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10 Things I Learned When I Was 37

In honor of my birthday this past week, I bring you 10 things I learned when I was 37…

1. I am more resilient and stronger than I realized.

I faced a lot of fears this past year, including going to India for the first time and getting Delhi Belly all alone in a hotel room for 36 hours — and I survived and am stronger for it! Plus, I went back to India a few months later!

Read all about our second India trip here.

2. I love podcasting — especially with Jesse as the co-host!

About a year ago, we launched The Crystal Paine Show. I have loved learning this new communication medium and getting to have so many of you on the journey with me!

The best part has been getting to do the podcast with Jesse as my co-host. We have a lot of fun putting the shows together each week for you all (and THANK YOU to each and every one of you who tune in and have sent such kind emails and constructive feedback!)

(Also, marriage to my best friend just gets better and better!)

3. My 3 older kids might not need me physically like they used to, but they want to spend as much time with me as they can.

Regular dates, checking in, just hanging out, being available whenever they want to talk, and stepping into their world are the best ways to foster good communication.

(By the way, Jesse and I did a podcast episode on this, but please note that the first 20+ minutes are us recounting our trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. A few people really complained about the long intro on this episode, so if you just want the part about communication, just skip ahead to 23:41 to listen to us talk about communication with our kids.)

4. The best way to get over your fear of having a car accident is to get in the car and drive again — even though it really scares you.

I was in a pretty significant car accident in December and I honestly didn’t want to drive again after it. But I made myself get back in the car and drive the next day… because I knew the longer I waited, the harder it would be. It took me weeks to not feel anxious when I was behind the wheel, but the more I got in the car and drove, the easier it got.

5. Don’t settle for living with pain if the initial doctor’s reports say nothing is wrong.

It took going to a specialist and an MRI to discover my hand was broken after the accident. I’m so grateful that after 6 weeks in a cast, it is fully healed!

6. I love opening up our home.

37 was the year I madly fell in love with hospitality — we hosted hundreds of people this past year and it’s been such a joy (something I never dreamed I would say!)

Read how I got over my fear of hospitality here.

7. I really love National Parks and now want to visit all of them.

I read Dear Bob and Sue earlier this year and it inspired me to want to visit all the U.S. National Parks. Then, we got to visit Yellowstone and Grand Tetons and it confirmed that desire! Now we’re looking for any opportunity to visit another National Park!

8. Jesse and I make a great remodeling team.

Okay, not the actual remodeling part, but we had so much fun planning and picking all the colors and details for our first remodeling project — our bathroom!

9. I am passionate about foster care.

Getting licensed to be foster parents took up hours and hours and hours of this past year and our journey is only beginning. We can’t wait to see what the future holds as we trust God one step at a time in this.

10. God isn’t limited by doctor’s reports that say “impossible.”

Case in point: my 10-week pregnant belly. Also, being pregnant with three older kids instead of being pregnant with a toddler and preschooler (like 10 years ago when I did this the last time!) is a completely different experience!

What’s something YOU learned this past year? I’d love to hear. Share it in the comments!

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  • Need Anap says:

    Happy Birthday!! I’ve been learning that God is present and He is good even through horrendous trials! Physical proof (good people hang out at Cracker Barrel) – we’ve had our meal paid for two different times and a $50 gift card handed to us!!

  • Kimberly says:

    At 63, I’ve learned to trust God fully. I thought I trusted Him, but last year I went through a terrible time and I stressed out about it and really didn’t think God would get me through it. He did. Two months ago I lost what I thought was my final job before retiring. I was laid off with no advance notice. I took it very gracefully and started looking for a new job. A month later I found out I was losing my hearing in one ear due to a non-cancerous brain tumor. I am waiting for my surgery date to remove my tumor, but I’m not afraid at all. I might end up with no hearing in that ear and there are other possible negative things that could happen, but I don’t have to worry, because this time I know Who is in control and I’m not worried at all. God has me in His loving arms and I can trust Him through whatever I face.

    • I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through, but thank you for sharing these beautiful sentiments!

    • Laura Morley says:

      Happy Birthday Crystal 🎈

      Car accidents can be scary, I’ve had a couple of not so intense crashes. One the road was slippy and I slid off the road, wiped a number plate off a parked car (literally took the numbers off the plate UK) and crashed into a tree… Luckily I ripped the tree out of the ground otherwise it could have been a lot worse than a bust car! 🙈

      Another time (10yrs ago now) when I was 7 months pregnant with my first daughter a woman crashed into me on a roundabout because she was in the wrong lane!

      Luckily both times I had nothing wrong except maybe shock – the first crash I was asked if I was drunk because I was laughing and crying while sat in my car with a tree on my bonnet – shock is a wonderous thing, makes people think your insane! 😂

      I’ve learned a lot about myself this past year, I’ve been through some difficulties over the past few and I’m starting to find myself again.

      The kids have all started school and nursery and I’m starting to realise that the break from them (single mum of five aged 9, 7, 5, 4 & 2years solo parenting the youngest three) has been great for me, I’m used to having at least one around me 24/7 and it’s been great to just have some me-time, getting a shower without being followed is the best! 😂 Shopping! Who knew it is actually a peaceful pleasurable thing to do?! 🙈

      Thanks for posting! I enjoy your updates on life. 💖

  • Mary Bond says:

    Happy birthday!
    From North Dakota.
    North Dakota has TheodoreRoosevelt National Park. We go every year. It never gets old for us and we try to park our camper (5th wheel)in our favorite spot (first come first serve). Thank you President Roosevelt.

  • Katherine says:

    Crystal, My family and I visited all 5 of Utah’s National Parks in December 2007, when I was 16. It was an amazing vacation and such a beautiful time of year to visit! The only park that was even truly cold was Bryce. I highly recommend going in the winter. Oh, and for Arches/Canyonlands, we stayed at a dude ranch in Moab which was a great deal because of the time of year. Something to consider!

  • Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday! What a year you had and so fun to see the pictures to remember. I hope this year will be a great one too.

  • Sarah Davis says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I turned 40 (gasp) on October 2nd. Dreaded that for a long time…. but had the best day ever with my family! I’ve been a follower of your blog since 2011-2012 ish! You’ve inspired me and helped me in so many ways! Also…. I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Thyroid cancer in 2010… already had 2 kids, chose not to freeze any of my eggs. Was told I would be sterile after chemo and radiation. My surprise when God gifted me with another baby in 2013! I wasn’t healthy during the pregnancy but she was perfect ❤️ Congratulations on your blessing!!

  • Heather says:

    There’s something about getting approved as foster parents and getting pregnant right afterwards! It happened to me too. Best wishes and congratulations!!!

  • Laurie says:

    Crystal, Happy Birthday! Keep up the good work with your pregnancy! We had a little one join our family 10 years later as well (We have 5 older children) You are correct, what a totally different experience. But the best is yet to come. Our little one discovered quickly how to interact with each sibling in his own way and everyone bonded so quickly. Each day is savored and enjoyed on a whole new level. Good luck!

  • K says:

    Happy birthday! I turned 38 today and honestly say that I’ve been learning some of the very same lessons…especially after hosting our first party with over fifty guests yesterday and not having a breakdown. 😉 Thanks for everything that you share! You’re such an inspiration!

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