Pregnancy Is Gruesome

Working in the industry, I’m no stranger to internet targeting. I normally don’t mind. But there’s something highly invasive that happens online when you’re pregnant; a creepy little ticker that tries to normalize the horrible things happening to your body, that’s delivered to you weekly based on your e-behavior.

First, there’s the countdown.


10 Signs Your Bloody Show Is Coming!!

Welcome To Week 33! Can You Still Breathe?

Why It’s Okay That You Pee Yourself

Mucus Plugs: What’s the Dealio?
Then, there are the unwelcome Pinterest posts. What once offered pins like What To Pack for Thailand and World’s Most Magical Book Nooks has been replaced by progressively heinous images of breech babies, organ smashing, and heads literally popping out of vaginas. Look, Pinterest, I get enough of this from my nightmares and well-meaning friends asking “how scared are you?” and describing how awful C-sections are (thanks, jerks, and yes, it’s rude) to have you, my aspirational platform, turn on me, too.

Finally, my favorite is every platform trying to describe your baby’s every experience as something magical as well. I’m sorry, this junk is barbaric, and if we saw a stray animal do it, we’d call animal control.
This week, your little nugget is growing his coating of fur!

This week, your precious angel has shed his fur and is peeing at least one cup of urine a day inside your body.

This week, your sweet peanut is swallowing amniotic fluid, which includes his pee and all that fur he shed.

This week, your adorable cherub will arrive and greet you with his first bowel movement, full of fur.
I’m sorry – I’m into this baby and everything, but there is no way to convince me that’s not gross.

Pregnancy is weird enough without the constant reminders your body is turning on you and your child is basically a small Gremlin parasite. So, pregnant friends, a word to the wise, clear your cookies and don’t talk to unhelpful people. I prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of my bloody show’s 10 signs and greet this child without the foreknowledge that he’s basically eaten his own hairball. Cool?

Rage

Today, I woke up angry.

Not grumpy, but angry.

Brandon had fallen asleep on the couch and left the door unlocked all night after he came home from a gas station run. He was the first to get the wrath.

Next was the stray cat who thinks he’s invited into our house for breakfast – how did you get in here?! Scram!

Next was the Bank of America automated phone message, who refused to get me to a representative.

I don’t know why I was so angry today. Maybe it was because I had to get up for work while Brandon got the day off. Maybe it was because he fell asleep on the couch, again, and left me to sleep alone in the bedroom. Maybe it was because of hormones.

I think it really had to do with me frittering away my last true break before the baby and realizing this morning what I’d done.

We both spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s working nonstop: me putting in hours for my jobs, him putting in endless hours to finish our bathroom renovation, both of us making 5+ runs to Home Depot, cleaning the house from top to bottom, hiring a handyman to fix things around the house, organizing the office, making meals to freeze for postpartum time, getting our latest wills notarized, buying rugs for every room in the house, getting a new TV stand. Even in the moments we had available to chill, we couldn’t do it. We’d get cabin fever and venture out on another errand. I’d end up getting pinged for work. We missed the ball drop on New Year’s because we were cleaning our bathroom. Apropos end to 2016.

I am so over living under this kind of duress, and now it’s permeated into Brandon’s psyche. My once calm husband is now his own little whirling dervish of activity.

I don’t know what to do to break this cycle of panic before this child enters our lives. I pictured myself screaming at Cameron the way I did at the stray cat this morning. “Joey, get the FUCK out of my house! Next time you walk your ass in here, it’s going to the pound!” Not a healthy environment for a baby.

I’m angry, and sad, and tired, and restless. You’re supposed to feel rejuvenated after a long period of a break, right? So why are we headed into 2017 feeling more tired than we were before Christmas? And will the To Do list, once a Bucket List and now a haunting Honey Do list, ever really be Done?

300 Before 30

I have never been busier. I like being busy, but there’s certainly a balance to strike.

I’m booked pretty solidly as far as work through the end of the year, balancing three clients simultaneously and making sure all are feeling the love. Come January, my hours cut back a bit, which is probably a good thing, as I’ll want to be nesting while also dragging around a full-on extra human strapped to my front.

There’s so much preparation – the holidays and gifting, vet appointments, doctor appointments (I’m changing OBs and hospitals at the 11th hour, NBD), daycare shopping/applications, updating wills, errands, finishing the bathroom remodel, invoicing, budgeting, thank you notes, travel (4x trips over 3 weeks), getting the nursery ready (while it’s filled with remodel crap), and political activism. I am drowning a bit.

However, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Head down for December and sprint from weekend to weekend. We’ll get there.

In the meantime, it’s been clear how much love is in our lives. I am naturally very resistant to favors and help; feeling like an imposition makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I hate feeling even remotely incapable. But being in the situation we’re in, Brandon and I are having to lean on others a bit. His mom planned a lovely baby shower for us last week, and we were overwhelmed by the amount of love his extended family brought forward – including many people I hadn’t even met before. This coming weekend, we have a maternity photo shoot and another baby shower my amazing friends and family are throwing. It would be impossible not to feel blessed.

My priorities have shifted from trying to tackle my “list before 30” (partially because some of those things are physically impossible at this point), but I’m nevertheless still running the long game. Life has never been crazier but I’m also, against all my instincts, welcoming help from a few directions as we screech into the finish (or starting) line. So thank you to those wonderful people who are our support system. I hate asking favors. But I feel so lucky to have them delivered without even asking the question. I love you all.

Turn Your Frown Upside Down

I’ve been in a pretty significant funk for the last few weeks, like many of us have. I don’t see coming out of it anytime soon. And I don’t frankly care about being called over-sensitive or a whiny Millennial or whatever kinds of insults people think are warranted these days, because my opinion of those lobbing them is below most pond scum.

But for my own sanity, I have to find silver linings, and I need to lift my spirits. I have to remember how much there is to be grateful for today, the day of one of two baby showers being planned for our little one, who is in his seventh month of gestation. Very soon, Brandon and I will be a family with a baby, and he will turn our lives upside down.

I can’t wait to take him to the zoo and watch him grow, read books with him and teach him how to talk. I look forward to his hugs and cuddles, and to taking him on trips with us so he, too, can become a citizen of the world. I look forward to watching him love all over our animals, and learn to ride a bike.

I’m hoping that by doing our small part to bring a beautiful, considerate, race and diversity-conscious little boy into the world, we will be giving something back and not just taking away from the planet. We are so lucky to have that opportunity.

Today, I am thankful for my growing business, and the supportive people I work with, who are as happy as I am that I’m expanding my family. I’m thankful for my clients and the ease of this transition into self-employment – because even though there’s been a lot of effort, I can’t complain about where things stand.

I am thankful for a family who loves and understands me, supports me, and holds the same core values I do. I am thankful for a husband who is the kindest man I know.

I am thankful for a world that is full of hope, and different kinds of people. I am thankful for whiny Millennials who won’t let a wrinkle in time permanently crease the future. I am thankful to be part of a moment in history in which my actions will truly be for the good of others, I can put my money where my mouth is, and schoolchildren will one day read about right and wrong – and I will be able to say I have no regrets.

I am thankful for my pets, who are blissfully ignorant of anything other than our love, and the occasional fallen piece of turkey.

Today, I am thankful for life. And tomorrow, I’ll try to be thankful for the future.

Love Trumps Hate

Since the election, in between bouts of interminable sadness, I have:

  • Called my senators to oppose the appointment of Steve Bannon
  • Emailed my electors about their upcoming vote
  • Called Rep John Lewis to thank him for his service
  • Gone to my first neighborhood meeting
  • Worn a safety pin
  • Voted in favor of keeping the ACA via Paul Ryan’s phone poll (despite the long pre-recorded diatribe he made me sit through before getting to it)
  • Put out a “Love Trumps Hate” yard sign
  • Donated to Planned Parenthood (in the name of a Trump supporter – thanks, Kevin)
  • Made mashed potatoes for a local teacher appreciation lunch
  • Bought lunch boxes for a couple of kids from an impoverished family

I am taking this opportunity of immense grief to be motivated to action.

I’m not giving up, and neither should you.

To the people in my hometown who voted for Trump

Hey.

It’s been a while since I spoke with you. It’s intentional.

I lived among you in a small Georgia town during a highly charged time in my life, my teenage years. During my time with all of you, I felt marginalized, pushed to the fringes, and completely unheard. I was told regularly that I was going to hell, my beliefs in tolerance and acceptance of others were naive and unholy, that had I dated a black man I would be socially rejected, and that all the things I’d been raised to hold dear were patently unsupported.

I have never felt more alone than I did among all of you.

I have had so much anger and resentment over 2016’s election. I can’t fathom how anyone with a heart or a head could have voted for a monster. But I forget that 14 years erases many memories. I forget I’ve been living among my people since I ran away from all of you.

I realize in this moment, though, that in the same way I felt so ostracized and erased by you, you’ve felt the same way for years about the city folk I find my home with. Your way of life has not only been threatened, it’s been all but erased for years, and you are desperate.

I believe many of you were racist, xenophobic, and homophobic when I lived with you. I also believe, and hope, that most of you have evolved in the past two decades. I have watched many of you fork away into lives of your own outside of our country town, choosing to expose yourself to a point of view other than your own. I have also watched your town begrudgingly welcome “some gays” who renovated plantation homes near the church – and then, much to your shock, join your Baptist church. (“They’re actually very nice; we were concerned they were heathens but they’re actually normal people.”)

I have seen the race gap closing by micro-inches at a time, as your Millennials marry each other and give birth to some of the most beautiful, race-ambiguous children you’ve ever seen. I can see the stigmas falling away, albeit 30 years behind the rest of the world.

I am furious at you. But I don’t believe most of you voted Trump out of hate.

We elitist liberals, particularly those of us who have the inherent benefit of being straight and white, have the privilege to denounce you and scream, “How can you care about your taxes when my rights, and the rights of my neighbors, are at stake?”

I forget quickly that if I’d asked, your response might have been, “How can you care about your neighbors’ rights when my family can’t eat?”

I get it. I get it. You needed a system shake-up and you voted for the man who promised it. Your jobs are disappearing and your town is dying. The Town Square is a shell of its former self and the church is rapidly losing members. Half the county is on welfare and you struggle between needing to enroll yourself and chastising those who milk the system, because you’re proud of how hard you work to support your family, even when tough times make your paycheck meager. Washington hasn’t given a shit about you for years, and even though I believe he tried his damndest to pass legislation to help you and was often stopped by dissenters from the opposite party, Obama has indeed largely failed on his promise of change for you.

Your desperation urged you to miss the hint that Trump (and I say this with no quiver in my voice) will fail you, spectactularly. He has only ever demonstrated one consistent value in his life: pure and total self-interest. I suspect you see this, too. But you also knew for sure (and I’m apt to agree) the alternative would fail you as well. At least this guy screamed, “Fuck the system.”

Here’s where I can’t go: I can’t accept that we’ve landed here. I don’t actually believe that in this long ideology war between you and me since I lived with you, that I lost and you “finally won.” I don’t think it’s about winning and losing right now. It’s about fixing this terrible mistake.

Let’s all agree on a few things, if we can.

  • The system has failed you, and we failed to notice.
  • The person coming into power will not save you and now has no incentive to care.
  • This awful moment has presented us an opportunity to change the system for the better. Because for all the awfulness that came out this week, we liberals now have an incentive to listen to you – and we wouldn’t have otherwise.

 

But I need you to understand the side that is so passionately protesting right now as well. For our fault in ignoring you, you have also adamantly chosen to insulate yourselves from our side. Let’s be clear: this is not an issue of sour grapes, it’s actually an issue of the same Christian values you yourselves promote. Tolerance and love of others, inclusiveness and making people feel safe, finding the common humanity in others. And on Tuesday, everyone who wasn’t a straight white man felt as marginalized as you have for years… and even worse, they lost all sense of personal safety. WWJD?

We have to fix this for them, too. The easy road is to live inside of a bubble and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. But this road will end. You have the choice now to embrace another path, and to get outside of your comfort zone to recognize the hate wrought upon this world because the same system-shaker you supported is also tacitly encouraging a civil war. You must do the hard thing, the uncomfortable thing, and open your minds and hearts to your fellow man. Wear your safety pin knowing you voted with your heart but need to change your mind. Our country depends on you right now, because without your support, in four years, we will oust this president and return to status quo. Without mutually working on empathy, we will continue to fight each other.

I am angry with you. Against all the values I was raised with, I dance on the precipice of hate. But I am trying to understand your fucking side, because I know there is one. I just need to hear that you’re going to work with me to fix this disaster we’re in, so some of this anger can dissipate and you won’t feel pushed back to the fringes the next time around. So that as we ride this roller coaster of horror for the next four years, we agree that we’re all going to fix it and truly not let love trump hate… on either side.

I’m Sorry, Baby. There Is No Hope.

I wanted to write a post I could share with our growing baby Cameron one day; a message of hope and unity that reassures him not to worry. I wanted to tell him people are inherently good, and that the sun will rise again, and there is still worth in being a person who cares about people, a person who defends good.

But I’m not sure I believe those things today.

Today, it’s the End of Days. This is a travesty this country hasn’t seen in more than a hundred years. This is the precipice of civil war. This is the brink of worldwide disaster. This is evil incarnate.

I also wish I could say I believe anything I’m saying is hyperbole, or an overreaction. That it’s a response to the immediate aftermath of half of our country electing the least-qualified, most despicable human being we’ve ever encountered in American politics. I wish I could say it was fueled only by the anger that everyone who wasn’t a white man was told on Tuesday that they don’t matter.

But it’s not. It’s all of those things, but it’s not just those things. This is a tragedy. This is the end of our world as we know it.

Cameron may spend his life dodging the reality of life in this country, and he may not spend large chunks of it in this country at all. He may very well grow up in poverty. At a minimum, he will grow up in a world in which he is reminded that his rights matter more than his neighbor’s. But to be perfectly honest, that is now the least of my concerns.

I can’t speak the man’s name who will be leading this country. It’s still too painful to know in my heart that this world is not only full of hate, but that in the perhaps even more important war between stupid and smart, we lost. In the battle between good and evil, evil reigns.

This person who will be leading our country has built a fortune on the backs of those who voted him into office. He has exploited them, used them, and wrung them out like tissues for his own personal economic gain (and often, even more ironically, his disastrous financial failures). He rose to power by living in an age that values rhetoric, celebrity and swagger over truth. He feasted gleefully on the disenfranchised anti-intellectuals.

What’s worse, his cold open was to the most deplorable fringes of society, leveraging lunatics to project his messages more publicly. Yesterday, those nonhumans were justified in feeling superior to all the groups they hate so much.

Half of the country–the uneducated white half, driven by men–have also voted to surround this elect with a group of politicians who will push legislation to his desk, legislation he and his VP will endorse, that takes social progress back ten decades. The checks and balances Bush removed from the Executive Branch will be exploited to the fullest potential, just as this elect’s taxes were exploited within an inch of their life to cost this country payment on a billion dollars of income he had graciously been forgiven by debtors. This unchecked power will lead decisions around economic policies, foreign relations, human rights, and war.

I look at men differently today. There is a fear now, a fear that I could be sexually assaulted with no recourse, a fear that I won’t be able to obtain birth control, a fear that very soon, a decision about whether or not to move forward with a pregnancy, no matter how early on–a choice I made six months ago–will no longer be an option because men decided it wasn’t my place. That if something awful happened to Cameron tomorrow, I would have to potentially carry him to term and deliver a stillborn baby, or a baby that wouldn’t live more than a few hours, or die myself, because white men in Michigan decided it was their right to make that call.

Today, I have an anger and a hatred for men like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I feel so fortunate to be married to a kind man who supports reality, who supports minorities and the underprivileged, and supports women. Because if I wasn’t, I would be painting all men with the same broad brush. It’s already hard not to do that.

The social unrest this whole disaster has created is terrible. It’s a justified horror. But that’s only the beginning of what’s to come.

The economy already began its implosion on the eve of this news. The world is not on our side, and may never be again. Our enemies are licking their chops and congratulating our new elect. Those who voted Red this year are cheering now, but will be losing whatever jobs they have in the months to come. They will lose their homes and see their taxes increased dramatically as Wall Street pilfers their pockets. Big businesses will pay minimal to no taxes and cripple the system. The world will react to our plummeting dollar by reminding us that we reap what we sow.

The pathetic individuals who felt unheard last week celebrate today, but they are blind to the horrors that will hit them the hardest. And they will find that in the aftermath, the half that could even possibly help them will tell them to go fuck themselves.

I have always considered myself a tolerant and nonjudgmental person. Yesterday, I was reminded that I can only extend that love to those without intended malice in their hearts.

Today, there is no God.

No God of mine planned this.

There will be no forgiveness from me on; there will be no unity and peace and love for the other side. I will bind together with all the people who were wronged this week, the people who are smart enough to have seen this train coming long before it hit us (but never in a million years expected it would), and we will save ourselves. We will cry, we will lick our wounds, and we will have no sympathy for the pain the other side will endure at their own hands. Because we will be too busy getting our own asses out of this fire. And the thing we have going for us is that our collective IQ is above 80, so at least we have a shot.

I won’t say all the things I predict, because they are all dire and I’m feeling a little superstitious. I have yet to see much out there that predicts otherwise at this point. There is a real possibility that one of these days, the sun will not rise again. We have seen this history before, but never on an eve of the world balancing on such a precipice already. We are economically unsound worldwide. Our environment is crumbling around us. Today, we are all filled with rage. At this point in history, many countries have weapons that could wipe out the whole planet in moments.

So today, I can’t tell Cameron it will all be okay.

Today, I am apologizing to him that I’m bringing him into such a disgusting world.

Today, I regret creating him, not because I don’t love him – but because I do.

A Woman’s Worth

This year, a couple major life changes have happened: I started my own business and I got pregnant.

The welcoming of a child into our family is becoming more and more real. I can feel his kicks, his happy reactions, and I cry when I see the sweet ultrasounds or hear his heartbeats. I love seeing him thrash his tiny fists and get bigger each time we see the doctor. Our family is going to be so full with love, and even the animals are showing how attached they are to him already (Alice protects me even more now; MonkeyBaby keeps my tummy warm).

But there is another side to me, an important side that I refuse to diminish. A side I am extremely, fundamentally proud of and want to scream about from the rooftops. It’s the side that is thriving in spite of the physical and mental challenges my body is going through, and a side I desperately want to talk about more.

I am the president of my own company. I have become and independent contractor and been FT gainfully employed for the past 3 of 4 months – and am scheduled to in fact add clients to that roster, without losing the first, over the upcoming two months (one of which is PT permanent, from home, and at my full hourly rate). I am already looking toward expansion, and at minimum, an offsite personal workspace. I’ve navigated accountants and contracts and business licenses and pitches and invoicing. I have my own LLC, operating as an S-Corp, and I actually know what that means. I’m making more money than I ever have, and by a pretty large margin.

There is a terror inside of me that gainful employment won’t always come at the rate it is now. I expect a softer summer. There is a seasonality and a market trend to my industry, and I’m smart enough to know the pitfalls of being independent. Taxes are a sword in the heart. Figuring out healthcare isn’t easy, and I’ve now added the monthly cost of business insurance.

But the conversations I have about these things are few and far between. The fears and the proud moments and the strides in an unfathomably short period of time are falling by the wayside as every conversation turns to the responsibility I will add to my life in four months. My friends wonder why I’m not spending hours on Pinterest, browsing through costumes I’ll eventually dress the baby in for Halloween. It’s because I’m trying to welcome everything in its time. And right now, I’m excited about the incredible achievements I’ve made in my career… there’s still time to be similarly excited about this baby.

I love this baby, and I’m thrilled to be a mom. I’m terrified of what that will come with as well. I’m afraid of the expense, afraid of the sleeplessness, afraid of the selflessness. But I’m trying to do the thing I’ve never been good at and slow down to smell the roses around me. However long this lasts, my career is as good as it’s ever been right now. It may not be forever – and it may not be a choice forever. But it’s good right now, I’m busier than I ever have been with work, and I want to tell the world.

I love talking about the baby – all the weird things pregnancy brings, musing about the kind of person he’ll be, thinking about how we’ll spend holidays together as a family at home, melding traditions together. But I’m more than a vessel for a child, and in four months, I will be more than a mother. I will be a woman. A flawed, scared, sometimes selfish woman who’s balancing a shit-ton of stuff.

I will never be that mom who lives exclusively for her child. I want to raise him to be happy, thriving, independent, and self-sufficient. I want him to know that women are more than aides to men. I will never question my choice to continue working, as that’s a part of me I don’t want to lose. Trust me – I will never look down on a mom who chooses to make her whole life about raising a family, as that’s as noble a task as I can imagine and one of the most selfless choices a person can make. It’s just simply not mine.

I hope that after a couple years, I can start to once again have the conversations about the well-roundedness of life and how our child is now an important part of it (but not all of it). Because I’m fucking proud of myself right now, and I think that’s worth something. I just wish it was worth something to everyone else.

I Am A Privileged White Girl

I am a privileged white girl.

I have lived my life in only partial recognition of the special treatment I get for the color of my skin, often unaware of the inherent leg up it’s given me in life.

I have, arguably, a white name. Certainly a white last name. It’s the name on my resume. My pale white skin is my profile picture on social media and the first thing a cop sees driving my Prius around. It’s the picture on my AirBnB and the face I bring to job interviews. It’s the face I brought to classrooms and cheer tryouts and theater auditions. It’s the face of unearned privilege.

I didn’t ask for privilege. Much like exceptionally beautiful people don’t ask for special treatment or comped drinks; much like little people don’t ask to be stared at when they walk down the street because they look different.

You don’t notice when you’re given something others aren’t because that’s how you’ve always lived your life. But I am thankful for the curtain that’s been pulled back through social media that has allowed me a better glimpse into why my whiteness is a crutch and an inherent benefit. Because although I have actively tried my whole life not to treat anyone differently on the basis of their appearance, it’s hard to notice when that’s happening to me. I can’t control for the racism, intentional or subconscious, of other people.

My friends get pulled over for driving while black. This isn’t an exaggeration; every black person I know has been pulled over for essentially no reason at least once. Brandon and I never have. In fact, we’ve sped right past cops, with no retribution. We’ve never had our cars or bodies searched, or a gun pulled on us by an officer.

I’ve never been in a room in which someone said, “Let’s not hire this person because they are black, or an immigrant, or Indian.” Racism isn’t bold and blatant in most cases. It’s not a proclamation made to a room of people, an announcement of a phobic stereotype lurking in the backs of people’s minds. It’s probably not even something people realize they’re doing.

But there is no doubt in my mind that my resume name, social profiles, and my white face, have risen closer to the top of a candidate pile over someone who looks different than me. Much like I am positive I’ve been passed up for job opportunities because I was a woman, been paid half of what my male counterpart was making, and been rejected for a job opportunity because I’m pregnant (actually, those last two aren’t assumptions, they’re facts).

I cannot believe this is the world we live in. But what angers me more than my incredulousness that racism is still an issue is the way we respond to it nationally. There are many supportive white people behind Black Lives Matter, but there are also many who don’t understand what all the fuss is about. This was illustrated when an athlete made a peaceful protest at a game to basically say he can’t support a country that kills people who look like him and doesn’t prosecute. Colin Kaepernick didn’t make a violent protest or start some sort of mutiny. He simply, silently, said he was sick of the race issue in this country being ignored. And yet hundreds of thousands of white people took to social media to complain about his lack of patriotism and tell  him it wasn’t his place to protest. Um… if a cop shot your son in the back for no reason and the government did nothing about it, wouldn’t you lose a little patriotism, too? Patriotism doesn’t mean being proud of your country unconditionally. It means being proud because you’re in a country that warrants your pride.

It is simply sick that the United States allows laws to be passed, albeit thinly veiled, that discriminate against black people, especially those with lower incomes, being able to vote, move to districts with better education systems, have better access to jobs and healthy food, and raise their children safely. Many black families thrive in spite of the limitations and challenges placed on them, but it’s not without fighting a system designed to hold them back. Are we fucking serious, here?

I say all this as a privileged white girl who was once mugged at gunpoint by a black man. I know the support and environment I had growing up were different from his; I know his life clearly couldn’t have been easy; I know this troubled person wasn’t representative of everyone who shares his skin color.

I say all this as a privileged white girl who grew up in a town known for self-segregation, a town in which someone at my private school once sincerely asked me, “Why did you leave the public school? Too many black folks?” (Hence the start of my homeschooling and urgent exodus to college.)

I say this as a privileged white girl who recently had a tough conversation with her husband about whether to move to a better school district, and neither of us could stomach living in a homogenized neighborhood, being part of a “white flight” epidemic that is so profoundly unjustified and disgusting that we can’t imagine being lumped in with it.

I say this as a privileged white girl who, first and foremost, recognizes her inherent privilege and encourages others to do so. It’s only when you start to realize the daily shackles that are placed on those without your advantages that you realize where all the anger is coming from. And it’s only when you accept that you are given more than others that you can actively start to fight for them to receive the same as you.

 

P.S. I feel it important to note that I once said the words “all lives matter” publicly, not as a racist reaction to “black lives matter,” but as a pacifist. These killings of unarmed black men at the time had led to the shooting of several police officers, and it hurt my heart to see the completely justified anger of one group turn violent against another. I feared we were facing a civil war. I don’t agree with violent retaliation. I’m a flower-in-the-gun kind of girl. And I truly do believe that all lives matter. However, the reason we say that black lives matter isn’t to place one group of people on a pedestal over another. It’s because there’s already an inherent assumption in society that white lives matter, and if you can’t see that, you’ve got to merely open your eyes. We need to stress right now that just as we all know white lives matter… so do everyone else’s.

The Countdown Begins

We’re about 8 months away from D-Day (turning 30) and life is changing dramatically. I won’t have done everything on my bucket list, but I will have done most, and then some. Plus, much to my surprise, I’ll be a mom before May. I mean, unless this kid wants to camp out for an extra 3 months.

Going freelance has been an incredible experience. It was absolutely terrifying and not always gratifying – particularly as I found out about our impending child mere days before my first day as a self-employed person. However, it really sometimes does feel like everything works out as it should. That first month of self-employment was an exhausting time of sickness for me, so although I was frustrated about not being as productive as I wanted, I couldn’t have asked for better timing. Beginning my first FT contract gig has been a great lesson in how this whole thing should work (and it’s been wonderful!), and also forced Brandon and me to budget more than we ever have before just to ensure we are good to go in cashflow times both positive and negative. We even met with a financial consultant who was ultimately very encouraging, although his suggestion that we aim to retire at 67 with $14M seemed like a bit of a stretch. Come on. If you have $10M at age 60, you’re not working that next 7 years. (And in all seriousness, like we’ll ever have that kind of money?!)

So where do we leave this crazy list of mine? Let’s take a quick look – as it’s unlikely to change before my birthday.

 

30. Climb a mountain.

29. Run a 10k.

28. Nail a handstand in yoga.

27. Get spiritual.

 

EDUCATION

26. Learn a language.

25. Master a skill.

24. Read some books that actually mean something.

23. Develop some knowledge about cars.

 

TRAVEL

22. Visit Thailand.

21. Take a trip with my Dad.

20. See a Wonder of the World.

19. Take a cross-country road trip with Brandon.

 

 

LIFE CHANGES

18. Volunteer regularly somewhere for at least 6 months.

17. Turn off the T.V. for a week.

16. Finish my book.

 

MONEY MATTERS

15. Invest in 5 diversified stocks.

14. Build retirement fund.

I mean, it’s no $14M, but we’ve been saving.

13. Own a second home.

 

EVOLVE MY RELATIONSHIPS

12. Get closer with my sister.

11. Go on a walk at least once a week with Brandon.

10. Try something more sexually adventurous than usual.

9. Be a good in-law.

8. Send a real letter to a friend every month for a year.

 

TEST MY LIMITS

7. Zip line.

6. Participate in a big cultural event like a music festival or Oktoberfest.

5. Swim with a shark. Or at least sting rays.

4. Learn to surf. Or at least try.

3. Be personally responsible for winning a big piece of business.

2. Perform in a play or musical.

 

 

PERSONAL SATISFACTION

1. Learn to be happy just as I am.

I’m actually closer to this one than I’ve ever been before. Go figure.