Today marks the last day of my twenty-ninth year. Rather than spending my final weeks planning a skydiving adventure or jetting off to a tropical locale, I decided to see if I could make my idea of ordinary into something extraordinary. Every night before I went to bed, I chronicled some small moment that left an impression on me from that day. While I hope there are decades of grand escapades to be had and major milestones to achieve, this exercise left me feeling fairly confident that when I look back on my life, the small moments will matter just as much as the big ones.
- I planted seeds for our garden.
- I meditated.
- I bought an extra bag of rice to donate.
- I decluttered the basement. Again.
- I had a $30 impromptu date night.
- I helped expand our garden.
- I gave something away for free.
- I decluttered the last holdout on our first floor.
- I spent time helping a coworker troubleshoot a personal technology problem that did not impact me in the least.
- I bought my husband a small treat just because.
- I learned a new recipe.
- I started my grandma’s word search book.
- I accepted a rose from my husband without considering the cost.
- I wrote snail mail for simply to keep in touch.
- I chose to spend time with my parents instead of writing for my blog.
- I made a double mortgage payment.
- I booked a new side hustle.
- I drank a glass of wine by myself not because I needed it, but because I wanted it.
- I finished a book that changed me.
- I spent time doing yard work, listening to birds instead of music.
- I laughed so hard I cried. And snorted.
- I invested a whopping $8 on a moisturizer that is transforming my morning routine.
- I asked my students to write notes of kindness and encouragement for each other.
- I practiced my Spanish.
- I did a favor for a friend knowing it will never be repaid.
- I called my parents to ask for their help and got it.
- I achieved a written financial goal.
- I got a good night’s sleep.
- I ate chocolate.
- I went for a walk to enjoy the tree blossoms.
Maybe one day these moments will grow into something greater, something bigger than I ever could have dreamt. Or perhaps they’ll remain small grains of sand in the hourglass of my life. No matter, I will savor them regardless. It seems that looking back on the ordinary with such appreciation and gratitude is perhaps the most extraordinary thing of all.
I hope you love your 30’s. Congratulations and happy birthday!
Thanks so much, Holly!
What a great way to stop and smell the roses. Happy birthday!
It really was, Miss Thrifty! Looking back on this list makes me want to do this exercise more often!
kay ~ the barefoot minimalist
I love your list! There’s gold in the little things. Congratulations on the big THREE O, Penny! You’ve got a great head start on knowing how to enjoy the next 3 decades to come! 🙂
There is so much gold in the little things. What a powerful phrase. So glad you’re back, Kay!
Gary @ Super Saving Tips
These are great! We should stay grateful for the small moments as well as the big ones. Hope you have an amazing birthday!
Thanks so much, Gary!
Your list is full of great moments! It’s the simple things that can bring great joy. Happy birthday!
And focusing on them has really helped shift my outlook! Thanks, Amanda!
Heather @ Simply Save
What a great idea! Happy birthday!!!
Thank you, Heather!
Thias @It Pays Dividends
Happy birthday! Sometimes the simplest moments turn out to be the greatest!
Thanks for the kind wishes, Thias!
Latoya @ Life and a Budget
These are such wonderful reflections. I need to take a que from you and do this more often. Enjoy the last days of your twenties. I thought I’d ever say this, but I don’t miss the twenties at all:)
My twenties were great, but I’m looking forward to my thirties! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things!
Happy birthday! The little moments are just as important as big ones, so I hope your day is full of wonderful little moments.
Thank you so much! It was a pretty ordinary day full of wonderful people.
Wonderful idea! Sounds like a very nice month overall. Also, for me a lot more of those days would’ve been “ate some chocolate.”
Ha! There definitely were many chocolate days. 🙂
Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor
Sounds like a beautiful month. There is so much power in finding contentment in the “small things”–that turn out to make up so much of our lives.
It really was a lovely month! There were lots of not-so-great moments, but it turns out they didn’t matter much seeing as I don’t really remember them.
Happy birthday! I love the entire list, but #13 is my favorite.
Thanks so much!
Our next life
Hooray for snort laughs! 🙂 I think I missed your birthday yesterday — HAPPY 30th!!!! 30s are awesome, and I think you’ll like it here. It’s not all insecurity-free perfection, as some people like to say, but early 30s are definitely when I started to feel like I knew what I was doing. 🙂
Day 1 is great! 🙂 Seems like a good club to be part of.
FF @ Femme Frugality
I love this! So many things on this list are an example of slow growth, which often reaps the most rewarding of rewards. Happy 30th!!!
Slow growth, I like it! I’ve never been a very patient person, so I’m trying to slow down and evolve in that regard.
Sylvia @ Miss PF
Happy Birthday! What is the book that changed you? And the moisturizer?
I also recommend the book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. It is fantastic!
All The Light We Cannot See was the book. You might laugh, but it’s ELF moisturizer. I swear it has done more for my skin than any expensive anti-aging moisturizer ever did. I will add Bittersweet to my holds list that the library. Thank you!
Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless
What book as it that changed you?? Was it All the Light We Cannot See? I think we were having a twitter convo about that one recently; I just got it from the library!
The writing and the stories of the children/teens iss so captivating. I haven’t read a grown-up book that I’ve thought about as long as I’m still thinking about that one! 🙂
Claudia @ Two Cup House
Happy belated birthday, Penny! I love that you shared your daily celebrations. Thank you!
So true! It’s how we see things (big or small) for what they really are and for the value they add to our life. Happy 30th in advance! 🙂
Ooops, I just checked the date…my greeting should have been “happy belated birthday!” 🙂
Martin - Get FIRE'd asap
Nice. Life doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated now does it.
Martin, it certainly doesn’t! Great reminder!
This is inspiring to me, as I near 30 myself before too long. I turned 28 this year, and I would be lying if I denied that I mourned the death of my “early- to mid-twenties.”
Thank you. 28 was much harder than 30. 30 has been a blast so far!