I had gestational diabetes when pregnant with Dietrich. My dad is diabetic. He had a quintuple bypass just a year and a half ago. I was nearly 100 pounds over weight last year. My blood work was perfect, but I knew I had to do something about it. It wasn’t about looking good or feeling good. It was about my health and mortality. It was inevitable that if I didn’t do something about it, I’d “catch” one of these family traits. So I got on it and started eating right and running. So far so good. When people ask me why or how—I say it’s under God’s authority. Not my own. It’s a sin to continue to live that way. I know better. It is wrong to allow the Holy Spirit to live in an unhealthy temple when I know with my own eyes and experience the terrible family history I have behind me. It’s under God’s authority.

21. It’s okay to say no.

22. Set boundaries! While you’re at it, everyone should read Boundaries at least once in their life.

23. Sending written letters and written thank you’s are still more meaningful than emails or texts.

24. Don’t drink too much in public social settings. Bragging about it shows your immaturity. It is impolite and you lose respect from those around you.

25. Communication is key to any relationship. Don’t assume anything. If you haven’t said it, it is unknown.

26. I tend to like to go through stressful situations alone. It isn’t an offense to anyone, I just need left alone. So thankful for Dustin’s understanding on this. When most women want people in their business after having a baby, I don’t. I sent Dustin and my son home the afternoon after our daughter was born for a nap and then after they came back for a short visit, the boys went home that night to sleep. My thinking—they are more use to me when they are both well-rested. Why should we all be miserable and tired when one person only needs to be, especially if I can handle stress pretty well, and new mom hormones kicked in—so of course we get those super powers.

27. There’s always someone watching. I may not think about myself as a role model, but someone is always watching what I’m doing and looking at me. I look at others, too, without saying anything to them usually, to see how they are doing things and take pieces of how they work and add it to my life. But something I pay attention to maybe more so than what works, is that doesn’t work. I pay attention to the bad, the ugly, and how they get through it all. So that means others are paying attention to how I get through mine.

28. People are careless with their words. Say what you mean. Don’t say any more. Don’t say any less.

29. People are also overly sensitive. I keep people around me on purpose that will speak truth in my life. Truth hurts. But that truth also shapes me into a better person.

30. Choose to keep positive people in your life and positive situations in your life that will make you grow into a better person. Don’t be afraid to leave people behind as you go. You can always visit the past, but don’t live there. We are only here for a split second before our time is up. Move on, move up, and be more.

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hey, i’m Danielle

I love Jesus. I love my family. And I get joy from having a front row view of people growing toward their goals because of what I’ve taught.

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