Saturday, September 25, 2010

Top 40 (before 40)

This week I turned 35 years old. THIRTY FIVE YEARS OLD. As in, I have now been alive for exactly three and a half DECADES.

I'm not normally a proponent of New Year's Resolutions or life-lists or anything that basically just sets you up for certain failure, but I think I can safely say that there were a number of things kicking around in my brain that I really thought I'd have done by the time I reached 35. Not going to get into specifics on what those things are, they are pretty typical and I'm sure that you could easily use your imagination and come up with what a good chuck of them might be.

OR you could do this instead: read the list below.

Inspired by this list, written by one of my favourite bloggers of the moment Nicole Balch over at Making It Lovely, I've decided to risk the obvious set up for failure and make my own list. I'm actually surprised I haven't done this sooner because God knows I'm a list-maker. I normally practice listing on a more micro level, like sticking a, "TO DO THIS WEEKEND" list to the fridge every Saturday morning (my husband loves these lists). They rarely get accomplished and I end up peeling them off on Monday morning with dejection and tossing them in the trash with a sigh (my husband loves that particular sigh).

I'm confident that this list, because it's got goals much larger and closer to my heart than "Mr. Clean Erase the scuff marks in hallway," will be more fun to follow. I mean really? Who doesn't love checking off items on a list? What's that? You don't? YOU LIE.

I'm (ahem) slightly longer in the tooth than the lovely Mrs. Balch, so I'm giving myself a longer list, but also a much longer chunk of time to achieve it. I'm also giving myself an out. If for some reason I don't accomplish all 40 items before I turn 40, the remaining items can be rolled over to my Top 50 (before 50) list and so on. It's the lazy and slightly unmotivated way to list, but whatevs, I'm old, who needs the pressure?

And so, without further ado, my list:

Top 40 (before 40)
  1. Expand my family. Intentionally leaving this one vague. Could mean another baby, could also mean a hamster. I have some really good names on ice so one way or another I will be using them.
  2. Buy a new house. DONE!
  3. Prepare my condo for sale and sell it. DONE!
  4. Renovate and decorate the new house.
  5. Relaunch my work website,
  6. Achieve a level of work/life balance that works for my entire family. In order to do this, either Crown or I will need to change what we do for a living or how often we do it.
  7. Put Bella in swimming lessons (not optional, she must learn to swim for safety). DONE!
  8. Take my family to Disneyworld.
  9. Go to Canada's Wonderland and ride all the rollercoasters. DONE!
  10. Visit at least one different city each year.
  11. Reinstate my monthly ladies poker club, Chicks 'n Chips.
  12. Flawlessly canter through an entire jumps course.
  13. Go to the opera.
  14. Take Bella to see The Nutcracker.
  15. See a Broadway show.
  16. Host my entire extended family at our house for a major holiday.
  17. Throw a party for all of our friends for no reason except to say thanks for having us to your place so many times while we waited to finally have the space to host you. DONE!
  18. Put Bella in ballet classes (to see if she likes it). DONE!
  19. Get beyond my more crippling body-image issues, either by fixing them or learning how to accept them.
  20. Go on a week-long beach vacation with my family once per year to relax, recharge, reconnect.
  21. More alone time with husband. At least twice per month.
  22. Organize all of our family photos. This includes the massive digital library and all the thousands of hard copies. And the videos.
  23. Write more. At least three times a week on this blog.
  24. Get back into yoga.
  25. Learn to sew.
  26. Finish at least three courses in the Interior Design program at Ryerson University, and decide if it's something I want to pursue further.
  27. Bake banana bread.
  28. Buy a bike and start going on rides with my family.
  29. Throw a proper kids birthday party at our house, complete with fun theme.
  30. Take Bella to the AGO, CN Tower and the ROM (be tourists in our own city).
  31. Put Bella in horseback riding lessons (to see if she likes it).
  32. Start cooking at least one dinner a week (Crown cooks them all right now).
  33. Visit my in-laws in Greece.
  34. Go to Paris (separating this out from one city/year because it's a BIG one).
  35. Go away on a long weekend escape with my girlfriends (no babies, no boys).
  36. Go on a romantic weekend away with Crown once per year.
  37. See the changing leaves in Algonquin Park in the fall.
  38. Go camping. In a tent. At least once (no repeats necessary).
  39. Buy more vintage.
  40. *Pick a cause and support it financially and by volunteering my time.
*I have supported The United Way since I began working and will continue to do so. I always donate to the Canadian Red Cross when there is an international disaster, but realize that there is always a need for more ongoing support. I need to commit to a cause I can support in a way that makes a tangible difference and in a way that can show my daughter how lucky we are and how important it is to give back. I have spent many hours considering what this cause will be: starving children? homelessness? animal cruelty? the environment? women's education in development countries? aids prevention in Africa? I always become so overwhelmed and emotionally drained at the enormity of need that I end up doing nothing at all. This must change. I will find my cause and you should know that I may be coming after you to help me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

If You Don't Know Me By Now...

...never fear you might still get your chance!

Here's the dealio.

I know I've been neglecting this blog. I always wanted this to be a place where I could actually sit for a while, think about things and record my life's moments with some intelligence, humour and depth. But since I went back to work and my life's moments started flying by at the speed of light, I've found it incredibly difficult to find the time (energy, space, passion, desire) to give this blog the attention that I feel it deserves.

Plus? Major identity crisis. Beaches' Speeches was always supposed to be all about me and my rambling observations on life - hence "Speeches".

And I think it started out that way. And then when I was pregnant it was obvious that I would record that experience here because that's what I was doing at the time. You know, CREATING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING INSIDE OF MY BODY. Kind of a big deal, just saying.

And then Bella was born. And raising her was what I was doing at the time. All the time. Every second of the time day and night I was raising her and photographing her and obsessing over her and loving her and needing her and needing to share her with all of you (and writing run on sentences, which has clearly continued). And I was on maternity leave so really, truly, she was my sole focus in life.

And though my life was busy, I still managed to squeak out some me-time to sit here and write about her. Time to think and reflect on what it meant to become a parent. And time to record it (I think quite well, thank you very much) during naps and late at night when the rest of the world was sleeping. And so this blog became all about her.

I'm not considering changing the direction of this blog. Anabella remains a (if not the) major focus of my life and as such, I anticipate that most of my speeches here will continue to be about her. But I'm also going to allow the direction of this blog to follow the direction of my life and morph as organically as I do. I anticipate writing about myself a little more often here when (if) I find time. For those of you out there that still care to read my most ramblingest rambles, or see a million and one pictures of my kid and my dog (Hi, Mom), I hope you'll continue to check in on me here.

But lately I feel the need for a quicker more accessible outlet, a new project, that will allow me to focus a little bit more on, well, me. And so, for anyone who could really not care less that Bella is now fully potty trained AND sleeping in a big girl bed (that's right, Bitches! Successful parenting abounds in our house!), and would prefer to just get quick updates about what's inspiring me in my personal and professional life (Hi, everyone who reads me and who is not my mom) then hoooboy do I have life shattering announcement for you (drum roll, please)...

I have finally jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon and started a brand-new Beaches' Speeches offering called Beaches' Bites. I am going to use it for quick posts about things that I am hearting right now. It'll give you a peek into what I do for a living, what I'm learning and doing at school (yep, back to school this fall taking an Interior Design course at Ryerson) and what I'm coveting from my day-to-day discoveries online and elsewhere.

I know. Amazing news, right? You're welcome.

Given I don't get to post here that I often, I'd hate to wrap up this one right here and risk disappointing my loyal Speeches readers. So here you go Mom, these are for you:

Bella feeling proud of herself after her very first sleep in her "big girl" bed.

The Momes, enjoying the view of the spectacular Ipperwash Beach during our summer vacation in August.