The Well-Oiled Machine: Part I

March 26, 2014

Until this year, this month, this week, I have been building and growing.

An education.

A career.

A house.

A blog.

Another education.

A title.

An adult set of responsibilities.

A new city.

A new dwelling.

A new business.

A new house.

Another blog.

A baby HUMAN.

While the above mentioned are always going to need attention, maintenance and planning, I’m feeling a sense of peace this year. We’re not planning to have another baby (yet) and our careers are established and running. We are adults. We are grown-ups.

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So much time is spent planning for the future that I’ve wondered when (if?) life hits a sort of stasis – an age or experience level when you’ve done most “adult” things at least once and the learning curve slows down.

Of course I don’t mean life literally slows down – there are always unexpected events and tasks – but there has to be a place where you have reached the top of the mountain and get to hike along the peak and enjoy the views.

Maybe this doesn’t happen until you’re 40 or an empty nester with grown kids or perhaps not until you hit 90 years old. I’m sure it’s different for every person. But what I’m trying to say is that I feel like I’ve reached some degree of adult contentment. A lot of things adults do I have been doing for a long time. I am no longer a newbie at buying insurance, paying bills or cooking my own meals. Even when things do go awry, I have a better idea of how to handle them than I did when I was fresh out of college. (Like a broken air conditioning.)

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Running a household is no joke. I now know why home economics classes used to be taken seriously. If, in addition to cooking healthy food, doing laundry and paying the bills, if you’re also going to iron your linens, bake bread from scratch and create crafts to do with your kids everyday, you have to be really organized. (Not that I have experience with any of those!)

Part of this contentment I’m feeling in 2014 comes from figuring out how to run my household like a machine. I’ve spent my early adulthood figuring out what works for me and while my house still needs fuel and attention, it runs pretty smoothly. I think I finally found a system that hums, and I plan to share the details in a follow-up post.

I hope this year is a year to enjoy life a little bit more and worry less about tomorrow.

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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebekah {aCricketSang} March 26, 2014 at 8:12 am

So well stated. Im still figuring out how to cook and feed myself and pay taxes and bills. I can only imagine how much time and effort it will take to learn these things with a house and kids! So you definitely deserve some contentment!

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2 Lynda March 26, 2014 at 8:14 am

Kath, this is a great post! I think you’re in a place in your life that most people would like to be where you can be present in the moment and enjoy it. So many of us (myself included for sure) are either looking ahead at what’s next or looking behind at what I could have/should have done. I want to do better at appreciating what is happening now. I’m happy for you and your family:)

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3 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 26, 2014 at 8:19 am

Where you are now is basically my dream! Haha I’m still the single, careerless, 20-something struggling to find her place in the world. But I’m glad there are bloggers like you that I can learn from!

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4 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:08 am

I was there too… You will figure it out :)

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5 Linda March 26, 2014 at 8:33 am

I I’ll be 40 in June and I’m so excited about this new decade ahead. I’ve accomplished so many things I’ve only dreamed of and this next chapter in my life I simply have to enjoy. also I don’t feel close to over the hill I feel fabulous.

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6 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

I didn’t mean “over the hill” as a negative description. It’s what I’ve grown up hearing society call it. I look at it as a real step into adulthood not a decline at all.

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7 Becky March 26, 2014 at 8:35 am

As a fourty-something mother of a tween, I can assure you, there is always something new to be learned or dealt with. Always.
You just get better about sorting out what you really need to fret about & what you don’t.

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8 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:01 am
9 Andrea C. March 26, 2014 at 8:53 am

I envy you! At 36, I am trying to get to the well oiled machine. I’m almost there except for the career part. Thinking it’s time for a change. I’m only 36…right?

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10 Ali @ Peaches and Football March 26, 2014 at 9:09 am

An interesting post Kath. It’s funny because I was relfecting on life a few days ago and was thinking about how I’m now in my early 30s and am most definitely an adult, but I still feel young and wet behind the ears. Of course, I haven’t been married yet (soon though) and don’t have kids, but sometimes I wonder how I even manage to take care of myself. It’s a lot to juggle family, ambition, work, hopes, and dreams at a young age because I think our minds are full of so much we still want to accomplish and we’re busy working to maximize time and still have a degree of harmony and peace. I’m always amazed though by what people can accomplish. Look at all the things you are juggling and you make it look easy even if it isn’t all the time. :)

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11 JessicaR March 26, 2014 at 9:19 am

Ack! At 30 I feel like I still barely have a clue. The older I get, the more I feel like I don’t know! I look forward to your follow-up post. :)

I had to laugh at your “over the hill 40″ comment. It’s funny how when I was a kid, 40 seemed sooooooooo old. Now that I am older, I have tons of friends in their 40s, and I feel like we’re all the same age.

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12 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:01 am

We also have friends in their 40s (and a few 50s) and they have never seemed so young.

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13 Kate @ Indulgent Wellness March 26, 2014 at 9:24 am

So glad you are feeling content…such a gift to be able to find that place. I think out culture barely allows people to feel satisfied and instead makes us always strive for the next thing. Hailey just started preschool and I’m quickly learning that having kids in school brings with it a whole set of new challenges, things to remember/do, places to be/go. Just when I had the knack for the toddler years:-)

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14 Anne Weber-Falk March 26, 2014 at 9:32 am

When I reached my 40’s I thought I was there. Bills are getting paid. I have a job I like. A home. Three children and a husband that I love and that loves me. In a month I will be fifty and most days I feel quite content. I know what I’m doing and I feel like an adult. Things change fast in life. Children are all very different from each other, even though we try to raise them the same. With life comes death. Children and parents get older and roles changes. Lately as new experiences come forward in my life I find myself getting nervous and wanting someone to hold my hand and help show me the way. It’s not a bad thing but just when I think I have this life down pat sometimes I get a curve ball thrown at me and I realize that I have a lot more to do and learn.

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15 Dave March 26, 2014 at 9:40 am

A lot on your “plate” but all good things! And the baby is adorable!

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16 Ali March 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

Like you said, I feel like once I’ve established some sort of “well oiled machine” with our current lifestyle, life throws a wrench at us and we have to re-evaluate and change things such as new jobs, new houses, new towns, new babies, etc. Who knows when things will slow down?!

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17 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:06 am

Probably never : )

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18 valerie March 26, 2014 at 9:43 am

Being in a state of contentment is wonderful and I try to strive for it myself. Your post today is a nice gentle reminder for those of us who tend to stress and worry and always look to the “next thing.”

I do wonder if you’ll call 40 “over-the-hill” when you get there… I turned 40 this past October, look like I’m 30 (so I’m told), and feel better than when I was in my 20s! I’m not criticizing, I just think it’s funny how one’s perspective changes as one ages :)

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19 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 9:59 am

It’s the classic descriptor… I’m almost there too!

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20 Jessica March 26, 2014 at 10:02 am

So funny, I don’t know anyone who calls 40 ‘over-the-hill’ anymore! Maybe 50+, but not 40. To each their own, I guess. I am 29 and 40 still seems pretty young. :)

I think the most important thing is to be constantly growing, learning, changing and adapting; no matter how old you are.

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21 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:10 am

Fine fine I took it out! Didn’t mean to offend anyone. I enthusiastically expect it to be in several 40th birthday cards I receive though.

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22 Jessica March 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

Did I seem offended?? Haha, I wasn’t a bit. I didn’t see it as a negative statement, just more of an old fashioned one. And just because I personally don’t hear it in my circle doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

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23 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

I’m collectively responding to yours : )

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24 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

It’s definitely an interesting thought and one that I often think about – any what point do we have that “contentment” or are we always looking ahead and preparing for what’s to come next? Lately I’ve found myself feeling content with my life – my career, my friendships and my (potentially) budding relationship. In a way it almost makes me nervous to even admit, for fear of rocking the boat so to speak. But regardless, it’s an interesting and kind of cool feeling.

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25 Katie March 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

You also built a relationship and a marriage — seem like biggies that should be on the list!

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26 Joy March 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

Great post. I agree with the other commenters in their 40s who say that life doesn’t stop throwing you curveballs. You’re just better at handling them.

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27 RunEatRepeat March 26, 2014 at 10:21 am

I totally don’t feel like I have it together – but I love the idea of getting to a place where the day to day is a well oiled machine. It’s something I’d work towards – good for you!!

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28 Kelly March 26, 2014 at 10:21 am

Kath,
What a wonderful post! I am in my late 20’s, engaged, getting married this summer, and I am just now starting to figure out how to arrive at the place you describe. What you have achieved is no small feat, I bet it’s an awesome feeling! Great job, and thank you for inspiring me to live the best and most fulfilled life possible!

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29 Megan March 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

Oh man, when I started reading this I thought it was a pregnancy announcement!

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30 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

Haha not yet! I assure you one won’t be coming anytime soon : )

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31 Leah @ goodnightcheese March 26, 2014 at 11:09 am

Very interesting post. I’m curious on how you see your future career, since you’ve said that right now you’re content with your work. Do you see yourself solely blogging and taking care of Mazen and the household for the majority of your career, or do you want to work in a clinical, research, or some other setting in the future? Not that either is better or worse, harder or easier necessarily, I’m just wondering what your thinking is.

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32 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

Any time I have after raising kids will go into the bakery. I didn’t go back to school with any intention of going the clinical or research routeso that’s not in the cards. Working locally helping people with weight loss is an option but I think the bakery needs me more.

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33 Lucy March 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I’d love to hear more about what you do/what you want to do at the bakery — have you considered doing a post on your role in the bakery?

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34 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I haven’t thought of doing one because my role since Mazen was born has been minimal – mostly marketing stuff like the website, emails, email list, promotions and things. That’s where I would spend a lot more time – everything from nutrition talks on whole grains (which I used to do!) to community events and more regular promotions and things around our holidays.

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35 Theodora March 26, 2014 at 11:23 am

What an awesome post! I love this sense of peace. While being a single New Yorker means there’s still a lot of “real adulthood” stuff I still haven’t achieved, I’m still really happy with where I am and the life I’ve built for myself, so I get this feeling. It’s a nice one :)

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36 Matt March 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I sometimes feel like I’m chasing that moment when I have nothing to do, yet when it (infrequently) arrives, it’s easy to get bored with it. I hate to say it so negatively, but are humans ever completely satisfied? Sure you can be content in a moment, a day, whatever time period. But do you ever reach total bliss? I guess that’s what that Buddha guy was talking about!

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37 Holly G. March 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I’m intrigued! Can’t wait for part 2 :)

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38 Stefanie March 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Wow, what a great blog post! It’s inspiring and great that you have reached this point in your life. :-)

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39 Fancy March 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm

LOVE this post, can’t wait to read the follow up one! Xo

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40 Annie March 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Beautifully written! My boyfriend and I are just settling into a new city and a new home, and I am on the verge of feeling “content” for the first time in my life, I think. Of course there’s always more to be done with our careers, etc., but we’re off to a great start.

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41 Kelly March 26, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Maybe it’s just me, but the thought of the “learning curve slowing down” sounds kind if depressing to me. I love feeling challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone. That’s not to say I don’t like some moments where things are easy and I don’t like to think, but I find it kind of satisfying to feel like I’m not the same person or in the same place as I was 10 years, 5 years or 1 year ago. Yes there are definitely areas of my life I feel like I understand so much better than I did then, but every year seems to bring new challenges and I love it. When it doesn’t happen I find myself getting bored and a little mopey.

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42 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I hear ya! I kind of feel that way too – it’s nice to keep striving for something new. I think that’s why a lot of adults get second careers after retirement in cool industries.

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43 marcie March 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Very cool and inspiring! Thanks for sharing. Yay you!

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44 Tracy March 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm

What an interesting topic, Kath! Look forward to the follow-up post!

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45 Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit March 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

What a great feeling to have! Did you re-read this and feel a sense of ‘ahhhh’?! Hopefully it stays calm until you’re ready to shake things up a bit!

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46 Lyndsey March 26, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Best blog post in a long time. sending this to my husband. can’t wait to experience this contentment.

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47 Carrie March 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Agreed!! :-)

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48 Annie March 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Thanks for this Kath – my job takes me around the world, and I live in NYC, and while I love both, I have been feeling a need for more of this adult contentment (at 31). Love reading your words daily! Thanks!

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49 Anjar March 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Wow, you have such a organized view on life. And seem soooo organized! I don’t see how you have a great many things going at once and remain calm and happy- a great inspiration. I am 36 and cannot seem to get a handle on all of life essential things. If I focus on bills and saving money, I forget something like a work deadline or project finish date. Do you do consultations ever for life coaching?

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50 KathEats March 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

I’m flattered that you asked, but I don’t do anything formal. I have always wanted to do something like that though (down to wanting to clean my friends’ bedrooms when we were kids!) My recommendation would be to get a really great calendar going and keep track of everything in there, create a budget and use something like Mint to track your bills. This is what I mean by the machine – when you get a good system set up you still have to do everything but you don’t have to think about it as much on a daily basis.

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51 Maryea {happy healthy mama} March 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Great post and insights! I’m interested to read about the nuts and bolts of your well-oiled machine. :)

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52 Margie March 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm

This is a post I could have written myself! The only thing I might add is my marriage. It has been harder work than I imagined, probably just as many challenges as having our baby, actually. But very rewarding. You speak as “we” in the post, so I can see this may be how you are thinking anyway. It is a major milestone in life, perhaps consider adding it into the post?

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53 Livi March 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

That is so awesome!

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54 Hannah March 26, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I LOVE this post, and the concept of contentment. This makes me so happy, and is so relevant for me right now. I have been trying to get into more of a routine with “chores” and house things, because I’m often so busy at work I feel like I can’t keep up at home. My goal is to get into a routine that I can feel confident about, and not overwhelmed by. One day at at time. :) I can’t wait for part 2.

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55 Laurie March 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I’m 53 and just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. So very grateful I could get over THAT hill!!! My Dad always says that life is a journey, not a destination. The secret is to enjoy all the stages, even when the paths are unsure or bumpy. . . it is all part of the ride. I have loved watching part of your journey these past few years through your blog, Kath!

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56 K. March 26, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Congratulations Laurie! That is a truly amazing accomplishment.

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57 Melanie March 27, 2014 at 7:52 am

That’s FANTASTIC!! I’d love to do that one day!! Congrats!

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58 Courtney Cherico March 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

It sounds like you did everything you’re “supposed” to do– college, get married, get a house, have a kid– and now you’re like “now what?”

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59 Sarah (SHU) March 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Not going to lie, I felt together until #2 was born. But this is a great reminder that it will settle into place again, and I always love encouragement to stay in the present. Makes me happy you feel settled and content and are taking time to reflect on that and enjoy it!!

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60 Emily @ Life on Food March 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm

I am glad you made it! I am getting there. I have come to realize it will happen in good time.

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61 Wendy March 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Very interesting post, Kath. I think you are wise beyond your years.

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62 Amanda March 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I’m 35 and often wonder when I will feel like or be a “real” adult. I don’t have children and wonder if I did, would I then feel that way?

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63 ChristineFD March 27, 2014 at 7:24 am

I am 41, no kids, no husband and I am absolutely a “real” adult. Feeling like an adult is whatever it feels like to you. Not what your mother, brother, neighbors, bloggers, coworkers, society at large says is. A husband and kid doesn’t make you real. You make you real.

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64 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 8:16 am

That’s not what I was implying. This post is about what has gone down in MY life as I’ve grown up leading up to now when I finally feel like I have a handle on running a household.

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65 Kay March 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Hi Kath!
There are sooooo many things to think about and do in our busy world and yours does seem especially BUSY!!! But, please don’t neglect to think about the most important thing and that is where you will spend eternity after this hectic and wonderful life is over. I know your little boy is so precious to you and hoping you are raising him to love God and to appreciate all the good gifts He has given us to enjoy each and every day. That is the best way we can all plan for the future…is to make sure we are ready to meet our Creator. Life is good and Eternal Life with Him will be even better! Mazen is so adorable! :-)

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66 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio March 27, 2014 at 7:49 am

This post makes me really happy Kath! I’m definitely not there yet, nor do I know when I will be, but this gives me hope

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67 Hannah @ eat, drink and save money March 27, 2014 at 8:29 am

I totally agree with all of this. I think having a baby has made me live more in the moment and stop worrying so much about the future. While it is scary to be a grown up, it is also a huge relief! I’m loving be a real adult.

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68 Karen March 27, 2014 at 9:47 am

Your perspective is such a gift, hold onto it and cherish it every day. My husband and I lived a very busy life as the parents of three children and always looked forward to the empty nest years as our time to reconnect and do some of the things we hadn’t had time to do while raising children, establishing careers and a household. It seemed we were almost there with 2 children successfully in college, our third a junior in high school and me starting an encore career after spending several years as a stay at home mom. Then my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer at the age of 50 and was gone 10 months later. How I wish I had had your perspective in my thirties. I will begin my life as an empty nester in September when my youngest goes off to college. Not what I had planned but I am so grateful for the life I have had and will begin to build a new life I had never imagined. Keep spreading your beautiful attitude people need to hear it.

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69 KathEats March 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

Oh my gosh I am so sorry. Hugs and best of luck.

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70 Anne March 29, 2014 at 7:15 am

You’re very courageous! <3

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71 Irena March 28, 2014 at 7:59 am

I have slowly been reducing the clutter in my home to simplify my life, but I must say, after watching your laundry video that your closet has inspired me to purge even further! :-)

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