Thirty Randoms from Thirty Years

Whoa. Thirty years. It didn’t really sound like that much until I read it just now as I typed the title of this post. Thirty years. Crazy.

I think it is safe to say that lots of people freak out about turning 30, or at least lots of people think you should freak out about it. And while it suddenly strikes me as a rather imposing number, I find myself at thirty years plus a couple days and still not in freak out mode. What is crazy to me is that I’m already here – a grown woman, an adult, an academic, a mother (and the list goes on). How did I reach this milestone so quickly?

The infamous “they” always say: “You’re only as old as you feel.” If that’s the case, I’ll be 25 for a long time. I’m over the whole 21 thing…still like my wine and occasional beer, but partying and staying out all night at the bars has long since lost its appeal. I think I have children to thank for that! Now I’m so darn tired all the time that a perfect night would mean bed at 10:00 p.m. and no interruptions until 6:30 a.m. – but let’s be honest – it may be years before I see that happen again!

So I guess you could say parts of me feel, on some especially tired days – again, thanks to children -,  not 30 but more more like 85. “What are you, 85?!” was one of my favorite sayings in college and yes, some days, when I want to eat dinner at 5:00 and go to bed at 7:30, I am. But my spirit, I believe, has settled at 25. That was an age that I found to be just the right mix of maturity, fun and athletic ability. I would like to retain all of that, thank you very much, so 25 I shall be. Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to lie about my age…it just means I won’t always act my given age.

Since this is a milestone birthday, I thought it deserved a little reflection. So here are thirty random lessons, observations, and whatnots that I have learned about life and myself in the last thirty years….

1) What’s in a name? To me, a lot. From the time in elementary school when I decided I would be “Jenni with an ‘I'” to three years ago when I decided I would be Mama instead of Mommy, the names I go by are significant to me.

2) Doing something scary can be very beneficial. Ten years ago, I bungee jumped over Victoria Falls. In the time since, I have told myself more than once, “You jumped off a bridge. You can do ______!” More recently I use, “You gave childbirth – twice – without drugs. You can do ________!”

3) Babies aren’t so scary. Before I had Harrison I was never too keen to hold new babies because I found them to be too breakable and, well, terrifying. Now I love to get in a snuggle with a new baby because I know how sweet and accepting they really are.

4) I will probably never drive a stick shift. I can name at least three different people who have tried to teach me this skill in the last 15 years and by golly, I just can’t do it. This doesn’t really bother me. I am perfectly content to continue driving automatics!

5) It is probable that I will get more tattoos. Sorry, Mom! I have three so far and I have a feeling that more may come once I’m done having children. Seeing as my current tattoos are representations of BIG, important things in my life, I find it only fitting that my family is represented as well.

6) I’m a Mac. Never knew it until I taught public school at Palmer and was issued my first MacBook, but sure enough – I LOVE Apple computers.

7) Running makes me feel like a warrior. I may not have the best form or be the fastest one out there, but running always makes me feel strong. I haven’t been in a running routine since I started having babies and probably won’t get back to it until I’m done, but someday I’ll regain my warrior status, promise.

8) I’m a damn fine cookie maker. For years I have been bribing and thanking people with homemade cookies – mostly my mom’s wonderful chocolate chip recipe.

9) South Dakota and Africa hold my heart. Funny combination? You bet. But both places shaped me in ways unimaginable and I will always long to return to both again and again.

10) Love at First Sight is possible. Well, maybe I should call it Knowing at First Sight. I knew the very first night I met Ben that I would marry him. How I knew this, I have no idea. I guess it felt like I had already known him forever so it just seemed right that we spend forever together.

11) Books will always be my crack. As a kid I used to read so much that I won Top Reader awards during the library’s Summer Reading Program. I may not have all the time in the world to read for myself these days, but I make darn sure my kids are surrounded by books because they are essential to many of life’s successes.

12) I see the numbers 10:34 on the clock ALL. THE. TIME. It drives me nuts.

13) “Follow the signs, Moore.” This was said to me by my freshmen Physical Science teacher, Mr. Bies (am I spelling that correctly? probably not), before I left for a high school cross country meet. I find it to be great advice for life in general.

14) I am a proud Democrat and a proud Christian. That being said, I don’t believe in throwing my politics or my religion in the faces of others.

15) Writing is my therapy. Doesn’t matter if I’m keeping a personal journal or writing on my blog – words help me process (ha! word processor! no pun intended, but wow, I am a dork.)

16) White noise is magic for sleeping. I learned this lesson in college when I had to run a fan in the dorms to drown out all the noises from other people. I learned it again after Harrison was born and it helped him to sleep better and longer. In the Welsch household, a fan in the bedroom is a must!

17) I like to make people smile. I attempt to do this through acts of kindness, wit, and sarcasm. Are acts of sarcasm really a thing? They are now!

18) Until college, I believed I hated coconut. Then I learned that my mom hates coconut and therefore I had never been exposed to it. In my book, coconut is wonderful, especially if it comes in cookie format from Doane.

19) Being an English major has impacted my life in many ways. For one, I am obsessed with themes. I know most people plan meals and parties with themes, but I take it to next level and name children by theme.

20) If I could change one thing from high school, I would not have quit playing the trumpet after my sophomore year.

21) I will probably never outgrow calling my father “Daddy” – deal with it.

22) Having fresh flowers in the house really does make the world a happier place.

23) Coffee and dark chocolate really do make me a happier place. 🙂

24) I am not a fan of messes. Don’t get me wrong. My house is far from spotless and is often untidy; that I can handle. What I do not like is anything relating to food or drink spilled all over OR piles of laundry being knocked off of elevated surfaces. You can imagine how my two-and-a-half-year-old son feels about this topic.

25) I have rather (freakishly) long digits (fingers and toes, both, mind you). I believe this means that in another life I was either a piano player or a fish. If you know how I feel about fish, you might find this funny.

26) 26 will always be my favorite number.

27) “You look tired” and “You look like you don’t feel well” are two worthless comments and only serve to make me feel worse. If I am out and about, I am fine, or at least pretending to be so. Please play pretend along with me even if my under eye concealer is failing to do its job. 🙂

28) Once, at the infinitely wise age of 5, I asked my aunt while we were at the park, “Don’t ya wish life was just swingin’?” I still wish that some days.

29) I still need to learn how to change a tire, especially if I’m going to continue driving my children to nap them.

30) Nope. Too much pressure to make this last one really profound. Instead, I’ll go with this: Having kids made me realize that “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and the “ABC’s” are the same damn song. How did I not know that?

Wow. That was a lot harder and took a lot longer than I expected. If you hung in there and read all of that, bless you and thanks for sharing in my little self reflection time.

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