Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Reckoning

I just had a birthday, I would normally say I 'celebrated' a birthday... but, this year was different. Being 35 was tough. Before you go ahead and start leaping to conclusions and assuming that I'm talking about some sort of 'mid-life crisis' let me assure you that this was so much more than that.

I believe in a lot of things; some that people think are hokey or dumb. I have traditions that are a little outside the norm and I like it that way. Let me begin this with sharing some of the things I believe in. Take my list for what you will, maybe you will want to create your own, maybe not. it's all ok.

I believe in:

  • taking time to reflect what the year has brought you (some do this for January 1st, I do this for my birthday)
  • speaking truth to bullshit- even my own, maybe even especially my own
  • understanding my own bullshit and working to reduce it
  • continuous self-growth
  • learning from life
  • leaning into pain and growing from it
  • moving forward; always

...with that being said, 35 was a year that kicked my ass. I got lost for a while, trying to be something or someone that wasn't true to myself. I second guessed my own worth and settled for less than I knew I deserved. I let pain win; both physical and emotional. I lost control of where my energy was being spent and I resented it; all of it. I stumbled, fell down, face-planted. I curled into a fetal position and arrested my own development. In some ways, I gave up. I resigned myself to my own self-limiting expectations and laid down to just let life happen to me; after all, I must deserve anything that comes my way...right? I wasn't happy. I knew in my soul that I wasn't happy, instead of working to change it, I just accepted it as the way I was supposed to be. I was too tired to fight that awful voice inside my head telling me that I was worthless. My gentle heart became broken and bitter. I somehow stopped listening to my own voice and instead listened to what strangers thought was best for me or defined who I am as a person. 

It would be easy to call myself names; I was stupid, I was an idiot, I was weak. 

Instead, I'm going to own it; all of it. It's messy and imperfect and yet somehow I am grateful for the bottom falling out. Believe me, it really did fall out. Tonight I'm sitting in my living room and listening to a beautiful thunderstorm. This is a rarity in Washington and I'm accepting this gift of the universe to help me wash it all away and start again. I've spent most of the day in quiet reflection and writing about what really matters to me; capturing my truth with words. I have 1 more day of vacation to wrap my brain around what I will step into 36 with and what I will choose to leave behind. 

I've come up with a few simple things that I want to work on this next year, baby steps on the path of enlightenment. I'm putting the words into print for accountability, support and reminders when I stray from my path. 

1. Write in my journal every day. This is less about writing a story and more about owning my energy. By taking 15 minutes a day to set my intention and ensure that I follow through I get to guide where I am spending my precious resources. This needs to be a priority. I need to hold myself to creating, honoring and committing to this small thing that is just for me. I will focus on setting boundaries to protect my energy; starting with less work and more investment in myself. When I honor who I am at my core, I become the best version of myself. 

2. Figure out how to run a fucking 5k. Again, this is less about the actual running of the 5k. Truthfully, I've lost count of the number of times I've actually run one, but what I aim to do is shift the focus to perfecting my craft. Since I started to get sick about 5 years ago, I've spent so much time thinking about all the the things I can no longer do. This year I want to love my body again. I want to feel beautiful in my own skin and a big part of that is feeling strong. I want to be grateful for each step instead of thinking about steps that have been taken away from me. I must stop letting pain win, whether it is physical or psychological, I have the option to either celebrate what I have been given or resent what has been taken; I'm opting to focus on the first. 

3. Mandatory 15 minute dance party every day- not just the good days. Catching on with the theme here? It's not about the actual task at hand, it's about the representation. This challenge for myself is about not letting the negative feelings win. Each day I wake up is worthy of a celebration, I need to take more time to do this. I need to marvel in the beauty of life, feel joy for the little things. I need to acknowledge the pain and fear when it stops by, but then I need to let it go. It's so exhausting to carry that extra baggage with me and I'm going to stop.

4. Hide and Seek is no longer my game of chance. My first instinct in all things to shrink, hide, duck and cover; absolutely not be seen. I was raised with the sense that modesty is a virtue and that I am a "behind the scenes" kind of person; even when I am successful. Shame is also a shit-starter for me. I've been a perfectionist my whole life. There is a difference between over sharing and being authentic. Authenticity means that I show up, just as I am. I know I'm not perfect, and that's ok, but I'm not shouting from the rooftop about how you need to accept my bad choices because I'm just being 'authentic'. I want to be seen as a whole person. I am: an artist, a woman, a writer, a friend, a sister, a spouse, an advocate, a coach, an athlete, a learner, an empath, a creative, a romantic, a daughter. There are also a tremendous amount of things that I am not. That's ok. I am not all things. I cannot be. If I truly want to be seen for all of the things that I am, I need to let go of the things that I am not. I am going to work hard at not shrinking into the shadows and hoping that I am left unnoticed. Sometimes I will struggle. This is where I will need your help, a gentle reminder of the parts of me that you see; the parts that shine. I am also going to work harder to honor all parts of me. I'm going to paint more, write more, coach more. You are going to hear my voice more.

I've been given an incredible gift; 35 very full years on this planet. I am going to work my hardest to honor year 36. This will never be an easy task, but I think I am up to the challenge.

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