Monday, August 14, 2017

What I've Learned Over the Years

Yeehaw! It's my 39th birthday today. What does that mean to me? First, it makes me think of my mom. Anyone else really feel that connection on their big day? I was not the easiest to birth but she did go on to have four more. Thanks, mom. 

In some ways I still feel 26 where I think I'm young and hip (do people say "hip"?) and in other ways I'm definitely feeling my age (turn down that TV so I can think, but wait, turn it up so I can actually hear it).  I'm looking forward to the big 4-0 next year and feel that 40 isn't actually as old as I always pictured it–I feel good! 

Waterton Lakes National Park

Life has not gone as I expected; it's even more complex and meaningful than I imagined. It has been a great learning journey and I'm thankful for the knowledge that I have – not the academic information which has sort of faded and gotten jumbled, but all that I have learned about life and family and love.  For this birthday post, I would like to share some things that I would tell my 20-year-old self. Well, I wouldn't really tell myself half of these things ahead of time because I do learn best through experience but oh do I wish I knew #3 and #23.

To My 20-Year-Old Self,

1. You will do something called "blogging" which is basically like sharing your journal on the Internet for anyone who wants to read it. I'm serious.

2. You think that getting on the Dean's Honour List felt good? Wait until you hear someone say something kind about your child's character or your kid says "I love you" for the first time or sleeps through the night. It feels so much better. P.S. Did you even know that babies don't even sleep through the night?! They are up throughough the night to nurse for about six months or, you know, two years.

3. Buy that house ASAP because prices are gonna go up fast. #LowerMainlandHousingMarket (that was a hashtag, not a number sign. It will make sense to you later).

4. Love all that adventuring you do. The quality equipment you buy will be well used. That MEC black puffy vest will still be worn in 19 years from now!

5. You'll meet someone who you think you'll never ever date. Be kind to him as he will become your husband. Never say never.

6. Call your mom and tell her you love her and appreciate her.

7. You're awesome and I wish you didn't waste so much mental energy on worrying about finding Mr. Right. He's going to be quite a bit different than you imagined and you're both growing and changing and aren't quite ready for each other yet. PS He's not Dutch! I know. Wild.

8. Calculus and Organic Chemistry may be exhausting but just wait until your life feels like you always have 100 tabs open and you're managing 5+ people's schedules and needs. Do you even know what "tabs" are?  Oh, and your adventure races are good practicing for when you have to take 3+ kids to the grocery store. You laugh but I'm serious.

9. There is a lot more to parenting than what you learned through being a big sister and babysitter. Be open to the words of experienced moms, trust your gut when something doesn't feel right, seek information from those you trust in your community and be gracious with yourself. You'll be great!

10. Be gracious with your husband, too. You're not perfect either.

11. Book clubs, football teams and care groups from church are great. Get connected because it's hard once you leave University.

12. You will like wine one day. And coffee. Black coffee. So grown up, right?

13. When you are feeling frustrated with your husband, focus on the positives rather than the things that drive you bananas. Repeat over and over in your head if necessary.

14. Appreciate your well-functioning thyroid. And jaw. And abs. And bladder.

15. Slow down. Relax a little. Life is not a race.

16. Get your eyes checked! Words on the whiteboard (or are they chalkboards in 1998?) shouldn't be blurry.

17. You will get a cell phone and be able to connect with your friends through the Internet on it. First, enjoy all the ICQ and MSN messenger.

18. Wear sunscreen and try to remember to floss.

19. When a recipe says to whisk, then whisk. If it says to add salt, do it. Shortcuts aren't worth it in the kitchen.

20. Just because your mom had a hand mixer and it worked just fine does not mean you won't love a stand mixer. So worth it, trust your husband (and me) on this one.

21. See a counsellor when you experience loss or if things are tricky. Help is not a bad word.

22. There will be this thing called "Netflix" and you can watch as many episodes of a show that you want in a row without commercials and it's super affordable. No more VCR's!

23. Don't buy that 1999 Honda Odyssey unless you want to know how much a transmission costs. Hondas are great – your husband will have one – but that minivan...

24. Taking the time to read a book is always worth it..except for Not Wanted on the Voyage, didn't need to read that one.

25. You don't have to try to prove that you can do things after kids just like you did before you had them. For example, driving all the way to San Fransisco through the night and camping in a tent in March with an 8-month-old is so not worth it.

Well, these are just a few of the things I have learned. What would you say to your younger self?

Louise (the birthday girl!)

What I wish I could have told my younger self. What would you have said?


  1. Happy Birthday Louise!!! These are very funny and wise :)

  2. I love this list! #itsahashtagnotanumbersign ;)

    1. I remember Koen reading out #1 as "hashtag one"...times have changed!

  3. This was a seriously awesome list - i LOVED reading this!!! Happy 39th have a LOT of great wisdom for 20-year-old you ;)

    1. Thank you, Kelly! After I was thinking I probably should've added something about pregnancy and childbirth because that was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay harder than I imagined (for me, anyway!).

  4. Happy birthday, Louise!!! Great list! Really enjoyed this post:)

    1. Did you like the "football team" part? Miss it. Hope you are doing well!

    2. Could relate to so much of it, including the football and book club part:) For #2, did one of your babies nurse at night until age 2? Yikes! I recently had 5 glorius nights of the 8 month old sleeping from 7 pm - 7 am and now after a bout of roseola, he's back to being up 2-3 times/night. Arg! And I LOVE my MEC vest - wish I had bought it even sooner. And I remember how judgy I was when a friend bought a condo in kits soon after graduation - thinking I was the smart one for "saving money" instead of having a huge mortgage (seemed huge at the time!). Ha ha.

    3. Nya!!!!! Blah. She actually just got up at 4am and needed to be settled, I didn't have to bf her back to sleep (but I did bf her for 2 years). Ha, I so hear you on the judgy thoughts ;) Hope you get back to the 12 hour sleeps asap!