This is the year folks.
The year I turn the big 3-0.
Honestly, I’m quite excited as I’ve been looking forward to 30 for awhile. I find nothing daunting or depressing about it, instead just a chance to grow older, wiser, and settle into this life God has laid before me. Perhaps I’m one of the strange ones, but I’m not fearful of aging. I’m looking forward to it, especially this next decade and all it holds.
My twenties have been hard. I’ve have had a constant struggle these last ten-ish years about who I really am and what I’m doing in the world. At times, I found myself trying to live according to an invisible timeline I had, as some point, set for myself. But God, in all of His wonder and hilarity, has given me many chances to persevere and learn how to deal with a change of plans.
I feel that as I draw near to 30, I’m finally “figuring myself out” in the sense that God is revealing my original design: the woman HE created me to be. Though the struggle I’ve had with my identity hasn’t been easy, looking back I can see how each hard time I’ve faced has helped shape me into the woman I am becoming.
With a few short months to go, I’ve started an unofficial countdown of sorts based around my original design. My birthday is December 1st, and though I keep dropping hints to my husband about throwing me a surprise party (1920’s themed murder mystery dinner complete with costumes) or taking me on a surprise trip to Harry Potter world, I don’t have list of 30 things to do before I’m 30.
And I probably won’t come up with one either.
I tried that once, leading up to my 25th birthday, when I was in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, and it didn’t really work. Besides, my original design isn’t really that much of a follower. I’m more of someone who wants to blaze a path.
Though I would welcome a trip to Harry Potter world or a giant surprise party, I’m not setting expectations because I think instead of doing this year, I would rather give.
I’ve been working on my first novel much more in the last six months then I have since I originally got the idea a few years ago. My plan is to finish it before I’m 30, so that shortly after my birthday, I can start sending out some queries for publication. It’s a goal, but it’s also a lifelong dream, and one I’m determined to chase. I’m calling it 30,000 before 30 to myself even though there’s a big chance I’ll be writing more words than that.
I’ve set this goal because I’m writing a story that I hope, someday, somewhere, will impact a reader. I want to give my stories to the world.
The second part of my doing is to become a steward of a Little Free Library on our front lawn in hopes of offering a place where people (mostly kids) can find a book when the need it.
[If you haven’t heard of the Little Free Library movement, it’s an organization/movement where little libraries are installed in public places and patrons are able to take books as they need them, and then either return the book or donate others.They are literally little free libraries.]
Part of my manifesto in life is about believing in the power of story, and how books find us when we need them the most. There is so much injustice in the world and things that we should fight for and I know that there are hundreds and thousands of organizations that do good in the world, but literacy and stories are something that I believe in and fight for.
2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.
-U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2007
Even if I don’t feel settled in teaching, it has taught me just how important it is to encourage and teach kids to read. Reading is not only a skill that will take us through life, but it offers escape and joy when life just doesn’t make sense.
And so, I want a space that will serendipitously connect children with stories.
I could easily buy a library kit form the website, stick it on our lawn, and call it done, but I want this to mean more to me. So, I’ve decided to build something original. I’m working on a design, and some ideas, and my plan is that this will be a children’s book library only (picture, middle grade, and YA) because that’s where my heart is at with stories.
I’d love to own a children’s bookstore someday, and who knows, maybe this is a start!
I’ll try to keep my blog updated with my journey here and there, and if you have any books you’d like to donate to my library once it’s up and running, I’m sure I’ll be up for collecting them.
Until then, here’s to my countdown.