It’s been a while since I’ve shared a personal update, and there’s a lot happening that I’d like to catch you up on! I recently turned 35, which feels like a significant milestone and the beginning of an exciting new life chapter. Knox is starting Kindergarten next year at a new school which is so exciting and hard to believe — I’m not sure how I am the mom to a five year old! Andrew is becoming more and more his own little person (he’s three going on six 😉 ), and he looks up to Knox so much. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my parents helping them with their new ranch house, which we are heading to this week as a family. Between that project and all of the boys’ activities, I feel like the year is speeding by!

I have absolutely loved my thirties so far, and have been thinking about the goals I want to accomplish in the next five years, both personally and for our family. Financial goals are a huge priority in this chapter of life, thinking about the boys’ college tuitions and our retirement. Both seem so far away, but I know it’s best to start planning now. I’m a huge believer that having a positive mindset is half the battle when it comes to achieving your goals, and I was excited to learn about Frost Bank’s Opt for Optimism campaign. Frost has found through research that optimists are 7x more likely to experience better financial health. One habit these optimists have in common is seeking progress over perfection, which is a mentality I can get behind in every area of life! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or to compare yourself to others in this chapter of life with growing kids, a business to run, financial goals to meet, and feeling not quite as young as I used to be, but I believe it’s so important to think positively and set small, attainable goals (progress over perfection!). Below I’m sharing 4 ways I’m putting optimism into action in my 35th year, and I encourage you to do the same!

Build Community

One of my favorite new projects with HOUSE of HARPER is our Open House panel series. We’ve had two panel discussions so far, one on women in business and one on women’s health. It’s a goal of mine to host an Open House every quarter as a way to grow our local community here in Houston and also to provide a safe space for women to gather and discuss important topics. My hope is that people leave these events feeling inspired and having met at least one new person — whether a new friend, mentor, or business partner. In our digital age, it’s important to be reminded of the importance of connecting offline and how invaluable those connections can be. Perhaps our next panel will be around financial tips, because according to Frost’s research, taking the taboo out of money and talking about it is one of the keys to financial health.

Nurture My Health & Friendships

If I’ve learned anything as a mom, it’s that I have to take care of my own health and well-being in order to take care of the boys to the best of my ability. I’ve recently taken up tennis and it’s a goal of mine to continue playing and getting better for both exercise and as a great way to spend time with friends. Friendships get harder to maintain as you get older because of kids and other responsibilities, and tennis is the perfect activity to catch up and also squeeze in fitness. It’s good for the soul and body!

Travel as a Family

FMK and I have always loved traveling. In our twenties before we had kids, we spent a lot of time traveling internationally together while FMK was in grad school. Now we make it a goal to take at least one trip just the two of us each year and one trip as a whole family. I know how important it is to create new shared experiences and to open the boys’ eyes to other cities and cultures from getting to travel with my parents growing up. When I went to Germany in the fall with my parents, I saw so many young families traveling with kids internationally and it motivated me to start planning a big trip for the boys, too.  They are at an age where I think they will take away special memories and also be able to participate in fun activities. Now we just need to decide where to go next!

Plan for the Future

As I mentioned above, the importance of financial planning is starting to feel a lot more real now that I am in my mid-thirties. Even though college for the boys and our retirement are a long way off, it’s important to start now to avoid stress, especially if something unexpected happens. Another learning from Frost’s research is that optimists plan for the unexpected. 61% of optimists have a rainy day fund, and 90% have fully recovered after a financial setback. I know that no matter how much planning ahead we do, there are always unexpected turns in life, and it’s smart to be prepared. FMK and I also hope to set an example for our boys about the importance of saving and being financially responsible.

Thank you to Frost Bank for partnering with me on this post and for encouraging people to #OptforOptimism!