I have completed another revolution around the sun. And while I am fighting a head cold, I’m pretty happy.
Birthdays are a time of reflection, I’ve come to find out. Sometimes it’s New Year’s, but birthdays are more personal and conducive to looking behind to see where I am now. To see and appreciate the journey so far. Because life is all about the journey, not necessarily the destination. So far, it’s been a wild ride, and I don’t see that changing.
I never really had any idea of where my life would go. To be honest, the majority of it I’ve spent in survival mode, and it was all I could do to keep my head above water and just…well, survive. These days I’m looking to thrive. There’s a big difference, and thriving takes just as much effort, but with better returns. It can be difficult to change that mind-set, but I can tell you it’s worth it.
I was never able to imagine my life at this point, but now that I’m here, I can’t imagine it any other way.
This year, I turn eighteen with forty years experience. I still have a lot to learn, but this is what I’ve learned so far:
1. Listen to your head, but follow your heart. And when your gut speaks, it trumps all. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.
2. Erase the word “can’t” from your vocabulary. If you want it bad enough, you can make anything happen. Even magic. ESPECIALLY magic.
3. “Failure” is not a dirty word. A mistake is not a failure. You will learn more from your failures and mistakes than you will from your successes. Embrace them for the valuable lessons and then move on.
4. If you think it sounds mean in your head, it will sound meaner if you say it out loud. Think long and hard, then err on the side of kindness. Kindness doesn’t cost a thing but meanness will extract an expensive toll. By the same token, if someone is mean to you, that’s their problem, not yours. Don’t take it personally. It says a lot more about their struggle and character than it does yours.
5. Self-care is not selfish. It is necessary. When you love yourself, it’s much easier to love other people, with all their faults and magnificent humanness. Still, don’t be afraid to walk away from toxic relationships. Yes, it includes family. Sometimes the only way to treat an infection is to cut and cauterize. This is part of self-care.
6. Depression lies. Fear lies. THEY ARE DIRTY LYING LIARS. Do not buy what they are selling. They are straw soldiers and you are a warrior.
7. Create, create, create! It is the heart of life, no matter what form it takes. It could be writing, painting, sculpting, coloring…it could be cooking, keeping house, anything.
8. If it doesn’t work out, your life wasn’t meant to go that way. Instead of focusing on what you haven’t achieved, train that focus on the opportunities ahead.
9. Don’t worry about what other people say or what other people think. It is none of your business, and you have better things to do. Do them.
10. Pay it forward, in any way you can. Even small deeds can make a big difference.
I’m ready for another year. In fact, I’m really looking forward to it.