30. A Grown-up time list

How this list came to be: I'd been planning on writing a 30 Thing I Know at Thirty, much like I did at 25, but in thinking about it over the last several months, only a few Thing I Know really felt as right and real as I wanted them to (and I apparently take lists like this very seriously). Then I was going to do a 30th Year Bucket List. I had made one for Porter and it was a great reminder for us to go and do all the things we wanted to. Then last month I read this article about a woman who approached 50 with an outright plan to conquer her fears. She was quick to point out that it's not a bucket list, and it most definitely can't have anything to do with others' responses to her items [“I’ve done every one of your things,” some bragged, as if the fact they had faced her fears was somehow meaningful.]. So I started thinking about fears. My mom is turning 60 this year and I started brainstorming with her. But fears didn't really feel right at this point in my life, nor did a bucket list. Most of the items I had started jotting down all came with a common theme: "I should totally be better at this by my age." So it's time to grow up.

It's not that I feel particularly juvenile, it's just that there are a handful of things (at least thirty, though I had to really think long and hard about some of them) that I feel genuinely embarrassed about being bad at or not knowing how to do at my age.

Making the list has been an interesting exercise over the last month, shape-shifting as I've moved through things that seemed cool but turns out aren't actually important to me, and I'm sure it would continue to do so if I spent more time curating. The category most notably missing is my professional life, which is, as it should be, not so much on my mind right now.

I didn't brainstorm them by category, but they fall well enough into 8 categories. I've starred the ones that I have already started making progress on, just from having the list. Yay for progress.

30 Ways I'll Grow Up This Year

Interpersonal - I'm terrible at making friends. Friendly as I am and as genuinely interested in people as I am, I have always had a very difficult time making the transition from 'Hey you, I know you,' to 'Let's hang out' to 'We are actually friends and I would keep in touch with you even if we lived far apart and there wasn't Facebook.' It's tough!
*1. Cultivate a friendship from an acquaintance
*2. Cultivate a set of couple friends
3. Cultivate friends in my stage of life (new mom, maybe working mom)
4. Host a dinner party with mixed company (friends that don't know each other, I have a weird complex about it)

Beauty-related - I have limited control over my personal beauty and am overwhelmed by options to contain it. While I really have made strides in the 'have control over what you look like' department, good looking hair or makeup that works I'd say is generally a fluke. Moreover, beauty magazines and most beauty departments make me want to puke. If I, as a reasonably confident person feel as bad about myself as magazines make me feel, they are BAD NEWS.

5. Know how to curl my hair in loose curls (consistently)
*6. Have a skin care regimen for my skin type and skin needs
7. Find a brand of jeans that consistently fits my body

Cooking meals - I don't do "meals." I nibble. Which is fine for me, but let's get real, there are times when slices of deli meat, olives or pickled beets out of the jar, and bites of whatever veggies, fruit, or leftovers are sitting around just isn't appropriate.

8. Have a go-to Fancy Dinner Meal
9. Have a go-to Give Away to Someone Else Meal
10. Have a go-to Quick Meal (quesadillas don't count)

Owning? - Not sure what to call this category, but I hate buying things. Shouldn't I already just own everything and have it organized?

11. Have a well-stocked First Aid/Emergency Kit
*12. Have a well-stocked Medicine Cabinet
*13. Have a well-stocked Game Cupboard
14. Have a basic sewing kit and know how to use it

Food in general - Food is soooo boring. The grocery store and the kitchen are my husband's forte, not mine. He's an enabler in this regard, and I love him for it. All the same, it's probably time to get real.
15. Be confident in buying meat - cut, price, health benefit, use
16. Have a baseline grocery list. Know when we have the items, when we're out, and be good at buying their replacement
17. Cook a great steak
*18. Make frosting that tastes good

General interests - I'm interested in things and don't spend time on them. Or, put differently, I think I'm more interesting than I spend time being.
*21. Learn to play at least one song on the guitar well
22. Have a go-to karaoke song
23. Have a cause or organization that I support with my time and money
24. Have a reservoir of Seattle tourist attractions and itinerary suggestions for visitors
*25. Actually start on and launch one of my side project ideas
26. Pick stocks for investment

Health - Health is not usually a high priority for me. Can't quite call it the curse of being a petite girl, because everyone hates when little people complain about being little. But I have very little discipline when it comes to diet or activity.
26. Have go-to 25 minute workout routine
*27. Not be ruled by my addiction to sugar

Personal - And because not everything is public, 28-30 are personal enough I'm not floating them on the internet, but they are sex and spirituality related. That's two categories, not one.

So it's time to get movin, right?


Adventures in breastfeeding

In a total turn of life events, I spend a lot of my days lately sitting with a baby at my breast. Yes, I talk about breasts now, like it's no big deal. A lifelong small chested girl, I haven't spent this much time thinking about breasts ever. Amazing how quickly that transitioned. No surprise. Or still somewhat of a surprise- I had been worried about breastfeeding prior to actually having done it. I know so many women who have had trouble breastfeeding and it's a really emotional process- feeling like your kid isn't getting enough to eat, feeling like your body isn't doing what it should, feeling like a failure at motherhood right out the gate. I had emotionally prepared myself for the possibility that Jamie wouldn't take to breastfeeding and was pre-emptively giving myself the 'forget those Breast is Best nazis, formula-fed babies turn out normal!' pep-talk. While I whole-heartedly still believe this and feel angry at mommy media that make bottle feeders feel less than, it hasn't yet been a problem for me.

Turn out, like his dad, he's a great eater. So, again, I spend a lot of my day breastfeeding. It has been an experience of fascination, love, some marginal discomfort (I had also emotionally prepared myself for some major discomfort in the form of cracking and bleeding, and thankfully haven't had issues outside of tenderness and occasional biting... yet), and I've been surprised out how much I enjoy it. I sometimes feel like I can feel oxytocin (the bonding hormone) flood my brain when he's eating, neurons all fired up on the love drug as I ogle my baby, and see my boobs, perhaps for the first time as something functional.

Three breastfeeding modes it turns out I love:

1. The angry face, furiously feeding like he's angry about it, or angry about something. He's not crying, but his eyebrows say 'don't mess with me man, I'm in the middle of something!' He looks like a muppet- the serious bald eagle one, totally ridiculous.
2. Distracted feeding, when he looks all around, or, once a bit milk-drunk, lolls about, not quite done eating, but not quite with it enough to get his mouth back to where it needs to be.There is often headbutting involved. Bizarre and entertaining.
3. Bonding time, when he looks straight at me like we're having an eye contact conversation. One hand either grabbing my neck or shirt collar, or dragging his fingers along my rib cage absent-mindedly. Sweetest feeling in the world.