36 Recommendations

Tomorrow is my 36th birthday.

It does not feel like a significant event, really. Along with my usual joy of celebrating my life on this planet, I found myself in contented state of mind. Last year, when I turned 35, I experienced a bit of a mid-thirties crisis and quickly decided to return to school to obtain my bachelor’s degree before age 40. I also decided to plan several trips for our family, to finally get my husband and I enrolled in classes to become foster parents, and to write a book.

Big plans and dreams are “kinda my thing”.

I certainly have grand plans for the coming year. Yet, if 2020 has taught me anything, it is to hold those plans loosely, for one never knows what will happen from day to day.

So, this year, to mark my birthday, I am writing this post to recommend to the few people who may read this post a few things that I enjoy. A few books to read. A few practices to undertake. A few thoughts to ponder.

Let’s pretend I am rich and famous. I am a celebrity – an Oprah! So the world has to listen to what I have to say.

After all, it is my birthday.

These are in no particular order as they all mean something to me.

Here is what I recommend:

  1. Sitting still more often.
  2. Reading the Bible, particularly the Psalms.
  3. Listening to your partner
  4. Dancing, dancing, dancing!
  5. Playing music loudly and singing along.
  6. Learning a new language, even just a word or two.
  7. Making a friend.
  8. Writing poetry. Even if it isn’t good poetry. Who cares?
  9. Leaving the dishes in the sink & playing with your kids.
  10. Reading as many books as you can. Never be anywhere without a book.
  11. Enjoying ice cream…or cake…or pie…. Really enjoy it.
  12. Spending time in the sun.
  13. Planting a garden. Dirt is fun.
  14. Drawing, or sketching, or painting, or coloring. Just put something on paper. I’m learning how to sketch, thanks to YouTube.
  15. Learning a new skill. I recently learned how to convert .WAV files to MP3 files.
  16. Taking a class. I recommend classes from Sophia Learning. They offer wonderful material.
  17. Memorizing something. I am memorizing a Wordsworth poem, but it does not have to be poetry. Just memorize some lines, or a song, or….something.
  18. Performing acts of kindness to those around you — those in your household, your workplace, and your neighborhood.
  19. Telling your partner, “Thank you.” Don’t take him or her for granted.
  20. Apologizing to your children. A perfect parent does not exist. Saying sorry to my son is something I do almost every day.
  21. Putting words on paper. Perhaps this recommendation is because I am a writer, but words on paper do the soul good. So I recommend creating a gratitude list, or a journal entry, or even just writing about something or someone you love.
  22. Taking long, slow walks in nature.
  23. Seeing a therapist. I have written on this in the past, but I will say it again. There is no shame in needing help. Talking to someone helps.
  24. Saying “please” and “thank you”. Courtesy need not be lost if we practice it.
  25. Watching movies under a blanket outside. I have done this with friends in the summer. It is wonderful.
  26. Sleeping under a weighted blanket. Call me privileged, but this was the best gift I have received in 2020. Delicious sleep under this blanket.
  27. Calling someone you love who lives far away and catching up.
  28. Setting boundaries with relationships and respecting them.
  29. Listening to Podcasts. Specifically, the Robcast, TedTalks Daily, and Forever 35. But of course, my new podcast with my dad, The Preacher & Her Dad, is pretty fun too….
  30. Listening to an online church service. Red Rocks Church and FlatIrons Church both have amazing pastors and worship songs.
  31. Meditating each day, even if just for a few minutes. This is a new practice for me but it keeps my mind calm and my emotions regulated.
  32. Moving your body daily. I run, I walk, I stretch, I go to the gym. It really does not matter what you do, as long as you move.
  33. Taking breaks from social media and the internet. I love the internet; I’m on the internet. But it is a busy place to spend all of one’s time, so vacationing from it is highly recommended.
  34. Giving away something to someone else. Just because.
  35. Indulging in anything pumpkin flavored this season. I especially love pumpkin spice lattes (cliche, I know) and pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts.
  36. Hugging the ones close to you. Tightly.

That’s it. 36 recommendations.

From my heart to yours on the eve of my 36th birthday.

Who knows what the year ahead will bring?

All my love,


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