Today I'm turning 32.
I find it hard to believe. I still feel like a kid sometimes.
And honestly, I usually have a hard time remembering how old I am.
I don't think it's that important really. You're only as old as you feel.
And I still feel very young.
I find it hard to believe that I'm a mother to FIVE, yes, FIVE children (how did that happen? I know, I know...something about birds and bees.)
It's unbelievable that I've actually been married to my husband for 10 years. It seems like I just graduated from high school.
And I'm still not sure how my babies turned into little people with personalities and opinions - it's a difficult adjustment to make.
What Happened Last Year?
I like to take some time every year on my birthday and reminisce about 'days gone by', what's happened in the last year, and where I have celebrated my birth-day anniversaries.
For number 31 we were in India. I was pregnant with number five, and wasn't really enjoying our time there - the spicy food and oppressive heat - but we were preparing to return to the States, so I was excited about that.
My hubby and I went out to eat in the nearest town - about 40 minutes away.
We ate a (surprisingly) appetizing (to me) Indian meal, with our hands of course, then walked the open markets shopping for sari's.
My big 30 (which I deemed the 1st anniversary of my 29th b-day) found us in the Dominican Republic, living in a small little village called Las Galeras.
It was heavenly. We rented a home right on the beach, nestled in a coconut grove.
Sunbathing and swimming everyday, eating our fill of coconuts, and long, peaceful days.
The day before my birthday, I waited expectantly for my hubby to wish me a happy day.
When he failed to do so, I offered a gentle reminder.
"Is today your birthday?"
"Are you sure?"
We checked the calender. Nope, it's tomorrow.
I guess the lazy living caused me to lose track of the days.
The next morning (the actual day of), I went out for a walk.
I was greeted by an older Dominican man who spontaneously offered to teach me to merengue.
I had wanted to learn, so I took him up on his offer.
We merengued to the sound of the waves crashing beneath the shade of the coconut palms.
Where Will I Be Next?
As I think back over the past years, I also think ahead to the coming one.
Where will I be next year on my birthday?
I honestly don't have the slightest clue.
If you'd asked me last year if I thought I would be in Alaska for my 32nd, I wouldn't have believed it.
And never in a million years would I have thought I'd spend my 31st in India, especially since we were living in the Dominican Republic the year before.
It's one of the things I really love about my life - I never know where it will take me.
Defining My Values...
This last year I've definitely refined what I value.
I realize that I love photography.
I love to write.
I like a clean house, but I hate to clean it (I really loved having a maid in Costa Rica). I prefer spending my time on other priorities.
I like learning with my kids, but I really enjoy having daddy around to help with them.
I love all my kids, but I prefer the one-on-one time to the chaos of the crowd.
I love to have fun adventures as a family - taking a hike, exploring a new cave or beach, or swimming at a waterfall.
I like moving - it allows me to simplify my life and I get to discover a new place.
I don't like living in just one place - I like to discover new places all the time. Once it becomes familiar, I get bored with it.
I probably wouldn't do any of this stuff with my kids if it wasn't for my husband - he's the 'muscle' behind it all.
I really don't like 'stuff' - bread machines, crock pots, closets of clothes (wait a sec, I don't have a closet), coats and gloves and hats and boots and toys and books and...
Well, you get the idea.
I'm constantly eliminating, de-cluttering and simplifying, simplifying, simplifying. My goal is to see how much I can live without.
I used to believe that travel was an 'add-on' to 'normal life', something we had to have lots of money to do.
Now I realize that traveling isn't something we want to do as a family - it's a part of who we are - explorers, dreamers, adventurers.
You don't spend your extra money doing something that is a part of your essential nature - it's the only thing you spend your money on.
And your time, effort, thoughts...
So our focus has turned to simplifying our life so that we can have the freedom to do what we really love, without being bogged down by things we find to be unnecessary, which for us include a home, the mortgage, and all the 'stuff'.
We've made the decision to be nomadic on purpose and homeless by choice.
And I can't wait to see where it takes us.
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