I turned 30 last weekend.
Those of you who follow us on Facebook or Twitter would be aware that my husband’s 30th was only a few weeks earlier. We decided to do a joint party on my birthday (it was Saturday) and invited friends and family to join us. We had an amazing day with close to 50 people joining us to celebrate.
I put a lot of effort into planning the party so that it would be aligned with my values and life goals. By that I mean that I attempted to plan the party to be as close to zero waste as possible, and to be focused mainly on spending time with family and friends.
I created a large stack of cloth napkins which did get used, however when the cake was cut paper napkins were still used to distribute it.
The napkins I made were from leftover material in my sewing collection, mainly the scrappy bits too small for anything else.
Most of the food was homemade finger food with cocktail pies, pasties and sausage rolls purchased from the local bakery to supplement the food supply.
We used as many reusable items as possible and what wasn’t reusable I aimed to make compostable (cornstarch cups, bamboo plates, paper straws).
Although I did my best to pace myself in the days leading up to and the day of the party, it was still a much busier week than I would normally have and I have spent the last few days recovering. I’m starting to feel better now (Wednesday – 4 days after the party) but pain levels and fatigue levels have both been rather high the last few days.
Before I go further with this post, I just want to apologise for the large gap between posts lately. Both Janelle and I have been very busy working to put together the Back to Basics Workshop which will be starting in the next few weeks (You can still join if you’re interested).
Turning Thirty: Reflections
Large life changes are always times to reflect on where you have come from and consider where you want to go moving forward. Turning 30 is one of those times.
Looking back over my life I have always had pretty clear ideas of where I though I would be by the time I turned 30. Although some of these things have come true, my life is nothing like what I had imagined (as you’d expect).
My childhood and teens were spent making friends, spending time outside and getting to know the world around me. As I moved into my 20’s it became more about getting to know myself and becoming clearer about where I wanted to head.
During my 20’s I married my long term boyfriend, we bought our first house together and moved in, and got our own pets.
Early 20’s were focused on finishing study and starting my career as well as focusing on my health by exercising regularly at the gym.
Late 20’s my vision of myself, my career, and my health all changed when chronic pain and fatigue became a part of my life. My goals had to change to fit into my new reality. I could no longer be the ‘gym junkie’, the active outdoors person I was before…
Turning Thirty: Visions
Although part of my vision has stayed the same, I still want a family and to work in community engagement and sustainability, most of it has now been modified.
How do I see my 30’s going?
I will have a family (biological or adopted) and will be working in community engagement and sustainability field by consulting and providing services through this site.
I will find balance between work, social, and me time. This will include time for meditation and rest and some form of exercise (at this point walking and very basic yoga).
By finding balance and pacing well, I will recover to a point where I can enjoy travelling with my husband and family.
Our life will be as simple, sustainable and meaningful as possible.
Turning Thirty: The Plan
To make my vision come true I will need a plan. The plan is to answer the following questions:
What would make my/our life meaningful?
I’ve already begun answering this question by completing the 100 Goal Challenge last year, but through participating in our Back to Basics Workshop I’m going to review those goals and reassess what is meaningful to me.
I will also have discussions with my husband about what is meaningful to him so that we can make our future plans together.
How can I simplify my life?
A simple lifestyle is key to living well especially with chronic illness. By identifying areas in my life that I can simplify I should create more room to do the things that I meaningful.
Steps I’m already taking towards this are:
- Hiring a cleaner. Over the past few months I had been doing the cleaning myself again. To begin with I managed to keep up and do a good job, but I’ve found that as I’ve begun adding other meaningful activities into my life (like work), I no longer have the energy to do the cleaning as well. For the cost of $75 a fortnight it is worth having someone come in and clean for us.
- Simplifying my wardrobe. I’m finally getting to a point where I’m happy with my wardrobe. Through my decluttering efforts I’ve removed over half the items in my wardrobe that were not comfortable, didn’t suit my lifestyle, or were worn out and stained. My next post I’m going to share in detail what is left in my wardrobe.
How can we be more sustainable?
Because sustainability is one of my key values, this is a question that I’m constantly asking myself. I’m attempting to move us from single use and disposable items towards ones that can be reused over and over. Buying quality items that last (instead of large quantities of items) is also key to aiming for a more sustainable house.
This area is one that causes a bit of tension in our house though as my husband doesn’t necessarily understand my strong focus on this value. I’m not saying he doesn’t believe we should do our part to help the environment, it’s just that he thinks I take things too far a lot of the time. For example, he rolls his eyes each week when I take out my keep cup to use when we get takeaway drinks, and he doesn’t feel comfortable using my cloth bags for vegetables or asking the butcher and baker to use my containers (instead of plastic bags).
Another part of being sustainable is to be financially secure/independent/whatever term you’d like to use. This is something that I’m spending a lot of time researching at the moment. Security is one of my husband’s biggest values and so making sure we have enough money to live the lifestyle we want to and achieve our goals is very important to us.
Financially speaking we want to make sure we have enough saved for retirement (so we don’t have to rely on a pension that may not be around), we want to be able to travel and buy nice things when we want to (we have a large lego collection, good quality camera and camping gear, and my husband maintains his bikes), and we want to be debt free.
In general we are doing well in this area (our mortgage is our only debt) but, given I’m pretty much not working at the moment (I don’t bring in any regular salary), I’m not having money put into Super for me and we basically have to live off my husband’s salary. To me setting ourselves a financial plan for the next 2-5 years and belong is a key step to achieving our goal to live a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.
Next week I’ll be sharing my simple, sustainable, and (almost) minimal wardrobe with you.
Do you have a clear vision for the future and a plan to get there?
Have you got a financial plan in place to help you achieve your goals?