Tomorrow is my 42nd birthday. I say this not as a plea for well wishes, but to explain what birthdays mean to me. Every year on my birthday, I take time to reflect on the year I am leaving behind. Now that writing is such a big part of my life, it strikes me as funny that I have never written these thoughts down. So tonight I decided to do just that. Here are the lessons from my 41st year:
Tell Your Story
It is nearly impossible for me to believe that on my birthday last year I had only shared my story with family and close friends. The first landmark of my 41st year was the creation of oh, how she blooms! I began with the intention of helping one person and am blown away by the impact you can have by simply speaking your truth.
Stepping out of my comfort zone has never been my forté, but doing exactly that has made all the difference this year. The biggest out-of-my-comfort-zone moment for me was being photographed by a professional photographer on my yoga mat. It began as an exercise in building confidence and somehow landed me on the cover of an international yoga magazine! My willingness to step past my fears has opened doors that I never could have imagined.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
My father always taught me that the lessons are learned in the failures. This is so true. Every time things do not go as planned, we can learn how to do better the next time. Oscar Wilde said it beautifully when he wrote, "Experience is the name we give our mistakes."
Never Give Up
Failures do not define you. Get back up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward!
Always Have Hope
I am a pessimist. I have tried so hard to improve that fact, but even when the glass-half-empty side of me creeps in, I try to remember that there is always hope. My sister gave me a snow globe years ago engraved with the quote, “Those who have hope have everything.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Holding on to anger, bitterness and regret hurts no one but yourself. Let it all go. Drop it in the ocean and let the waves carry your troubles away.
There is no such thing as control! There will always be a sick child...a red light...the slow checkout line at the grocery store. The secret is finding the beauty in the chaos.
Family Always Comes First
Sometimes doing what is best for your family is not selfish, it is right. Family is always worth fighting for.
Friends are Everything
True friendship is a gift like no other. Real friends who tell you when you have food in your teeth or call you beautiful when you are a sweaty mess because they see the real beauty inside are precious.
When my anxiety is high, yoga calms me. When I am sad, yoga makes me happy. When I am scared, yoga holds me. Yoga always leaves me feeling better than when I started and that, my friends, is something you can’t say for a lot of things!
God is Good
I don’t talk a lot about religion. I have always believed that religion, money and politics are not dinner table conversation. As a highly sensitive person, I have a lot of deep thoughts about life and death and religion. What I will say is this: faith has brought me through this year...faith that recovery is possible, faith that letting go of controlling everything will still lead me down the right path and faith that my spirituality, even though it may differ from others, is my own and it serves me well.
My self-doubt led me to put a cap on a lot of dreams or never pursue them at all. Boy has that changed! My best friend and I have launched Soul Bliss and are teaching workshops and planning our second yoga retreat in Mexico! And just when I thought I couldn’t dream any bigger…I have something else up my sleeve ;)
So there it is. My cup runneth over. My heart is full. My soul is happy.
Photo Credit to Susan Schetter