5 Things I Learned During My Year of Global Family Travel

This is my birthday week, when I get reflective about the past twelve months. Since this past year was mostly spent backpacking around the world with my family, it’s no small feat to break down the year’s highlights, challenges, and biggest life lessons.

I wrote a list of things last year, on my 37th birthday, so I’m doing it again, to celebrate turning 38.

I want to celebrate gratitude for another year of life by recognizing wisdom gathered in the ins and outs of life. This year, that just so happens to mean life lessons gathered from street markets, crowded bus stops, and leading my kids through airports and train stations.

1. I really don’t need much stuff.

You probably knew I was going to say this one, but I’ll say it anyway. Since we’ve been back, slowly unpacking boxes in our temporary rental home, we’ve been tossing stuff left and right. It’s a privilege to put things away for a long year, then unearth them and re-ask whether those things are necessary.

It’s reacquainting yourself with a life you once lived, and asking whether that’s still a life for you.


We honestly didn’t have a lot to begin with, and we got rid of even more before we boarded the plane. But now that we’re back, we’re getting rid of even more—box after box of stuff. We lived out of backpacks for a year, and it was glorious. I promise you, we never felt deprived—the kids collectively had about three toys, Kindles and laptops served as our entertainment (and work) portals, and everyone had just a few shirts and bottoms we mixed-and-matched all year.

Now that we’re back, I never want to fill our home with things “just because.” They really have to pass the test for us.

2. There’s lots of ways to live life.

In Thailand, we met a fellow American family traveling to every continent (yep, including Antarctica!) by going back and forth from their home in New Mexico to a new locale every few months. They’d take a week or two in their home to refresh and recharge, repack their bags, then head to a new continent.

I found it a rather quirky way to do a round-the-world trip until they shared the details of how it worked, and why it was a better choice for their personalities and work obligations. I understood the logic then.



We continued meeting both traveling families and long-term expats, living unconventionally in myriad ways—from backpacking, to RVing, to finding jobs a year at a time in different spots. It was a good reminder that, just like long-term travel and location-independent living, there’s a million ways to live.

For some of us, it’s good to work for ourselves and set our own schedules. Other people thrive in a team environment with a supervisor and clear-cut expectations. Some families are at their best because they pour in to their neighborhood public school, while others flourish in homeschooling. And still others take all this a year at a time, deciding what’s best for the whole family and its members within particular seasons (that’s us).

It’s beautiful that we’re all different, and that there’s no one right way to live life. This is why I love  the definition of simple living as living holistically with your life’s purpose. It’s not a master set of do’s and don’ts.

Each of us are meant to live according to our inner craftsmanship, with all its many pieces placed just so, where they’re meant to be.


3. Family is the greatest influence on kids.

You’ve guessed correctly—we had a LOT of family time this past year. We only had a handful of days when we weren’t together literally 24/7, and on the whole, it went well.

(And yes, we were more than thrilled to re-enter the land of grandparents when we returned.)


But even when we’re not together nonstop, family really is the most influential thing in a child’s life—no matter where they do a chunk of their daytime learning. Even when a kid goes to traditional school, home is where their heart, their compass, their magnetic center rests. It’s where they learn who they are.

So long as we parents cultivate that, the rest are mostly details.

4. Space is a good thing.

Because of that 24/7 experience, I also learned that space is a grand and glorious thing. We housesat for a friend and spread out in a normal (meaning, not a guesthouse) house for five weeks in the Sydney area during the holidays. There was a bonafide kitchen, a real backyard, and enough rooms for everyone to have their own corner of quiet.

And the kids simply got along so. much. better.



Ever since that setup, we celebrated any moment when we had more than a two-bedroom apartment. And it confirmed to us that while I’m a big believer in small living in all its facets (meaning, not just in the square footage of your dwelling), a little personal space is also really, really good. And helpful. And healthy.

5. Life’s too short to worry about doing things the “right” way.

One of the more popular responses from people about our year of travel is some form of, “That sounds so amazing! I wish we could do something like that.”

And my response, which I only occasionally share outwardly is, “You can! Start making a plan so that it’ll really happen.”


We’re not anything special. Okay, so we can take our work with us and we were already used to homeschooling. But that doesn’t make us unusual by today’s standards—there’s a thousand different ways to do work, school, and life. For some folks, it feels right to follow a more traditional route with life, and that’s great. I admire that, in fact, when they’re being true to themselves.

But for those of us who feel the itch to live life a bit less mainstream, it’s wasted energy to worry what others will think of our choices, or to focus only on the risks instead of the beautiful, worth-it benefits.

Whatever “it” is—from starting a business doing something you love, to moving somewhere that’s a better fit for your family, to joining a new-to-you church, to strapping on backpacks and hitting the road—as long as it’s responsible, it’s worth it.


Pay attention to details, yes, and rightly consider your family’s needs and obligations. But if you can still do those things AND fulfill a dream, well…. Isn’t it worth it? I think so.

I’m grateful for my 37th year, spent with my worldly goods on my back, passport in hand as a portal to unparalleled education, and my four favorite people as constant compadres. I’m now looking forward to my 38th year because it’ll be more quiet and conventional. There are seasons for everything, and I’m glad to be in one that looks more like roots than wings.

But I don’t doubt we’ll be dusting off our feathers soon enough.



p.s. – Also, remember your Why.


Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Brenna

    Happy Birthday!
    I’m learning to choose my words carefully.

    • Tiffany

      I am turning 44 on September 3. I am learning to be intentional. I realize that so much of my life just “happens” due to the hustle and bustle of everyday. I need to slow down and live with intention for each moment, each day.

  2. Kristina

    I’m 29. I’m learning Spanish and how to knit. Also, because of the somewhat recent addition to my life of the sweet, funny, smart man I’ve been looking for, I’m learning how I’m supposed to be treated and feel in a healthy, loving relationship.

  3. sarah m

    I’m 30 and I’m learning that interruptions are to be welcomed, not resented. I’m also learning to wait and not buy those four shirts at target, but buy that beautiful one item I’ll wear for a decade.

  4. Amanda Espinoza

    I’m 35 years old. I’m learning that everything I have is from God. He is in control and I need to trust Him. I’m dying to travel again with my family and do ministry. We are paying off debt and building a more sustainable business for travel. God can change our circumstances at any time. He’s done it before and I know He can do it again. This time I know it’ll be because of His goodness and not our work.

    • Marla Taviano

      Praying we get to meet someday–preferably somewhere in Asia or Europe. xoxo

  5. Sue

    I am 47 (!) and I’m learning that I can’t do it all and do it all well…

  6. Kim

    Great post!
    I’m 48.
    I’ve learned that it’s important to let go of negativity and focus on the positive aspects of your life

  7. Amanda

    I’m 33 and I am learning, in that uncomfortable stretched kind of way that failure is ok, because it means I’m trying new, hard things.

  8. Jennifer

    I’m 38, and in the midst of learning that life does not always go to plan. We are 4 months into job hunting after a job loss in our single income family. Hoping that it’s just summer holidays keeping the phone calls from coming!

    • mumof4

      I don’t know you or your situation. Heck, I didn’t even know about this blog until 10 minutes ago! However, I can relate with your situation. I’m 36 and My husband was unemployed for 1.5 years and it was hard. We ran out of unemployment, savings, credit was ruined and we found out we were expecting baby #4! We didn’t have money for a car seat let alone a car to fit all 6 of us. We worried, got depressed, fought lived miserably. Having no family we had zero help and there were days when we were scraping for food.For our children’s birthdays we barely got tiny cakes. We were drowning and that is the only way I felt. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.
      9 months ago, my husband found a job. I am still affected by the great layoff…But I am also the extremely grateful for it.
      It strengthened our relationship as a husband and wife , parents and a family as a whole. We were able to teach our children to be grateful. Our children showed gratitude with the little they had and we never let them believe we were poor. Our children knew dad didn’t have a job and we can’t get a lot of things. Today, they are more grounded and appreciate even a piece of candy.
      Just know everything happens for a reason and it always gets better. It has to! And last I have learnt to let go whilst hoping and wishing and praying for what someoght call impossible desires. If I am not in control of my next breath, why worry about a future which I have no control over. Of course, we are practical and do our best to make our futures better but I have learnt to live in this moment…in the Now.
      Sorry for the essay but just know it’ll get better. Hugs( even though I don’t know you, but still)?

  9. Lauren B

    26. Learning to work within constraints. This is a more restrictive season that I’m in now, but it doesn’t mean I can’t dream and plan for my future and enjoy where I am too.

  10. Melissa

    Happy Birthday, Tsh! I’m 31 years old. I am learning the importance of space and quiet in my life (and how hard it is to set time aside for this).

  11. Hilarie

    Happy birthday! I’m 42. And a half. (Because, even at that age, it still matters to me.)

    I’m learning so much right now – not all of it good – but just as an experience… Living with family temporarily – although FAR from my ideal – is a wonderful gift: to have people who care about us enough and will take us in (for free, even), while our family makes messes in their houses and makes noise and disrupts their lives – it’s wonderful to have people who love us enough to put up with that. 🙂

  12. Even

    I’m 36 and I’m learning that contentment doesn’t come from the right number of children, creature comforts, good health, or even family and friends; it can only come from fixing my eyes on Jesus. See psalm 16 for back up; I’m trying to learn that my lines have fallen in pleasant places regardless of my circumstances.
    Ps can you point me in the right direction to find your series of podcast about your year I travelling?

  13. Anna

    I celebrated 37 years about two months ago. I’m currently learning (or being reminded) that marriage is hard work. It is good work, and so very, very valuable, but some days it is really, really hard.

  14. se7en

    Oh Happy Brilliant Birthday… I loved reading this post, you truly have a magical life experience to share and you are so very generous. I love reading your work. I am totally not ready to say I am more than nineteen, because that is exactly how old I feel… and then I have to say I just learned a huge life lesson: I went on a trip to Zambia to plant trees, it was a community project of the best variety, camping in a world heritage sight with volunteers from all over the world. While I was there I had uninterrupted sleep every night for almost two weeks… I confess I haven’t slept a night through since my first child was born eighteen years ago. By the time our youngest kid slept through the night I was completely trained to sleep odd and interrupted hours. Well I have I have been re-sleep-trained and I am a changed person… all those things that folk say about getting enough sleep are actually true… Finally I sleep like a regular person and since I have been home I just kept the habit: blogging can wait, so can the internet. Priorities fall into place and every thing is so much better. Everything.

  15. CIndy

    I just turned 40 and am learning that I’m the one I should worry about.

  16. Marla Taviano

    Happy, happy birthday, friend! I’m 39 (turning 40 in October) and learning that God loves me for who I am, not what I do.

  17. beth lehman

    happy happy birthday!! i am 43, soon to turn 44!! and i am learning (through emily freeman’s book) how we are living life in the ordinary every day moments… how they are as sacred as the extraordinary moments.

  18. Michele H

    Happy birthday week! What a lovely way to celebrate. I am 38, and can attest that it is indeed a great age to be :). Right now, I’m learning how to be more mindful with my time and energy, and to use them both well. Like a lot of single career women, I’ve allowed work to become the cornerstone that I build my schedule around – and it’s finally occurred to me that I don’t consider my job the most important thing in my life, so why am I building everything else around it?

  19. joanna

    I will be 40 in two weeks. Currently I’m learning to really do things for myself, things I like to do…a little self care…and its hard.
    I also discovered recently that as I decluttered my home…i think I “decluttered my joy” unintentionally of course. Please a post about that topic!!

  20. Melissa

    I’m 35 and I’m learning that having nice things isn’t a negative…as long as I don’t hold onto them too tightly, and am willing to let them go if and when the Lord asks me to. It’s a wonderful experience!

  21. Nancy

    Almost 49.
    I’m learning so much!
    To enjoy the different personalities of my teenage kids as individuals.
    To find my passions, even.when they are outside the family.
    Developing a post-retirement career that will untie mime from a single work space.
    To find and make friends that aren’t tied to my kids activities.
    To wait – patiently!

  22. Addie

    Im 36 and learning to be content. I always kind of thought I was, but now Im learning to start ignoring that little itch that says I need more. I have so much.

    happy birthday week!

  23. Shirley

    I’m 27. I’ve been relearning trust in God’s providence, enjoying my current state staying at home with a kid and no second income.

  24. Rebecca

    Happy Birthday!!! I turn 44 on Friday. Short answer: I’m “learning to art”. Long answer: I’m learning that for me as a left-brained INTJ, synthesis– not spontaneity–begets creativity.

    • Sarah

      I finish my 40th on Friday!

      I am learning…how to be a front end web developer. And also the limits of my plate, and that it is almost certainly ok to let things slosh off when I need to. And more embarrassingly for my age, that I can be patient and not prove Right Now that I Am Right, and instead listen to others, and if need be, use questions to explore my idea juxtaposed with theirs.

    • Guest

      Your comment is now going to percolate for a long time in my brain. I’m an ENTJ and I *totally* get where you’re coming from about synthesis and not spontaneity sparking creativity.

  25. Rebecca

    I am 42. I am learning the importance of self-care. I am always serving my family and others and have let my personal health deteriorate because I don’t have time left. I am learning I can not pour from an empty vessel. I am also learning about using essential oils, which I am finding fascinating.

  26. Anne

    I am 36. I am learning that there are seasons for different things in life, our family has big plans to travel and live life differently, but for now with our 2 and 4 year olds, we are appreciating the season to be settled and stable, to live close to our families, and to build up our savings in preparation for what is to come.

  27. Alicen

    I am 32 and getting ready to learn how the addition of a third child will change our family dynamic. Also, I need to downsize the wardrobe my kids have. I despise laundry and I would have less of it to keep up with if my children had less clothing options.

  28. Jenn

    37. I’m learning it’s time to pursue some of my dreams instead of just supporting others to follow theirs. Even if that means shaking up the family status quo and making others help support my dreams. It’s my turn. Following my own dreams is not being egotistic or self centered.

  29. Megan M.

    I’m 32 and learning that my “stuff” gets in the way of doing the things I really want to do. I can’t serve others well if I am constantly trying to wrangle the junk in my house into a more desirable, organized space. Less stuff=more free time to give others

  30. Melissa Webb

    I also turned 38 this year…June. My husband and I are learning what really, really matters to us. The important stuff…how to let go of things (lots of them) including, potentially, a house, the only one our kids have ever known. We’re at a sort of crossroads and don’t know what the Lord has in mind yet. It’s unsettling, but I know we’re learning. Just looking forward to being on the flip-side to know for sure what it’s all about, lol.

  31. Greer Oharah

    Thanks for sharing! I just hit a quarter-century last month and am learning that time developing my talents and passions won’t just happen. I am trying to set up specific times in the midst of working and home life to practice piano and write.

  32. Amanda Villagómez

    Happy birthday Tsh!

    I am 34 and this year my focus has been on core (my One Little Word for 2015), thinking about what is most important, most core to my life and then working to align my life to it. The Upstream Fieldguide was perfect at the start of the year as I was beginning that journey.

    Through the process, I have been learning about the importance of having courage to live according to my core, which links in with your ideas here and in the class – the whole concept of paddling upstream.

  33. Shannon

    i am soon to be 41. I’m learning to put some structure in my empty nest (from 8 am to 2pm) days.

  34. Jamie

    Happy Birthday! I am 30 years old and I’m learning to be more flexible with my ideas and expectations and decisions. I love what you say about deciding what’s best for your family IN THAT SEASON. So often, I feel like the decisions I make are THE decisions– long-term, rest-of-my-life decisions, but they’re not. We can decide one thing today and change our minds or decide something different is best for tomorrow. It’s freeing!

  35. GinnyLou

    Happy birthday, sweet Tsh!
    I’m 38 too, and I’ve learned so much this year about letting go of control. I’m still no good at it, but I’m due any minute now with a very-much-surprise Baby #3, and being reminded all the time of how little I truly control anything anyway. Might as well let go of the illusion, right?

  36. Rebekah

    39. I’m learning how to enjoy my life more.

  37. Guest

    These might be my favorite posts each year. 🙂

    So I’ve been thinking about a comment you reference for a long time which is “Wow, that’s awesome! I wish we could do that.” When I say long time, I mean 18+ years! I studied abroad in college and got a lot of “wish I could do that” comments which even at that time seemed kind of strange to me. I had a backpack and lived very cheaply using student loans to pay tuition abroad just like they had paid tuition in the states. After college, I went to Europe pretty much every year and then once I was married we went roughly every other year with other trips in between (without loans, though – yay!). These were always met with “wow, that’s awesome. I wish I could do that.”

    What I have learned over the years is that what they’re really saying is one of two things…”I would like to do that but not as much as I would like to continue living the lifestyle I have” or “I like the IDEA of that but am not really interested in doing it”.

    My husband and I had a loveseat and a cheap Ikea dining room table with four chairs and that was the extent of our furniture. We made our house a home but it was a very modest and pretty sparse home. We were okay with that because it gave us the opportunity to travel to some amazing places and do things we wanted to do.

    We’re now at a point that we don’t have a big interest in traveling internationally and instead are focusing on domestic exploration and we get the same comments I go back to the same things I had figured out previously. As much as I loved following along on your journey and initially thought, oh wow, we should do that!; I ultimately realized that it isn’t for our family. It gave me the freedom to enjoy traipsing the world vicariously through your posts while staying true to what our family priorities are. And that’s pretty awesome. 🙂

    • Chaley

      We travel at least three to four times a year (domestically) and get those kinds of comments all the time. This is while people are sipping their $5 coffees or on their way to another dinner out. It’s all about priorities. We chose to live our daily life very frugally so that we can take advantage of travelling and exploring other areas.

      • Guest

        Chaley, yes, exactly that. And the thing is, there’s nothing wrong with drinking a $5 coffee drink if that is important to you. There’s nothing wrong with spending your time and money on decorating your house, being interested in clothes/makeup, etc. I guess I just wish for everyone a level of self awareness. A level of self awareness that we’re all able to be honest with ourselves and others about our values, our priorities and ensuring our decisions/choices align with those. There’s incredible freedom in that.

        • Chaley

          That’s exactly it. Perfect!

  38. Val

    Happy Birthday! I am 37 and learning how to use my intuition to make decisions for me and my family. Hasn’t let me down yet!

  39. Lori

    41 and learning about dogs- first time dog owners with a puppy. Thank you for sharing- inspiring.

  40. Liz H

    I’m 41. I’m trying to re-discover my passions. They got buried under having children and work and other stuff.

    • Juanita

      Happy Birthday! I am 44. I am learning tons about living mindfully, taking care of my basics, empowering my kids to be part of our family team by contriburing, learning to be mindful of their own needs while working with others and participating in planning. It’s been a life changing summer.

  41. Naomi

    Happy Birthday, Tsh! I am 35. I’m learning how to be a part of the family of God, the Body of Christ (long story). 🙂

    • Cathy

      Welcome to the family. Hugs and “see you later”

  42. lisa

    I am 46! The 40’s are awesome! I am learning about loving my husband by re reading a stack of love letters we wrote to each other in college 27 years ago. Glad I saved them!

  43. Toni Evans

    Happy Birthday! I am 49 and have thoroughly enjoyed sharing your adventures through your blog! I am slowly learning the value of quiet. True quiet. I am at an age where I am learning to quiet my soul and to truly look at the world around me. I am learning gratitude for what I have now, and the hard lessons I had to learn in the past. I am learning the value of sunrises, sunsets, and doing the simple household chores that keep my family from falling into some crazy filthy abyss of unwashed dishes and dirty laundry. I am learning to find joy in each day, whether it is sunny or rainy, and I am learning that God and the universe wants us all to be joyful.

    • gina


  44. Theresa Diulus

    I am 47. I am learning that my age does not define me nor limit me. I have been holding myself back from doing certain things because I felt “too old” and am realizing the freedom from releasing those associations.

    Happy Birthday, Tsh!

  45. Taina

    Happy Bday! I’m 38 and learning not to rush things and how to enjoy not only my family or life but myself… I’m an INTJ and I’m always worried for everybody and everything, our homeschooling, home organization, my law firm… it feels like worrying about myself its just selfish. Not anymore!!! I just hit my goal at a slack line, finish Project 333, get out of my law firm (at least temporary), enjoy reading “a book at a week” (not only fairytales), embrace minimalism, get on a plane alone with my kids (7 hour flight) and climb a pyramid just with them, started my training as a Waldorf teacher, have dinner with my husband alone and enjoying the sunrises of my beautiful island!!! What a way to celebrate 38 years!!! Shine on!

  46. Laura W

    I’m 29 and learning how to be a mom and still be me! I have a 16 month old daughter and a son on the way.

  47. Jill Foley

    I’m 41 as of yesterday – happy birthday to you (and me!)

    I was out running yesterday thinking of how a birthday feels like a new year in a way – like you, I get all reflective of the past year and the year ahead.

    I had 2 major accomplishments this past year and it taught me that I am strong despite my age – maybe because of it. I ran my first 1/2 marathon (in your old hometown of Bend) and summitted South Sister. I’ve also recently learned alot about my personality and how to be true to myself and who I am, yet grow in areas of weakness.

  48. Caroline Starr Rose

    Happy, happy birthday! I’m 41 and absolutely love getting older. Feel like I’m coming into my own.

    Something I’ve been learning lately is if I show up enough times to my work, I start to run out of mistakes to make. 🙂

  49. Stephanie

    I’m turning 44 on Saturday! I’m learning that in order to make the most of my days, I need to stay off the computer and stop thinking about what everyone else thinks about me!

  50. Dawn

    So glad I paused to read your post this morning. Happy Birthday! I turned 59 in March this year, and on July 1st a wonderful man walked into my life: right now I am learning how to be loved by a good man.

  51. Sherry Adams

    This is my birthday week also! I turn 49. Yay for us having the same birthday week!!! 🙂

    We’re getting ready to depart in 2 weeks for an extended mission survey trip around Europe for a couple of months, so your blog has been an especially good resource for me lately.

    We’ve been trying to live simply and ready-to-go-when-God-calls-us for many years now, but in just the last month i’ve been learning that we still buy/consume too many things, and our purchases, especially of non-essentials, contributes to the oppression of people around the globe. That needs to change, and i’m trying to figure out how to do that practically.

  52. Chaley

    Happy birthday, Tsh! I am 46 and am just learning to take care of myself first. With two boys ten years apart (9 & 19), there just didn’t seem to be a lot of time for me. I’ve discovered that I can make the time, and not miss out on time with them. I am spending time meditating, doing yoga, taking walks, making friends and rekindling old friendships. When the oldest went off to college, it got me reflecting on what we would have left after the youngest left. I realized that while my husband and I had a strong connection, the busyness of life had left my self-care and friendships lacking.

  53. Tammy

    I’m 51 and I’m learning how to parent my elementary age miracles who are , and I quote, “halfway to being grown-up”.

  54. Missy Robinson

    I’m 41. I’m learning so very much that learning growth and change are a process, not an event.

  55. Jennie

    I am 37 years old. This year is teaching me that the good and bad things in life are mixed up and often collide together at the same moment. It has floored me several times but I am working on accepting it with as much grace as I can.

  56. Bethany Turner

    I just celebrated my 27th birthday. August is a great month to be born in. 🙂

    I am learning the lesson to live my life now instead of feeling like I am waiting. My husband and I have moved four times (three over state lines) in the four years we have been married, and we know were we currently live is not where we want to stay. So it has been hard to not feel like life is on hold until we get to the location where we can think about purchasing a home and putting down roots.

  57. Cassidy

    Happy Birthday, Tsh! 17, and learning, to my unfolding delight, that the joy is in the journey.

  58. Catherine

    Going to celebrate 50 this year! Learning how to make our dream of living in a lake house 52 weeks/year a reality and not just a 2 week summer holiday. Learning to let go and say ‘who cares’ more. Also, read KonMari and going to get started on discarding!

  59. Katelyn

    I’m 29. In less than a week I’ll be learning how to drive on th opposite side of the road. Eek! We are moving to England after spending the past year in South Korea and we are very excited for a new adventure.

  60. Linnea

    I’m 33. I am learning, as I start homeschooling, that so much of my life is spent controlling instead of teaching. As I let go of control, I am a much better teacher, and person.

  61. Angela

    34 – I am learning to embrace the season I am in – slow down and breathe it in with enjoyment, because it will move on too quickly and a different season will follow.

  62. Jennifer

    Happy Birthday, Tsh!
    I am 38, and I am learning two things: to notice beauty on a daily basis, and to know that I. Am. Enough.

  63. kayla

    i’m 28 and i’m learning to embrace change and uncertainty with a smile because what else can you do? my husband and i are about to move back to our home state but to a much smaller community, so we’re learning to just ride the wave.

  64. Emily

    In a week and two days I’ll be 35! I’m learning to enjoy dreaming and take small steps to fulfilling those dreams.

  65. Jen K

    Happy Birthday! I am 34 and learning to live fully in the present and to trust in God for the future.

  66. Heather

    Happy Birthday Tsh! Best wishes for another wonderful and adventure filled year.

    I am 52, and at the moment settling in to a new home “in town” – leaving behind a rural farm… many changes. Life is good, making plans to have more adventure in my (our) life – living with less stuff and obligations. My only regret is that I waited until nearly the age of 50 to live my truly authentic life.

    As always, thanks for sharing your beautiful life with us!!

  67. Annette

    I am 42 and learning patience in God’s provision for what is next. My family and I moved to a brand new town last month and I let go of a weekly family life column I wrote for our local newspaper the last five years that I loved and really enjoyed. Learning to grieve the loss and be expectant for what is to come.

  68. Morgan

    Happy Birthday! I’m 24, getting ready to finally go back to school and learning how to live fully in the in-between. I’ve stalled on a lot of things that I really want to do (ahem, college) out of fear. This time is teaching me that what I’m doing doesn’t define me or my worth in any way, and that while my life right now looks very different than what I would have imagined in high school, that’s not a bad thing. The contributions I’ve made over the past few years are not lessened because I don’t have a degree, or a husband, or any of the things that 18-year-old me had planned.

  69. Heather

    I’m right behind you at 37 1/2. Right now I feel like God is teaching me to really love through sacrifice. Not just the little courtesies, but really digging in and pushing past my comfort zone and pain threshold.

  70. Heather

    I am 32 years old. We just moved our family of four from the city to a small town. And I am learning patience as we adjust to a new lifestyle, find a new community and plant new gardens. We have big plans and dreams, but all these things take time to cultivate, as much as I want to be able to enjoy them right away!

  71. Caitlin

    28 and three-quarters. 🙂

    I’m learning the depths of this quote by Beryl Markham – “If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.”

    Letting that soak into the corners of my heart and coupling it with Scriptures has taught me that faithfulness in the “little” things often results in a life that may look ordinary on the surface, but is far richer, deeper, and extraordinary on the inside.

    • Raelene

      Love this!

  72. Lindsay

    Happy birthday! I’m 35, and (still, repeatedly, over-and-over) learning the delicate balance between being content with what is and contemplating what could be.

  73. Karen Wahlers

    I’m 66 and learning that I actually can work more than 50 hours a week as a nurse and love it!

  74. Kristina

    I’m 42 and learning to trust myself as I’m taking my passion for photography and painting out to the world.

  75. Cornelia

    Happy Birthday!
    I’m 67 and still learning a lot from my 5 kids.

  76. Ellen

    34 here. I’m learning how to be my best self and worry less about what other people do. Wishing you a happy birthday!

  77. Kristal

    I am 34 and love your blog. I am learning to trust myself even when my gut says to go against the mainstream.

  78. Shauna

    Happy Birthday! I’ll turn 38 next week. After experiencing a series of tragedies over the past few years, I am learning that grace and redemption often come from the most unexpected places. All I have to do is pay attention and receive it.

    I am also relearning how to sing. I just joined a chamber choir, fulfilling a longtime dream.

  79. Cindy

    I’m 38. I’m learning that in keeping my social calendar minimal, I’m feeling incredible relief! Sadly, I’ve been told I’m hurting friends’ feelings by doing so.

  80. Ashley

    I’m 29 and clinging to the last few months in my 20s! I’m currently learning about blogging. I’ve had my blog for over a year, thus proving to myself that I will keep it up and not get bored with it. Now it’s time to go pro! I’m doing the best I can with minimal funds and really learning so much. I found you from your How They Blog podcast/blog and I’m loving all of the information there. Thank you for being a great influence and inspiration! My dream is to be able to earn enough of an income blogging that I can quit my job and be a blog-at-home mom.

  81. Dee

    I’m 49. What I’d like to be learning is what my life’s purpose is. Well, I have some idea, but I’m doing the Upstream course and I’m hoping to learn more, even though it feels as though I should already be living it by this point. However, I’m only in Session 2 and am sort of stuck in time and with challenges. You see, what I am really learning right now is how to say good bye. My mother is in her very last season of life. I’m overwhelmed by it and while I want to turn that off and keep going with the Upstream Guide…I can’t focus on it and my family and my mom and work… I think you get the picture.Sigh…

    However, your post brought up a question I want to ask you, Tsh. What do your kids think about your around-the-world trip. I envision your kids as a unit with you and your husband. Because I have this limited view of them, I don’t “see” them with their friends or cousins or other children so I can’t even imagine what they would tell their friends about this trip. I know kids often just go along with whatever their parents tell them is next, but your daughter certainly is only enough to have full on ideas of her own. What would she have said to a friend before y’all started traveling? And what would she say of it now? What does she think about her future as a person on this earth who has done this?

  82. MBH

    I too just entered my 38th year. I was recently laid off, and I’m learning that things happen for a reason, and when they are supposed to. So even though I haven’t found another job yet, and have had many disappointments along this journey, I will find the right job when the time is right. I’m trying to trust.

  83. Marianne

    33 yesterday. I’m learning that life is too precious to wait for perfection. Just go and be and that is the best. And the most fun. And also kids and dogs and nature make everything better, always.

  84. Wendy

    Happy Birthday! I am 44 and have really begun to understand over the past year that so many little things that may irritate me really don’t matter all that much. It is much more important to have kind words for my child (and husband) than a snippy tone because he hasn’t picked up his socks after the 4th time I’ve asked. That stuff really just doesn’t matter.

  85. Wendy

    Happy Birthday!! I’m 42 and I am learning to be a mom to “winged” child. We have a 16 year old daughter, who has always been homeschooled, so I’ve spent the majority of those years with (really WITH) her…and now she drives, and goes out with friends, and is gone..a lot. It’s definitely a learning process. I really identify (sappy and corny as it may be) with the song Landslide right now…”I’ve been afraid of changes cuz I built my life around you.” That’s me. I built my life around our precious girl (and I’m so grateful I did) but now I’m learning to live it differently.

    I’m also a new convert to Catholicism to I’m learning to live in my faith more fully. Two very big, not insignificant things.

  86. Dana

    Happy Birthday! At 59 I am probably among your oldest readers but I enjoy your blog so much. I traveled all over the world with you and your family last year while sitting in my office chair. I am in a fairly new season of life….retirement after 35 years as a teacher. I am learning to really listen to my own heart and my own priorities rather than someone else’s. I am discovering those parts of me that I did not have time for and I am enjoying exploring writing and painting and new friendships. I am relearning French and partaking of all of the great online learning that is available. It is interesting that today as I drove home from Bible study and lunch with friends I was thinking along these same lines..that I am now learning who I am and what I want the rest of my life to look like and that it must be intentional if it is going to happen. Thanks for a great post.

  87. Laura

    I just turned 38 in July! After quitting my full-time job in June to stay home full-time instead, I am learning how to be with my kids (ages 5 and 3) all day, and learning how to help them be with each other all day, as well!

  88. Donna

    Happy birthday! I recently had a birthday and I’m now 68. It still shocks me to admit that. I’m learning to love silence and solitude, growing a deeper appreciation of contemplative prayer. And that is drawing me into a more simple life. The more material things I shed from my life, the better it is. There is not a single thing that I have shed that I have missed. (Funny–I just read your manifesto and just yesterday I issued my own personal manifesto about buying clothes.)

  89. Tracy

    I’m 48. I am learning that God’s journey for me is good, complicated, but good. I am also learning I need to take better care of me so I can enjoy it with the ones I love most for as long as God has me here on earth. Happy Day! and Happy Year!

  90. Vicki S

    I am 58 and am learning to make better choices with the time that God has given me each day. I have to focus on what is really important and to not get distracted with the “clutter” of life. I enjoy your blog very much, and I hope you have a Happy Happy Birthday!

  91. Alex

    I just left a job after 9 years. I am learning that every second is preciouse. I inspire my world with my creators help. Little things are so huge. Taking my daughter to school is awesome. Watching my kids run is fun.

    I am learning to go with the flow and trust myself because my creator has a greator plan. I am just learning to accept the wonerful things I already have.

  92. Joy

    I am 33, going to be 34 in 2 months. I am learning to enjoy the journey. I have been married to an amazing man for 5 1/2 years and we have spent the last 3 of those trying to conceive. Out of that I am learning to really enjoy the season our marriage is in, we have time to deepen our relationship and our relationships with others. As much as we long for children we also enjoy this time without them.

  93. Liesl

    I’m 29 and I’m working on living in the moment and appreciating the small moments God has given me.

  94. Andie Wade

    The big 33.

    Back in May I was on my way by train to a woman’s conference and I sat with an American lady I hadn’t seen for a long time. My brain was just buzzing from being so busy and feeling overwhelmed from feeling busy. I asked her how she was and what she was up to those days and she said, “oh, I’ve just been enjoying being God’s daughter.” She might as well have thumped me on top of the head to stop my buzzing mind in its tracks. I actually thought to myself, “wow, that’s enough?” Of course it’s enough. I’m trying to learn to let that be enough.

  95. Julie

    Happy Birthday to you! I turned 40 in January and am spending this year working my way through what I’ve created and called my 4040 list – 40 activities to celebrate this new decade. I am learning that I spent the first 40 years far too cautiously. A proper first-born who was REALLY concerned with not disappointing the parentals, and so forth. My list is taking me out of my comfort zone and teaching me about who I want to be now and in the decades to come. As the months have passed, I’ve come to decide that if something scares me, it means I must do it, so I have! That includes writing the first draft of a novel.

  96. Wilma

    Happy birthday Tsh! I’m 39, and learning to do less / take on less – and thereby gain more – for myself and my soul. I’ve also been reminded lately that God is bigger than my biggest fear, so I’m learning more deeply of His love, care and provision for myself & my family. Thank you for blogging. What a gift you are to your readers. xx

  97. Traci

    Happy birthday Tsh!

    I’m 29, and two current lessons come to mind.

    One is the real, tangible helpfulness of meal planning. It’s taken me 8 years of being the sole meal provider of a household to figure it out, but man, my days are so much easier. I still despise the actual sitting-down-and-figuring-it-out, but it’s nicer done once a week rather than a few times a day.

    The second is the value of revisiting literature. This year, I’ve reread books, mostly from my adolescence or school syllabi. It’s been so worthwhile to read these from my current perspective. Books like The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, The Westing Game (the first book ever to bring me to tears), Little Women, and To Kill A Mockingbird have seemed vastly different this time around – most are even better, as I’m grasping the grander scope of their worlds. I’ve even been reading my Bible in a different translation, and as someone who grew up in church, reading those same verses over & over, it’s been inspiring and insightful to read those passages with different words.

    Thanks for sharing your reflections – I always look forward to your birthday posts.

  98. Debby

    It’s my 47th year! (Next Monday). I have learned that we need very little to make us happy. As a single mother of three wonderful daughters, I am learning to teach my girls to want for less. Over the last year, while you and your family were traveling all over the place, we were moving out of our family home (an unnecessary, gigantic home) into a rental while searching for a final home to purchase. A large dumpster and the will to know the difference between keeping something because it’s always been part of our lives and tossing it knowing the memory of it will be in our hearts, helped us slim down our lives. We are currently moving into our new home ( smaller, but feels like home already!) and have more space than we need minus the clutter. I periodically read your enjoyable posts and hope to continue to read and be reminded of being simple. All we really need is the four of us happy and healthy!

  99. Pat G.

    I’m 53. I’m learning that it is hard to sort through and get rid of 17 years worth of homeschooling books and resources…but necessary and cathartic!

  100. Sarah

    4 days shy of 34. Lesson: It’s okay to rest.

  101. Karen

    Hi, I am fifty five years old.
    My hubby amd I have no children
    just two Poochies, Gentle Giants.
    We are in the phase of retirement
    with four years to go, ad hubby is seven
    years older.

    I have tried to down scale, from home
    furnishings, clothing, books ya name it.
    I am getting better but not there yet.
    Being a native born bred Texan, the
    Love of Shop til ya Drop, just want go
    away. Also to boot , hubby loves to shop
    as much as myself.
    This can be for all things under the
    creation. I feel we are caretakers of our
    things while we are on Planet Earth.

    Have a Happy Happy Birthday!!!!
    Have a fun day, Celebrate!!!!!! Ohhhhh
    Mannnn to be thirty eight again.

  102. Rachel

    I am 32 and I have learned so much from you, Tsh! Your example of living upstream has meant bravery for me in so many life choices. I have been learning that for things to really change in my life, it takes quite a bit of time for me to make that change. A heart transformation needs to occur and then my life actions follows that. But, it takes time. Around New Years, I decided I wanted to lose some weight. And now in August, some of those changes are starting to take shape, but the mental shift has taken a while and it’s the same with other big changes in my life.

  103. Marianne

    I will be 59 on Friday! (the 28th) Right now, I’m learning two things:
    1. How to pay attention to God more fully every day
    2. How hard it is to promote my ebook, The 12 Days of Christmas Adventure!

  104. Clarissa

    I’m 28 and I am learning all about blogging so that I can start sharing and using it as a motivator to live intentionally. It is through a lot of prayer and guidance that I am at this place and I am excited to see what God has in store!

  105. Annika

    I’m only 20 and still a student, and right now I’m learning as much as I can about living happily with oneself (minimalism) and at the same time have the least impact on our beautiful earth (environmentalism)! All the while learning how to do this with a partner who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A lot to do for a 20-year old, but you’re a greT inspiration. When I finish uni and have saved up some money, I will hopefully go back to long term travelling! (You can read all about it in my blog)

  106. Noreen

    Tsh I am 43 and currently learning how to incorporate exercise into my routine of life. Not an easy thing…
    And i am reading also Marie Kondo’s Book.

  107. Desiree

    30 going on 31…learning that my children are sponges and they see, absorb and remember everything. They are teaching me to be more mindful of myself and my actions.

  108. Marie-Claire Oman

    Happy birthday! It’s also my birthday week – turning 26 tomorrow! It feels very odd after having felt about 25 for a good 7 years. (I distinctly remember replying to something my dad said with “Yes, but these people don’t realize that I’m 25 years old!” when I was in fact 19, and then both of us bursting out laughing when I remembered that no, actually I’m not even close…)

    I’m learning to love my lifestyle as a stay at home mom, getting to cook and craft and spending time in nature. It’s also such a gift to have the flexibility to pack up our family and go wherever my grad-student-husband’s work takes us.

  109. Susan

    I am 31 and learning to trust myself. Learning that my voice matters.

  110. Brandie

    I’m learning what is truly necessary to make my family’s collective life function at optimal level. Stuff, events, relationships, etc. I’m learning that it changes at each new stage we enter and that I’ll never have it totally figured out. Can’t grow complacent, have to anticipate change in all the best ways.

  111. Linda

    I’m 70 (yikes! everybody else here is sooooo much younger!) and I am learning that perfection is a very relative concept that most often only serves to put pressure on people who don’t need that.

  112. Dona Bumgarner

    Happy birthday, Tsh! I learned a lot from your trip and writing about it, too. Our family would like to take a trip all around Australia in the next few years, and seeing how you traveled with young kids was inspiring. I’m 42 and this year I’m being treated for breast cancer. There are a great number of lessons I’m learning right now, but the biggest one is how to ask for help and also how to accept help when it is offered.

  113. Susan E

    Great post and great questions. Happy Belated Birthday! And best wishes for another wonderful year of living and learning.

    I’m 51 and still learning how not to react to everything that I consider “bad” or inconvenient that happens to me. And to not judge people because I never know what are the full circumstances behind their actions.

  114. Karen @ Dogs Don't Eat Pizza

    I am 44 and I am learning how to run my own business after teaching for 12 years and being a lawyer before that.

  115. Erin

    Happy birthday, Tsh, and thanks for another wonderful post.

    I’m 29, and I’m learning LOTS! Two of the big ones are: Polish and The Benefits of Accepting Myself.

  116. Kelly

    I’m 33. I’m learning how to say no in order not to let people take advantage of me. Friends who only call when they need a favor (I.e. money, gifts, etc) are not really my friends. True friends show genuine concern and want to hang out “just because,” not because of what I can do for them.

  117. Camille

    I’m 34 and I’m learning to be an expat. My husband and I moved our four kids to Italy yesterday. We may stay for a few months, a few years, or forever – that just isn’t known to us yet, but we are learning Italian and exploring our new home and loving it so far.

  118. TyAnn

    Hi Tsh – happy birthday fellow Leo. I just turned 42 and my husband gave me riding lessons. I’m learning that it’s really about my behavior and my thoughts – the horse just mirrors those right back. So when I’m unfocused and unsure, so is he. When I know what I want and am clear, he magically does what I ask. It is the most wonderful lesson.

  119. Megan

    24, contentment in motherhood.

  120. Libby

    Happy birthday! I am 33, and I am learning about how to reorient our family life, now that I am returning to full-time work. I’m very excited about my new job (as a school librarian), but it’s a big transition, and I’m still learning what I need to let go of (especially in the housekeeping department–not that I was an especially good housekeeper when I stayed at home!). I don’t read every post on the blog, but I do enjoy every post I read. Thanks for this gift.

  121. Trish

    Happy birthday! I’m 33 and I’m learning about meaningful self care.

  122. Gillian Lee

    I’m 49 and learning to live with intention and embrace minimalism … loving it!

  123. Terry

    I’m 59, and I’m learning that kindness is key. There is so little of it in the world, it seems. So always trying to at least be kind, even if I cannot agree with someone, feels rather revolutionary to this grandma! So easy to fall back on snark and too cool cynicism.

  124. Marinalva

    Happy birthday!
    I’m 60 years old and raising 2 grandsons. One turned 11 and a baby with 6 months old.
    Last year, I travelled to Uganda, Africa, with my 11 years old grandson and now I just returned from Brazil.
    I also realized that minimum when traveling is the way.
    At home, for 3 years I’m working on simplifying and right now I’m working on this with all my heart.
    Thank for inspiring.

  125. Annie

    47.. I am learning how to accept a chronic health condition I have had for 23 yrs. My life with children, now almost grown turned out a bit differently than I planned. Not able to do as many activities, travel, etc., we have learned as a family that patience, compassion, laughter and love is enough. Slowing down is and can be a beautiful thing. 🙂

  126. Charity

    Tsh, Congratulations and welcome to the 38 club! Your blog is such a blessing and inspiration to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your life with us. We moved five times in five years. so I related well to your traveling lite posts! I have also read Marie Kondo’s book and thank God for providing my socks to support my feet in the path He has directed me. Keep up the good work.

  127. Linda Sand

    I’m 68 and I’ve recently learned that letting my body choose what hours to sleep makes me happier. I’m not sure why I’ve felt the need to sleep nights like everyone else all these years when my body prefers sleeping 5 am to 2 pm.

  128. Jennie

    I just had my 63rd birthday and after a year of mobility issues, my travel is a little different than yours. I’ve learned that it’s OK to call a cab and meet the people who walked up the hill to the cathedral; it’s better to see the cathedral than to not go because I can’t walk to it. Although we take public transportation whenever we can, we also believe in the pre-arranged transfer to our hotel when we first arrive in a new place. It’s just easier on us and better for our vacation. We’ve also learned that renting a slightly larger hotel room or apartment with seating and a little table is good for our marriage and our ability to sight-see day after day. We need space to bring food back to our room rather than to go out to a restaurant every night. Your post has garnered lots of responses and they were interesting to read as was your post. Happy birthday!

  129. melro azul

    36 and 1/2 and I started today to learn how to use autodesk sketchbook (free version, not so good and lacks tools…)

    Have a GREAT birthday + week!

    Love from Lisbon

  130. Betty

    Happy Birthday! And thanks for sharing your year with us.
    I’m 56. Have had a year of the mixed blessings of caring for our parents as their lives on this earth came to an end.
    Learning the importance of Now and not looking/waiting for the right time or a better place. Do it now. Enjoy now. Say I love you. Step out and stop waiting to Live Your Life. Today matters right where we are

  131. Cheryl Ives

    Happy Birthday! I am 54 years old and the one thing I have learned in those years of living is that I am a survivor. I have survived a lot of different things but the most recent being a divorce where my ex took just about everything. I had always wanted to embrace minimalism and here is my chance and I have to say that my life is better than I ever expected!

  132. Anya

    I’m 35 and I’m learning how to use Excel in my new job. And learning that this momma functions so much better with a part time job. Yay!

  133. Cindy H.

    Happy Birthday! I’ll be 52 in November, and I am learning, through KonMari, to only live with belongings that bring me joy. It’s the quality, not the quantity that matters!

    • Gina

      I just posted 2 things I am currently learning. Seeing you post makes me realize I am learning this too 🙂

  134. Christina

    Happy Birthday!
    I’m 33. I’m learning some hard lessons about the imperfections of people and myself, but also some really glorious lessons about the capacity we have to love and forgive because of the immense forgiveness that we have in Christ! Praise God for working in us through the hard times as well as the easy ones!

  135. Gina

    35 and learning it’s ok to say ‘yes’ to me! Also a messy house is a house that is home to 2 healthy energetic kiddos 🙂

  136. Janel

    I am 33, living 8 months in New Zealand with my partner and our three kids!
    What I’m learning right now is that pride is often at the core of my pain, disappointments, and anger. So I’m working on becoming aware of that and letting go of pride (which is actually the opposite of self-confidence).

  137. Catherine Nowlin

    When I turned 61, I stopped working at my intensely dysfunctional job, left an unhealthy relationship, moved out of my apartment, and put everything I owned in a 10×10 storage shed. I have been housesitting for neighbors, visiting friends, and staying with family for three months. I have learned that I am not my career, I like being single, I can feel ‘at home’ anywhere if there is a coffee maker, and I don’t need much money to have a great, big life. I don’t know how long this model will be viable as a life style, but I am content for now. I’ll keep you posted!

  138. Abbey

    I am 36. I am learning how to shift from part time work with extra hours raising and just being with our young children to closer to full time work with most kids in school most of the day. I’m losing some free time, but taking on some really interesting new challenges in my work life instead of in my personal life for the first time in 7 years.

  139. Pam

    Hi, I’m one of your older readers at 72. I enjoy seeing how you are able to live your lives how you wish, including circling the globe with 3 children. I am learning to quilt and do art (something I never thought I could do). I’m also finally learning who I really am after being a people pleaser almost my whole life.

    • Marti


  140. Lisa D

    48 today! Happy birthday week to you too Tsh. I love this age, as so much that I thought was important has faded and I am learning the joy of family, nature’s beauty and dear friends!

  141. April

    I’m 30. Right now I’m trying to learn to trust God, because our future is so uncertain.

    By this autumn we have to make a very big decision (to stay overseas or to repatriate next summer, though that simplifies the issue a lot), and we’re not sure which is best for our family. They both have big pros and big cons. We felt sure God called us to this country five years ago, but now we’re not sure if we should continue to stay or move back to the US (and where in the US, as our former community has since dispersed… so we could go anywhere).

    Sometimes I wish God would speak in a clear voice and just tell us what to do. Though I know that’s not how life works.

  142. Stacy

    Happy Birthday fellow August birthday holder!
    39- today last year of my 30’s
    I’m learning that I need to do more for me, I put all my energy into everyone but me

  143. Kate

    Happy Birthday! Love your content…inspirational. Last Fall, our family traveled to Africa for 7 weeks, my husband, my 13 & 12 year old daughters and 7 year old son. After reading your post today, I am inspired to do it again. It was amazing! Thank you for sharing and have a great year.

  144. Edie

    I’m 52- I am learning to take some time to do something creative most days. I am trying to make the things I enjoy a priority to help me counter balance the stress is my job.

  145. Mandi

    Finishing up my 30th year, and learning that life is better when I live bigger. Put myself out there, trust God to be who He says He is, and take that scary next step.

  146. Tammara

    I’m happily 40.
    Right now I’m learning to appreciate that though I dream of visiting the world, this season with 5 kids and homeschooling is about allowing the world to visit me and how to appreciate and welcome it… and adjust to it’s challenges. In the past 5 years we’ve had a stream of houseguests and boarders from Asia, South America & Europe. I have currently 1 full time student from Hong Kong and 5 from Korea, it’s the fullest we’ve been, and I’m learning what “too full” feels like…and still being a gracious host.

  147. Mandy

    I’m learning the strength/faith it takes to move across the country from everyone/thing you’ve known.

  148. Meaghan

    Happy Birthday! I am 36 and learning I’m not as introverted as I thought. This summer has been hard for me emotionally so I’m trying to involve myself with more local groups to meet and hopefully befriend new people.

  149. Rachael

    I am 32. I am learning that ingratitude and complaining are an offense to God. Also that I need live as though I actually believe God’s promises (which I do). Also that I have no idea what to do with my rebellious daughter!

  150. Raelene

    Happy birthday, friend! I turned 34 just a couple weeks ago and am learning in this season to have faith in our plan and what we feel is best for our family, even though it isn’t unfolding the way we’d imagined.

  151. Andrea Wilson

    I am 38…and 1/2. I love that you are close to me in age. Welcome to the 38th year – it’s a good one. Amongst many things, I am learning to “own it.” I’ll back up a bit I started 2015 with the word “engage.” I’m exiting the baby fog. For me it has taken 2 and 1/2 years. For others it may pass quicker or last longer. For me about 2 + years. I felt ready to engage more with church, with friendships that have gone on hold, with sharing more of myself with others…I have mostly been on the fence of introvert/extrovert depending on setting and crowd. I have 3 kids ages 6, 4, and 2. I have been sucked in to home, childcare, and more childcare due to my husband’s demanding work schedule. So I am ready to engage, but I really need to be intentional, and as the word indicates – make the move(s). Then to “own it.” I realized this one recently. With hosting overnight company often I am very conscious of how my home looks, my children behave, what meals I cook, the state of my garden, the words I speak – just wanting everything to be presentable, commendable even, when I really get down to it. I need to “own it.” I am organized, clean, try to teach my children manners, etc. but my life is not going to look 100%, 100% of the time. I had out-of-town family members visiting for 10 days, 3 of which my husband was traveling for work. I needed to own my successes and my shortcomings, or not even shortcoming, just the things in my life that I want to be better but aren’t! Engage, and own it are my lessons for this 38th year.

  152. Fiona

    Wowsers there are a lot of comments here – you are well loved Tsh, and for very good reason. 🙂

    37. Learning that vulnerability is a good thing.

  153. Laura

    Hi Tsh, Happy Birthday! I’m 37. I’ve been following your blog for a few years and am all about simplifying my life. Thanks for your tips and insights along the way. I am currently learning how to work with my husband in simplifying our house. Getting rid of stuff. Making sure that the stuff we have is enriching our lives, not hindering it. I am just excited that he’s ready to start getting rid of stuff. It never really seemed like it mattered to him until now. Looking forward to what we can accomplish!

  154. Natasa

    I recently turned 39. My husband and our 2 young children live in Asia – we have been on this expat adventure for the last 3 years. I am learning to not fear the future, trust the Lord that He is guiding our family, and to take it one step at a time. Some days are easier than others. I have also started homeschooling and am enjoying this early period of teaching the little ones how to read and count.

  155. Heidi

    I’m 39. I’m learning that what inspired me at 20 y doesn’t inspire me anymore. I’m learning that life is in the shades of grey in between white and black. Love and family are the most important things.

  156. Natalie

    I’m 37 and learning how to live an unconventional life. I am learning Barzilian Ju-Jitsu and how its philosophy applies to everything in my life. I am learning to control myself instead of others. I am learning to love only this moment.

  157. Jessica

    Happy Birthday! I’m 38 as well. The obvious truth I’m learning over and over again is that Everything Changes.

  158. Marti

    I’m 41 and learning that no matter how much I don’t want to, even a ten minute run and good stretch always helps these old bones move better. I’m learning all kinds of deeper things too, many shared here. I feel like my thirties grew my soul and my forties are trying to preserve my body/ability to be active.

  159. On Hayden Lane

    Happy birthday, Tsh. I loved this post and the pictures. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your life with us.
    I’m 36 and learning how to make the most of my mornings (part of that, waking up earlier).


  160. Beth

    Happy birthday Tsh! I am 40 and learning that my children’s tantrums/extreme emotional reactions to situations are not a constant reflection of me and my mothering and that I also can let it be, not react and not always search for solutions. 🙂
    I love reading all of your posts. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  161. Tracy

    Happy birthday!
    I turned 50 last month. I am learning to live the life I am living, not the life I was hoping to have. This isn’t a negative thing. It’s finding the ways to have what is still important to me, and letting go of the unimportant.

  162. Rachael

    24. I’m learning how to be in an open, honest, committed relationship while maintaining my independence & staying true to myself

  163. Heid

    I’m 36 and learning that when I ask God to make it clear to us where our next step should take us, I need to be prepared to not necessarily love the answer but

    • Heid

      Oops! I meant to say that I may not necessarily love the direction he takes our family in but I am learning to trust that it will be good. Whatever it is, wherever he takes us, it will be good even if it’s not where I thought I wanted us to go.

  164. Julie

    45 I have been learning that I am uniquely made and it is for specific purpose. That bent I have or gift that I often felt made me a little quirky is actually pretty fabulous and meant to be walked in an celebrated.

  165. Janet

    What beautiful writing.
    I am Janet and I am 45 years old with 1 amazing 5 year old son and one amazing 47 year old husband of 16 years.

    I am learning. Just learning: how to let go of things, of the grip, of the tension
    learning better self care
    learning not to be so serious
    learning how to improve my knitting and crocheting skills
    learning how to be a better me, mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, worker, hairstylist, christian, lover, reader, encourager

  166. Sarah

    I’m 39! And I am learning how to live my life independent of how others are feeling around me…in other words, not letting how other people/family members are “feeling” dictate my actions. Responding (in love) yes. Reacting (out of fear,anger) no. I am prayerfully trying to do what’s best, instead of what’s easy/familiar! Does this even make sense? Haha! definitely still learning… Happy birthday 🙂

  167. Malissa

    I’m 25 (August birthdays are THE BEST) and I’m learning how to get my first baby (7 months old) to sleep through the night. Read: I’m learning patience, humility, love, faith, hope…

  168. Trish

    I’m 58. And I’ve learned that within a family that there is one person who takes on role of caregiver to the aging parents so the rest of the kids can do their own thing. Usually by default, not choice, but still a valuable role for all those who want to live less mainstream.

  169. Angie S.

    I’m 44 (for 12 days now) and am learning how to allow my 17 yr. old to make his own choices and not feel responsible/guilty for everything he does, good or bad.

  170. Kate @thestreamlinedlife

    Tsh, I soaked up every word of this post and truly hope to hear you elaborate more on each of those points in separate blog posts! Likewise, reading the comments was so inspiring and encouraging to me.

    Last year, as I approached my 30th birthday I had a mini life crisis. My husband and I hit a bump in our marriage and as we worked through those issues, we realized that we were no longer living in accordance to what we value most. We completed the Upstream Field Guide and identified our values and made a family mission statement. It was healing to our family and our marriage to do so.

    And so this past May we sold our house, got rid of 90% of our belongings, and moved ourselves and two young daughters cross-country; all of our belongings were tightly packed in a tiny 6’x12′ Uhaul trailer pulled behind our 4runner.

    We are now staying with family near the beach on Lake Michigan while we work towards the next step of our plan. As I approach my 31st birthday this November, I’ve finally learned that living what you value is far more important than living like everyone else. We have a lot of work to undo our attempts to keep up with the Joneses in our early 20s, but we know that is is incredibly worth it. Our dream is to live part of the year by family and travel by RV a few months of the year, exploring our country with our kids.

  171. Katherine

    I’m 35. I’m learning healthier ways to live with anxiety and pain – at least, I’m trying to.

  172. Amanda T.

    I’m 31, and I have been learning the importance of letting go. I do not need a closet full of clothes that I never wear…

  173. Kristin

    33 this week. After an intensely stressful and dark season, I’m learning what rest and healing feel like. Celebrating and favoring each new blessing. Getting to experience the promise that “joy comes in the morning.”

    • Stacy @awellstockedlife


      I wish I could give you a hug. Praying for you.


  174. Rachel

    I’m 37.
    …and I’m just now learning the value in really listening.

  175. Catherine

    Happiest of days to you Tsh! I am 48. This year, after watching my son flunk out of his first semester of college and enter a deep depression, having our car stolen while on vacation halfway across the country, and my husband’s diagnosis of malignant melanoma (thankfully it didn’t spread), I am learning what it means to really and truly trust in the Lord. Without the ” yes but” behind it.

  176. Kim

    Happy Birthday! 39 here, + working to discern how our family is being called, then going boldly w/ trusting hearts to serve with honor + glory to God. Wrapping up a 3-month family road trip in Acadia National Park this week, + hopeful the process of reflecting on our travels + adventures will shed light on our next best chapters. Already decided (in Denali N.P.) this summer to relocate to our little camp in order to eliminate debt, spend more active time outdoors together, travel more, + serve better – looking forward to gleaning additional life lessons + takeaways once we’ve slowed down. Cannot wait to read your next book – it’s coming at a perfect time for us!

  177. Jeffrey A

    Happy Birthday, and thanks for sharing!

    I’m 35 years old, and currently learning Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and meditation techniques.

  178. Rebecca

    I am 44 and have learned that family is not only your blood but, can also be really good friends, their kids, and grandkids too and for me personally there is nothing I will not do for family.

  179. Olivia

    I’m going to be 40 in October! I’m learning how to feed myself emotionally so I don’t deal with it all by binge eating, trying to be a more patient mummy, and gardening. Happy birthday!

  180. Kristy

    I’m 34 and I’m learning to love God and to love people well; this life is but a small blip in time compared to eternity.

  181. Lindsey

    How to handle stress in this ebb & flow of life.

  182. Holly Pennington

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post and happy birthday! I am 40 and I am learning to meditate.

  183. Stacy @awellstockedlife

    37, I’m learning how to take care of myself. I think sometimes as women we take care of everyone else and then fail to “put on our own air masks” in this life. I’ve been giving every bit I had away to care for others (children, husband, parents, community, students…). I’m exhausted and I can’t be my best for them if I don’t care for me first. It has only taken me a decade to discover this;) I read Marie Kondo too and followed her steps (that is overwhelming even when you are a minimalist–who knew you had so many pens when you track them down!!)…except it is apparent that she hasn’t been around children much and lives by herself–she is super sweet though in her TED Talks and I love my sushi roll socks! 😉

  184. Katie Di Filippo

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been inspired by your blog for quite some time now. This is the place and community that put words to the things and frustrations I had been feeling in the mainstream world. I am turning 26 in just a few days and am learning many new things in this season of my life. I am learning to take risks. I recently left my job and home in sacramento, ca to move to Los Angeles with my husband as he attends grad school at UCLA. I’m learning to put in the hard work of realizing my dreams and to be proud of myself for each small step that I take. And, inspired by the simplicity movement and your blog, I am learning to live my life a little differently, according to my own values, and I am learning just how difficult that can be.

  185. Rebecca

    36 – I’m learning how to receive help. Hopefully graciously!

  186. Morgan

    I’m 38 (just turned 38 two weeks ago) and in learning the absolute joy of falling in love with two people at the same time, as I gave birth to twin girls last May. These twinnies complete our family (3 girls – woot!) and I am also learning to shift from family dreaming mode (how many children will we have, when, etc) to creating mode (what do I want our family traditions and legacy to be).

  187. Jenn Douma

    Turned 38 in June! (That’s what caught my attention to read your article 🙂 )

    I’m learning in a very sssslllllloooooooooww and somewhat painful way to ‘be still’ and wait on God’s timing. I want to take my children out of public school and homeschool, but my husband ‘is not there yet’. In God’s time.

  188. ErinH

    Happy Birthday!
    I’m 40 (almost 41) and I am learning to live healthy – mostly due to being the most UN-healthy in my life and needing to find a sustainable new reality. I’m also learning to live in a new city and learning to homeschool for the first time (my Grade7 DD).

  189. Natalie

    I’m 38. Learning that homeschooling is harder than I thought it would be. I’m three days into our inaugural year, and hoping we made the right decision.

  190. Heidi

    love your post. Around the same time you were heading out around the world, our family of six rented our house, got rid of 90% of our stuff, left suburbia in Ohio and spent most of the year at an orphanage in Mexico. However, we were self supporting through a business here in Ohio, so had to come back for a while so my husband can work. I am learning together with my husband, how to launch a successful online business with the hope of being able to leave the Ohio business and go back to a third world country! I am learning patience in the process… And trying to remember that my life is where I am serving today. It does not make me a better person or Christian to serve in another country… But it does make my heart happy! Our whole family is looking forward to going back to Mexico. And yes, can agree with the points about not much stuff and relate to being together 24/7!!! 🙂 love following your family and excited to see where and what you do next!

  191. Genetta

    I’m 38. I’m learning to live in the gray area. Life’s not as black and white, concrete as I’d like it to be. And that’s okay.

  192. Jessica

    I am 47 and I am learning that I am fearless and brave.

    This quote from your post really resonated with me:

    “One of the more popular responses from people about our year of travel is some form of, “That sounds so amazing! I wish we could do something like that.” And my response, which I only occasionally share outwardly is, “You can! Start making a plan so that it’ll really happen.”

    Last summer I decided that my family was going to take a trip to Europe this year. I didn’t know how, exactly, we would make it work financially, but I knew I would figure out a way. Long story short, we ended up having a week in London and a week in Paris. It was the first time out of the country for my kids and my partner and I hadn’t been to Europe in 18 years. We managed to pay cash for all aspects of the trip and it feels great to have had such a lovely time without going into debt for it!

    Partly inspired by the trip I began to daydream about how I could find more time to pursue my writing projects (a 5 year old semi-neglected blog, a new french-focused blog – http://www.dreamsinfrench.wordpress.com; a self-published book and pages and pages of poems.) Like the trip, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it work, but I was pretty sure I would be able to pull it off. As often happens when things are meant to be the gears were somehow greased in my favor and I was able to obtain a part-time job that will pay me close to what I made working full-time and give me a whole lot more time to work on my creative projects.

    When I left my job the comment I heard most was, “I wish I was that brave.”

    But here is the thing – you can be! We all make choices everyday big like one a friend made, “I dream about retiring…did I mention I just spent $40,000 on plastic surgery?” ( I admit to blurting out, “Well, there’s one year of your retirement!” Oops.) And small choices like buying the book versus borrowing it from the library. Hey, if you read like I do, that adds up! Now the cash I save goes into the travel fund for our next adventure!

    My new mantra for myself and others is: Live a little, don’t live little. Be Brave!

  193. Kristi

    I’m sorta-recently-ish 40 and learning how to be in my 40s when I was so used to being in my 30s. 😉 I’m glad to see so many commenters around my age, actually! I’m also slowly trying to teach myself how to draw, and to have more humility in the parenting of my young kids. Happy birthday, Tsh!

  194. Michelle Q

    I just turned 42. I’m relearning how to stay in one place. We returned from our 9 month family RTW trip in June and I’m finding it hard not travelling. Great post! I found the same lessons as well. Happy birthday!

  195. Mandi

    I actually just celebrated my 38th birthday, as well, while on an around-the-world adventure with my husband and four kids. I am daily learning amazing lessons in flexibility and outside-the-box living.

  196. Nancy

    Thoroughly enjoyed that season of life–late thirties, homeschooling 3–thoroughly enjoying this season as well at 52…..God has been teaching me to enjoy each season…they pass SO quickly! Now, on the cusp of a new season as the “baby” has just left for college, re”dating” my hubby of 30 years, mom in final stages of Alzheimers, working as a dental hygienist for 31 years, God is teaching me to trust Him with this new uncharted territory. Great comments of joy, simplicity and trusting in God’s faithfulness through the whole of life. Rock on, ladies! Thank you for your encouragement and authenticity, Tsh, and have a lovely new year!

  197. Becky

    I am 42 and I have learned that life can be tragic. And I am now learning that when a tragic event happens in one’s life there is a before the tragedy happens and an after. And that not dwelling on the tragedy but finding some meaningful purpose living in the after is what matters. Thank you for this post. Happy Birthday!

  198. LeeAnn

    I’m about to be 39, and I’m joining a choir. It is something I regret not pursuing in high school and college. I’m going to learn to sing in public , in a group, from the classical repertiore, in foreign languages and Latin, and demand the time from my family to go to practice. I think the last bit will be the hardest for me as a constantly put every bodies else’s adventures first. Happy Birthday.

  199. Pippa

    I’m 43 and working hard at learning patience… and grace. Which I thought I had… until I had three children : )

  200. One Thankful Mom

    I’m 51, and the mother of a large family that is growing up quickly. I’m learning that the season of gathering and holding everyone close is changing. Now I’m opening my hands and releasing my older children, while simultaneously welcoming them home in new ways. We’re also walking through the sorrow of releasing a child to God following a tragic accident. This is a journey I wish with all my heart that we were not walking, but we are held by God and supported by a loving community. Thanks for your lovely blog.

  201. Jessica Pierce

    I’m 23. I’m learning, among a long list of other things, to slow down. I get too easily wrapped up in the whirlwind of trying to accomplish everything on my to-do list, ignoring the beauty and rest I could enjoy if I were simply to be still for a moment. I’m learning it’s okay to not have everything planned out, to not cross everything off my list by the end of the day, to set projects aside in favor of time spent with friends or a time of rest by myself. I’m learning to take life one step at a time.

  202. Sheila

    Happy belated birthday, from a long time follower of the blog and podcast. Thank you for giving me the tools to question my path and aim for something deeper. In fact, my family is knee deep in deciding whether to move away from family to a new city that will free us up from financial burden. There is so much fear. But reading this post with your most important lessons gives me a newfound courage. Thank you, thank you.

  203. Gen S

    Another great (and timely, so very often scarily so!) post, thank you for sharing lessons learned this past year! In my 46th year, the last 2+ years have found me dropped into the “sandwich generation”; we were blessed with a miracle baby boy after 22+ years of infertility, so we are older parents of a toddler (at least older than most we meet on the playground!) and the adult children of aging parents with dementia and MS among other ailments. I’m slowly learning to navigate this uncharted territory and to pay close attention to the strong desires of my heart. What I feel most intensely drawn toward keeps pointing the way to what feels right for our family now. Especially now as we are contemplating a move to where your family just relocated from (any words of wisdom on Bend??) we are leaning in to listen to our hearts. Tsh, I am still so grateful to have found your blog and truly appreciate how you share. May this next more conventional year for you be blessed with rest and Grace!

  204. Linda

    I’m 62 this month, but in my mind I’m 28. I’ve learned 2 important life changing things in my life..1) everyone is extremely talented in something… what you can do might be special, but so is everyone else’s ability. And 2) everyone is hauling a full load. I might have cancer or lupus, but God has given me the ability to deal with that. Someone else may have a blister and that is 100% of them.. don’t put down the load others are carrying – help them carry it with grace.

  205. Jill

    I am finishing up my 37th year as well. I am thrilled! I love aging. I do. I always have. It’s exciting to imagine what might be ahead.

    As for what I’m learning: the power of sleep and small daily diligences on my stability and serenity. They are two foundational blocks I blatantly turned my up nose at in my teens and twenties.

  206. Amy G.

    Happy birthday! I’m 41. One thing I am learning right now is how planning and writing down assignments for my homeschooling kiddos blesses EVERYONE involved 😉

  207. Kristen

    I’m 35! Wow, when did that happen? 🙂 Let’s see. I’m learning how to live more frugally as we’ve entered into the stage of saving for our upcoming big adventure!

  208. Susan

    Im 53. Learning that less is more. Getting rid of stuff that has filled my home and yard. Im enjoying all the space and empty areas. I think more clearly and feel freedom with newfound purpose. Discovering the importance of relationships over stuff.

  209. Kristi

    I’m 37. Right now I’m figuring out this new life stage. I quit my steady income job a month ago to be a SAHM for my almost 9 and too-soon-to-be-3 year olds. My husband is about to go into full-time ministry. It’s a major life adjustment for each of us. My days right now go by in a blur of breakfast/laundry/lunch/dishes/what’s for dinner? I’m trying to find greater purpose in each day, other than keeping everyonegoing to live another day.

  210. Leslie

    I’m 34.
    My husband and I packed up our 4 kids and moved half way across the world for a new job and a very cool new country. I thought we would be so happy because of this new experience. Guess what? I find the people here to be awful, closed off and really, really rude to those who choose to have more than 1 child. It turns out that for me, a place is only great when the people are great. Both my children and I always look back fondly on places where we made wonderful connections with other people and enjoyed real, deep friendships. It’s the people that matter the most.

  211. Jami

    Happy Birthday! I’m 39.5 and have learned more than I wanted to this year. I learned that there is light, even in the darkest season of life. I learned that God will pull up so close to you that you can feel his presence. I learned that all of the work to build a strong foundation of faith is most important when your world is falling down around you. I learned that it is easy to say to a friend experiencing a hard time that she needs to have faith, but living that out is so much more of a challenge. I learned that things that you believed were forever, might not be forever. This year, I learned to let go and be fully and completely reliant on God. This year, I learned that I am stronger than I realized.

    I must admit, I am really looking to learning new fun things during my 40th year. 🙂

  212. Alysa Bajenaru

    I’m 36. And I’m learning to let go of expectations.

  213. Alissa

    I’m 37 – learning how to parent from a perspective of building up, encouraging, and preparing for the next stage of life. We’re out of the toddler and preschool stage when so much of parenting is just getting them to the next day in one piece. It’s a joy to be in this stage, and I feel the need to be more mindful about what/how we do things.

  214. Brenda Nuland

    I just turned 61. I’ve learned life passes much faster than we thought it would at age eighteen and that our life at 60 depends a lot on our choices in our younger years.

  215. Kathy

    Love your words. Love your story. Thank you for sharing.

    I’m 39. Uh oh is right!! Full on mid-life crises over here.

    I’m focusing on my true talents/strengths (leveraging the Gallup Strengths finder and a Strengths Coach) to more clearly operationalize my true gifts and stop doing the things that I have learned to do well but don’t bring my magic to the world.
    Basically, I don’t want to do the things I don’t love anymore. 😉

    And I want to world school…

  216. Catherine

    Bon anniversaire! From a french from london 🙂 aged 43. Enjoy. I”.m learning Windsurfîng !!!

  217. Darla

    I’m 42.
    I’m learning to be true to myself and what is right for me no matter what other people think.

  218. Patty

    I’m 54. Learning about energizing hope and how to use it to impact the world.

  219. Dannielle

    Happy Birthday! I’m 29 and I’m learning to cook healthy meals that suit me and my family. It’s more fun than I anticipated.

  220. Cindy in PA

    I’m 54 and learning to live peacefully in an intergenerational home with my husband, daughter and granddaughter. Some days I’m more successful than others. I’m a work in progress I think.

  221. Ginny

    I’m 39. I’m getting closer to my calling than I’ve ever been. I can see all the things that have contributed to this part of my life that are finally going to be fleshed out. It’s exciting and terrifying.

  222. Leah

    I’m 31! And I’m also learning #5- that I can’t let so much of my brainspace be occupied by what people may or may not think of our life decisions.

  223. Laurie

    I’m 48 and a full time traveler. I love stargazing, homeschooling and traveling the USA with my son and amazing Nurse Hubby! Life is simple and good! Love your blog and the freedom you share with others! May your birthday be blessed with hope and joy today and always!

  224. Sandy

    I’m 60. Learning that I love to travel but with two new grandbabies and two toddlers it is nice to touch base near home to spend a day with them when we can. I’m also re-learning that I can live with just a few changes of clothes as I pack today for a three week western states hiking adventure. I think I’ll go pack while that is fresh on my mind.

  225. Rachel

    I’m 29 going on 30…. I’m learning that it’s ok that our family doesn’t fit into any one box. I’m also learning that if something (meaning physical items,Ideas, or activities) isn’t meaningful, beautiful, helpful or purposeful, it’s ok to drop it.

  226. Lori

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I’m 39 year old turning 40 this December. I’m beginning to understand, on a soul level, what it means to really listen. To pause, and listen to others, to nature and my surroundings, to what my heart is feeling . . . . it has changed how I interact with others on so many levels.

  227. Joy B Rudolph

    I’m 32 and I keep learning just how different men and women are.

  228. JL

    I’m 41. I’m learning that it’s truly ok to let go of stuff/things. I’m finishing up Marie Kondo’s book and have already started purging. The concept of doing away with something that no longer works for you (even though it may be new or expensive or nice or, or or…) is OK! That the purpose of that thing was to show you that it was in fact *not* what you needed.

  229. pam

    Hi Tsh. I’m 44. I’m learning to do the next thing. Life and all our belongings seem overwhelming to me right now but what comforts me is reminding myself to trust God and to do the next thing. I’ve been getting rid of things slowly because life keeps happening but I’m working through it. I would like to know what your thoughts are on keeping homeschool items (papers and such) prior to 9th grade. In my state all that’s required is attendance, immunizations, and yearly tests. Thanks for sharing.

  230. Molly

    I’m 31 and learning how to be a debate coach. 🙂

  231. Pam

    I am 45 and am learning how very significant and beneficial soul space is for me.

  232. Mary

    I am 65 and I have learned that True contentment is being able to be at peace with where God has you right now.

  233. lora

    I am 51~ and learning again that very few people really ever change~

  234. Kathy Ericksen

    I’m 59 and learning I love audible and podcasts ( especially yours!) always love what you share.

  235. Beth

    I’m 36, 37 next week. I am learning to let go of fear and start stepping outside of my comfort zone. I have always felt the need to be responsible and follow the rules. Do what is safe. Take care of others, often at my own expense. But by slowly learning to let go of the fear of disappointing someone or being “irresponsible” and forcing myself to step outside my comfort zone (e.g., waking my kids up while camping so they could see the beautiful star-filled sky), I am starting to feel more alive and more connected to God and the people in my life. A seed of joy is starting to grow.

  236. Crystal

    I’m 28 and learning that life doesn’t always go as planned, after thinking we were done having kids 9 and 11 years ago we are expecting surprise baby number 3.

  237. Theresa

    Happy birthday Tsh!
    I am 60 and love your blog and podcast…..so does one of my wonderlust daughters! I have learned that getting older and wiser is wonderful!

  238. Davonne Parks

    I love this article. I’m 30 and I’m learning to lean into and embrace challenging seasons instead of wishing them away.

  239. Maurie

    I am 22 and am learning how to view the inconveniences of life as adventure.

  240. liv

    i’m 36 and i’m learning how fast time goes once your oldest enters high school. it literally flies!

  241. Melody

    I’m 35 years old. I’m learning that happiness doesnt need to wait until things are perfect. 🙂

  242. Ruth

    Hi Tsh,

    Thanks for sharing and happy birthday! I’m 46 and learning how to pack lighter.

  243. Esther

    38…learning to go with the flow. We jumped into an ex-pat assignment just over a year ago which landed us half way around the world in Japan. As we are preparing to wrap up the assignment next summer, I still can’t believe that I moved my family of 4 (now 5–moving overseas while pregnant!) half way around the world. I wouldn’t change our experience for anything. We’ve been able to travel, with more traveling coming up, try new foods and show our kids a broader world. It’s been amazing!
    As we prepare to move Stateside next year, although we’ll be looking for a new place to live in a new city and state, I also come back to the idea of “stuff.” I finished Marie Kondo’s book about a month ago and realize just how far I can go with eliminating stuff. We hauled so many loads to the local donation center, but I know that we’ll have so much more to take when we return to the States; after all, if I haven’t needed it (or even missed it) for the past 2 years, why am I holding onto it? (Scrapbooks and photo albums excluded! 🙂 )
    I think if anyone has an opportunity to take their family abroad, they should grab on to that opportunity and go! There’s nothing better than going with the flow and seeing where it takes you.

  244. Samantha.h.reid@gmail.com

    I’m Samantha and. I’m 41. I’m learning how to be content and not strive, strive, strive. My worth is not to be found in my next great accomplishment.

  245. Stevie

    Happy Birthday!

    I’m 27 and learning how to start over (again.)

  246. Karinny

    Happy Birthday! I am learning to be patient and wait for the right time for everything. Learning to live in the moment and appreciate the busy and magical life with a one year old 🙂

  247. Elizabeth

    How to be a better parent. How to “tidy up” Marie Kondo style.

  248. Avril

    I’m 36 and I’m learning to find the beauty in my daily life and make space for dreaming . I love this blog!

  249. Kimmi

    46 – learning patience

  250. Kristin

    Hi! I’m 44 and I’m learning that I have itch to see something different, something meaningful, something courageous, something life changing. I just don’t know how to make that happen yet. I have also learned that my children are growing far to rapidly and I need to slow down and enjoy it.

  251. Kelsi

    I’m 36. And I’m learning that I’m way more powerful and able than I ever thought before.

  252. Meghan

    I’m 33 and learning to love well! To love without boundaries and rules, also to live life in the moment, not the past or the future but in the right here and right now.

  253. Michelle

    I am going to be 50 next year. I have never worried about saying what age I am and always seem to say “turning (insert next year I will be)” instead of the the year I currently am…not sure why. I continue to learn an interesting lesson about being an introvert and what it means for my friendships – that although having a large group of boisterous friends looks like fun from the outside, it’s not the best fit for me. I have always longed to be in the “cool girls’ ” group – even now with the Moms in the school yard. But I have also learned that those people are also not as happy as they seem. Interesting. I am constantly learning and am grateful for that.

  254. Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com

    Happy 38th Birthday Tsh! I turned 60 this year and what I continue to learn and discover is that there is always so much more to learn and discover, no matter what your age. I particularly liked your points about how there are so many ways to live in this world AND that there is no ONE WAY that is more right than another. Finding our own individual (and simple) way to live is what I call SMART–but even the name doesn’t matter. What matters is the living it. Congratulations for discovering all that you have so far–and there’s SO MUCH more to explore! ~Kathy

  255. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

    Happy birthday, friend! 🙂 I am 36 for a couple more months. And I’m learning what really matters. As I’ve tried to figure out this “giving up on perfect” thing, I’ve let some things go that it turns out actually matter. And I’ve held on too long to things that don’t. I’m really coming face to face with some of those discrepancies right now and thankful for the clarity (even when it feels a bit like getting my toes stepped on).

  256. Julie Cabitto

    I’m 40, & I always wanted to learn how to play the violin. So I started lessons last year.

  257. Ann

    I’m still learning that my joy is found in Him (Jesus) rather than what my circumstances are – which are not what I had envisioned for my life by this time. Some days I’m frustrated and discontented because things aren’t what I want them to be. And other days I’m almost giddy because i get a glimpse of what His plan is and how it’s all fitting together and how I am a part of the larger whole.

  258. Hannah Beth Reid

    Happy birthday to you! Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I am one of those who is content with the mainstream lifestyle of my American culture, so thanks for that shoutout to us following that way to being true to ourselves. 🙂
    I am 30 years old and not a bit sad about it!
    The insignificant skill I am currently learning to is perfect chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies…I will practice every Friday night until I get it right…haha!

  259. kacey

    I’m 39 and only 5 months away from 40. I’ve learned that what happens when our kids are young will define what they’re like as adults and how they’ll relate to others. Because of that I’m now very intentional about making sure I’m focused on my kids and sloe ding time with them. Along the way, that’s meant postponing some hobbies, saying no to some things and letting go of my preferred way of doing some things.

  260. Amy

    31. Learning how to be a carrgegiver for my parents.

  261. Bobbi Gallegos

    I will be 50 on November 23rd. I ‘m learning to let go of “things” .. I am in the mode of selling, giving away and throwing out many things .. I feel once I have pared down to more manageable numbers, it will open my life up to more time for fun, friends, travel and all the things I used to do.

  262. Heidi

    I’m learning to question society and my family’s expectations of me in a quest to discover what I truly want and am passionate about.

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