In 29 days, I will turn 40! It's a big milestone that makes me reflect on my life. Although some of my friends who are 50, 60, 70, and almost 80(!) may not agree that 40 is any big deal, it feels like a big deal to me right now.
I have had a pretty great first 39.9 years. I have a great family, an awesome husband, lots of super cool friends, the best dog in the world (and 2 of the best dogs in the world before him), a good education and job, and I get to live in Austin, Texas. I've finished 3 Ironmans, won a public speaking contest, won a "best teaching" award, and I hope I've positively influenced the lives of some young adults and maybe even a few friends. Though I sometimes I feel like I haven't accomplished enough and I'm not successful enough at almost 40, I'm really not doing too bad.
But I want to do more. I want to feel like I'm making a difference. When I was young (really until I started college) I wanted to be a veterinarian. I wanted to work with dogs and other animals every day and help them. For many reasons, I've put off this dream for a long time, probably too long. But luckily I have other options to realize this dream in a different way. At this turning point in my life, I want to do more work with dogs and do more to help both dogs and people. I want to have more meaning and purpose in my life.
This brings us to Austin Dog Alliance. Austin Dog Alliance does so much great work and I feel really lucky to have found them and to get to be a part of that amazing work! I'm also really grateful to have found the amazingly awesome Quintana Roo (thanks Kristen M. and Melissa D.!!) --without him, I might not have gotten involved with Austin Dog Alliance. Roo and I love Bow Wow Reading. We go to the library where kids read books to Roo. It's fun for us and for the kids and I can see the kids' reading improve over the weeks. It's an awesome feeling to make a difference in someone's life!
To celebrate my journey toward having more meaning in my life, I want to have a special birthday. So I decided to plan a Birthday Fundraiser to benefit Austin Dog Alliance! You can donate here, and the first 40 people to donate over $40 get the first invitations to my party. I hope to be able to invite more people, but that will depend on the place.
At first I wanted to say "everyone who donates anything is invited" but then Jeff and a couple of friends brought me back to Earth. "Heather, you could end up with hundreds of people invited. You don't have that much space and you can't afford to feed them all!" Unfortunately, they're totally right. So we went with the obvious theme of "40"
I really hope everyone will donate whether it's $100, $40, or $5 because Austin Dog Alliance is an awesome organization and I really want to be able to give them $4000 for my 40th birthday!!
You can learn more about Austin Dog Alliance at their website, or you can get a very brief overview on my Fundraiser site.