Today is my 31st birthday. This past June marked my 10-year anniversary as a born-again Christian. A person changes a lot in 10 years, but even more so when your entire paradigm and reason for living do a 180. So needless to say, most people who know me now would not recognize who I was back then, and vice versa. There are the obvious things that have changed, such as, I got married, moved to Denver and back again, and had a baby. But here are 10 not-so-obvious ones (in no particular order):
- I value friends who ‘get me’. My whole life, I’ve always had 1 or 2 really good friends that I did everything with. It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado that I realized how rare it is to find a friend who really understands you. I still have a couple of really good friends (who I met as an adult) and even though we don’t live in the same place geographically, we can talk on the phone or in person and pick up right where we left off.
- I value family more. I have been extremely blessed to have an amazing family and family-in-law. Travis and I moved back to Minnesota primarily to see our family more. Ten years ago, I enjoyed time with my family but I didn’t go out of my way to see them. We didn’t have any of our family in our wedding party. But in the past 10 years, I’ve seen plenty of friends come and go, and realize now that family is for life. I want to continue investing in those relationships, and grow closer to my siblings and their spouses.
- I am more confident in who God created me to be. I used to really struggle with feeling like I needed to be good at everything, and being scared of someone finding out that I wasn’t good at something. That mindset prevented me from living life to the fullest: I refused to try rock climbing in high school because I was scared I wouldn’t be good at it; I avoided playing sports at cookouts and parties because I didn’t want to reveal my ineptitude; I wouldn’t play Big Buck Hunter because I SUCK at it. But over the past 4-5 years, God has shown me that I don’t have to be everything; I can just be me. And I am not good at sports, trivia, shooting games, remembering dates and numbers, estimating distances or sizes, or recognizing tree species.
- I exercise and eat (mostly) healthy because I enjoy it. Ten years ago, exercise and dieting were solely means to losing weight. I obsessed over my body image constantly and struggled a lot with binge eating, which I compensated for by severely restricting calories and using exercise as ‘punishment’. When I started doing endurance sports in 2009, exercise turned into something I really enjoyed. In 2012, I did a book study at church called Love to Eat, Hate to Eat. God really did a work in my heart during that time, because since then, I hardly ever struggle with binge eating or body image. Praise be to Him! (As a side note, I fit into all of my pre-pregnancy clothes now!)
- I don’t spend more money than I make. I used to be horrible about using credit cards to buy things I couldn’t afford. My generous parents bailed me out more times than they should have. When I graduated from college and got a job, I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover (thanks to my bro Jeremy!) and got serious about living within my means. A year later, I got married. Travis is a saver, so he has also really helped rein in my ‘spender’ personality. We’re just getting going on using YNAB (You Need a Budget). I love it so far. Mint.com wasn’t cutting it.
- I wear yellow gold jewelry and pearls. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in yellow gold or pearls. They just weren’t my bag. A few weeks before we left Colorado, I bought some new earrings at Charming Charlie’s to replace my entire earring collection that got stolen out of our house when we were showing it (!?!?!?), and when I got them home, I realized that they were all yellow gold (color, not real obviously!). Ha.
- I buy timeless clothes, not trends. I feel so old saying this, but “at my age” I want my clothes to last for at least 4-5 years, if not longer. I don’t want a ‘time stamp’ put on my clothes by buying something that is majorly trendy. Examples: fluorescent colors, high-low/mullet skirts, ombre dyes, chunky necklaces, etc. I mocked the girls in college that wore UGGs with skirts and sweatpants (and there were a LOT of them). That said, I do buy into trends when they’re something I really like. Examples: tribal patterns, skinny jeans worn under tall boots, non-UGG boots, scarves.
- I dress modestly. Ten years ago, I dressed to attract attention from guys. Short skirts, plunging necklines, you name it, I wore it. But after hearing a talk about modesty during a Summer Beach Project, I got rid of all my revealing clothes and now I only buy/wear things that are modest. I’m not Amish about it – I still wear strapless dresses and shorts that fall above my knee. But the motive/idea behind it is to protect my brothers in Christ from stumbling, and save some things for my husband’s eyes only.
- I’m all about practicality. I used to buy whatever I liked or wanted (hence my overspending). Now, it doesn’t matter how cute something is; if it’s not practical, I’m not buying it. Practical, to me, means that: I will use it often enough to justify the price; it goes with my existing wardrobe or house decorations; I don’t already have something similar to it; it is versatile in color/purpose; and I will enjoy using it (no more uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion!).
- My taste buds changed. Ten years ago, I hated even the smell of coffee and thought butternut squash was the grossest vegetable next to pickled beets. But I developed a taste for coffee while studying abroad in Venezuela, and discovered that butternut squash is actually quite delicious. Pickled beets are still gross though.
And just to keep it even: 10 Ways I HAVEN’T Changed in the Past 10 Years
Some of these are review…
- I don’t buy into trends. I refused to get an iPod when they first came out, but when my Discman broke, I finally caved. I reluctantly got a touchscreen smart phone in 2010, thinking I’d prefer a real keyboard (touchscreen is definitely the way to go). I didn’t join Facebook until 2010. I still refuse to buy any Apple products.
- I suck at history and trivia knowledge.
- I hate scary movies.
- I hate rollercoasters.
- My first response to being disappointed or hurt is anger. It takes a lot to make me cry. Unless I’ve given birth to a baby in the previous 6 months.
- I love writing and reading.
- I suck at sports. I have no hand/eye coordination.
- I am better at expressing myself in written words, than by talking.
- I get extremely nervous when talking in front of a group.
- I love watching hockey. Playing it is another thing… see #7.