New 36

24 March 2023

On my birthday, I wrote about my spirit age, or subjective age, of 36 – the age I’ve consistently felt on the inside since my late teens. Dancing around the edge of those musings was something else I’ve been sitting with, though it didn’t make it into the essay proper: the idea that I don’t change. This is less of a settled fact I believe about myself and more an idea I’m holding up to the light, twisting and turning to see how it looks from different angles. Does it square when held up against other things I know to be true about myself?

The answer: yes and no. Yes, I think I am an unusually consistent person, and have been for a long time. I value stability and loyalty and wisdom. I married my high school sweetheart. I have worked for the same company my whole adult life (albeit with twists and turns along the way). I made a major geographical move after college but have stayed put ever since. My faith has remained true. This blog you’re reading has been around for 14 years.

But also: I used to fear and loathe speaking in front of a crowd, and now I volunteer for it. We worship in a new community. I am hugely more comfortable with small talk, and now rather likely to extend forward invitations in friendship. I compost and use washable cotton rounds and somehow learned to use my Instant Pot. I camp and hike. I read things I disagree with daily, and sometimes they change my mind.

Let’s consider this a little home tour preview, shall we? :)

Change and novelty do not always come naturally to me, but I see their value. And so, in my 36th year, I am – very loosely, very casually – embarking on a “new 36” experiment. (“New 52” has much more of a ring to it, but 52 felt a bit overwhelming :)) The plan is to seek out the new that feels like it would add something to my life. I’m thinking of it more as a “to done” list than a “to do” list, with more room for serendipity than some of my other projects.

That being said, I do have a few ideas – some of which I’ve already checked off or that are in process…

Take tennis lessons
Place an order on ThredUp
Pray on my knees first thing in the morning
Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
Donate blood (I come from a family of prodigious blood donors and have grand aspirations but have always been near the weight limit and somewhat prone to fainting…)
Find a perfume I love
Replace my beloved hat with a new look
Camp for the weekend with my best big girl
Chaperone a field trip
Take a day trip via train to Greensboro
Bike the whole American Tobacco Trail

What would be on your list? What new thing would you like to do or try? This experiment was inspired in part by my friend Shay, who shared about her “new 52” project in her 38th year. Some things she’s tried so far: throwing pottery, a new discipleship friendship, visiting a new country (!), a hot yoga class, a personal training session, a new marriage devotional, and attending a hockey game.

I also floated my idea to the Articles Club gals and they had ideas of their own. New things my pals want to try: install a Little Free Library, learn to use power tools, donate a kidney (!), play pickle ball with friends, and plant herbs.

So: what would be on your list? Or what new thing, big or small, have you tried in the last year? I’d love to hear!

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Kelly Strawberry
March 24, 2023 8:07 am

Life begins where your comfort zone ends. :)

April 4, 2023 3:09 pm

Everything Worth Doing Starts with being Scared!

Kelly H
March 24, 2023 8:47 am

This is so fun to think of! Embarking on marriage in February, I feel like we got a new leaf as we started this new season. I’m looking forward to taking pickleball lessons, needlepointing Christmas stockings, and getting outside more.

March 24, 2023 5:34 pm

I love this! 2023 has been my year of trying new things. I did a polar plunge with my husband and friends on New Year’s Day, took up Pickleball (and am obsessed!), went on a girls trip to Solvang, CA and am working on a creative pursuit.

Id like to lift weight and learn how to journal effectively and keep it up. Id also like to try my hand at sourdough bread.

March 24, 2023 6:44 pm

This is so fun! It reminds me somewhat of the “101 in 1001” list that Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling posts every few years (as each list of 101 goals takes approximately 2.75 years). Some of the items I might put on a list like this for myself are go to the opera (I haven’t been in ages!), complete a New York Times crossword puzzle, take a class on growing roses at my local botanical gardens, and visit a state we haven’t been to before with my husband.

March 25, 2023 4:27 am

This was really encouraging. I’m approaching 30 and am trying to be more intentional about living fully awake. I’d like to embark on a similar journey. Thanks for the inspiration!

March 25, 2023 9:38 am

Finding a perfume I love is one of my goals this year – having a signature perfume seems like such a grown up lady thing :). Would love to read more about how you choose and what you end up with!

March 31, 2023 8:43 am

I think I’m most impressed by the fact that you’ve been at the same company your whole adult life! My first job I thought I would work there forever. haha And I stayed their pretty long for a millennial (7 years). And wow one of your friends said they want to donate a kidney?! That’s cool! I support, but am biased since I’m running on two donated kidneys haha

April 7, 2023 3:29 pm

LOVE this idea, and your list! And Shay has always been a great inspiration to me too. Cheering you on as I start to consider my own list before my next birthday x