January is the month of cleansing for me. It seems to be the time where I remove, let go, wipe the slate clean so I can start over again for the New Year. Many people take the last few weeks of the year before to start contemplating their last year, how it all went down and plans for the new year, with written resolutions by the 1st to boot. Me- I can hardly find a time to breathe, let alone sleep and eat once Halloween makes it’s annual appearance. I do contemplate and consider, then my husband and I have our annual first of the year dinner where we chat about goals and stuff. This year was different. At first I couldn’t place it. I was feeling unfocused, had too many thoughts going through my head, and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to set some goals- any goals. Finally, it dawned on me, that beyond the abnormal amount of craziness during the holidays, we had moved our family of 6 for the 2nd time in 2 years, celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday, my cousin’s wedding, and New Year’s celebrations- I was exhausted. Distracted. My mind was fried. And, I was turning 39 this year.

photo credit Stefanie Van Aken

I needed to get back to me. In order to do that, there was a lot of work that needed to be done first. Most importantly, I needed to start cleansing. I had to let go of a lot of physical, mental and emotional things that were holding me back- keeping me stuck in my past. Some of these things were making me question my worth, my positioning, my importance in the world, to my family and friends, and to myself. Sometimes I forget who I really am, or who I was or what I stood for. Sometimes, being a mom of 4 and a wife, makes me forget about what I wanted out of life and what I had already accomplished. Driving one day, I started thinking to myself about all the positive things I have done. As I do, I was justifying all that I have done and all I have accomplished to that point. Not even so much what I had accomplished, but I was proud of. What I would want my children to know about me. It started to give me the courage and the confidence to know if I did these things, how could I not accomplish the rest of my life’s goals? Then I thought, if I can name off 20 things, can I name of 50? What about 100? I mean, I am 38 after all, which means I would only have to find 2.6 accomplishments or proud moments from every year of my life. OK, maybe a tad impossible, but even if I just went back to 18 years old, that’s 5 a year. I accepted my challenge.

This list is more like a stream of consciousness. It’s not necessarily in any order, just random thoughts I put down as they came to me. I’m also totally struggling with publishing this piece. Not only because it is all about me. But because it’s driving me nuts there are typos and grammatical errors. Understand, I had to create each section in a photo editing site. I really don’t want to go back and recreate all this text. I appreciate your blind eye to the errors, and here we go….


created by Stefanie Van Aken

Words1002photo credit Stefanie Van Aken

Words1003created by Stefanie Van Aken

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photo credit Stefanie Van Aken rockstarmomlv.com

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words1009.jpgphoto credit Stefanie Van Aken
words10010.jpgcreated by Stefanie Van Aken

Thank you for joining me in this somewhat narcissistic post, if you made it this far. I wanted to do this as sort of an autobiography of me for my kids. As I was writing this, my son came over and started reading some of this and was impressed. He started asking me questions, and was intrigued. How could he possibly know his mother, like really know his mother, in the 9 years that we have known each other. I have to admit, it felt kind of nice to have him interested in me and some of things I had done. Mission Completion.

OK, now you. Take some time to jot down some of the stuff you are really proud of. Revisit the stuff you wince at when you go down memory lane. Embrace it. Then let it go. Hold on to the good stuff. Learn from the ugly. Move onto the next chapter of your life. What are your thoughts on 39?