I turned 30 years old yesterday.
(Obligatory birthday selfie.)
On my last night as a 29 year-old, I had a nightmare:
Hutch and I are at the airport, preparing to board a flight to Russia. Kyle and Holden are nowhere to be seen. As we make our way through check-in and security, Hutch keeps running away from me, as he often does in real life. I am at the height of my stress level, trying hard not to scream at him in front of all the people at the airport, but at the same time trying not to look like a pushover mother whose kid walks all over her.
We finally make it to our gate, and sit down to rest for a bit. As soon as we get settled in, my carry-on bag starts exploding with objects I’ve packed. Toothpaste, leggings, headphones, phone chargers—they all come popping out like one of those old snake-in-a-can tricks you used to buy at Party Central. Frazzled and embarrassed that my underwear was exploding throughout the gate, I frantically begin shoving everything back in as quickly as possible, but it’s a losing battle. As soon as I get one pocket zipped shut, another one pops open and explodes more of my stuff.
After a few minutes of focusing on getting the objects back in my luggage, it occurs to me I haven’t seen or heard Hutch in a while. I look up, and he’s running toward the doorway to board the plane.
“HUTCH, STOP!” I yell, “WAIT FOR MOM!” He never listens, but for some reason I expect this to work.
With only a few more items to shove back into my bag, I turn around to do so quickly. I pick up my now repacked bag and turn back toward the door, only to see it close and lock with a foreboding thud, Hutch on the other side running onto the plane.
I know where this dream is going.
With a pit in my stomach I race to the door, but it won’t budge. I scan the airport frantically for an airline worker to let me through, but the ones I find are firm: I missed the boarding call because I was too busy dealing with all my loose items. My three year old son would be stuck on the flight to Russia all alone, with nobody to help him and no idea what to do upon landing in a very foreign country. He will almost certainly be abducted and sold into the sex trade. I will never see him again. And it’s all my fault.
I woke up in a cold sweat, horrified but relieved to hear Hutch snoring away on the floor next to me (if he wakes up in the night he’s allowed to sleep on a little “bed” we’ve made for him next to our bed—he loves it, don’t judge me). I took a quick poll of the rest of the room—Kyle in bed, also snoring, and Holden sleeping between us, alive and well. It was still dark outside, and if I wasn’t so shaken I would’ve had several more hours left to sleep.
But then of course I couldn’t sleep, so I spent the early hours of my first day as a 30 year-old considering what my dream had meant, and this is it:
Life is short. I may already be halfway done with mine. Do I want to spend what time I have left (however long that may be) obsessing over things…objects…items? All this stuff in my life (and I literally mean STUFF, just crappy junk that takes up space and drives me crazy) keeps on popping up and distracting me from the truly important things in my life—which actually aren’t things at all, but people, relationships, and goals.
And if I’m not careful I may turn around in a panic, devastated to find I missed it all.
I’m thirty years old today, and enough is enough. I am cutting it all out—every item, activity, commitment that doesn’t add value to my life is gone, or will be soon. Instead of wasting free time (the limited free time I have) staring mindlessly at screens, I’m going to produce. Create. Build.
And I’m going to write. Every day, at least something, for the entire year. I’m calling it my #wordythirty.
It’s going to be great.