Birthdays can be weird. Well I can feel weird about celebrating my birthday. All kinds of unexpected emotions can come to the forefront on this day for me. Things that I can’t quite place my finger on or fully understand. Funny how that can happen. In all other respects the day of ones birth is a regular day for everyone else.
Birthdays were magic when I was a kid. It was a day or even a few days of food, fun and gifts. Classroom parties with cupcakes and a family dinner of my choosing. One year I wanted to be “fancy” and asked to go to McDonalds for dinner. I was also five or six at the time. They required no effort on my part for people to acknowledge it. It was just a great day of people wishing me a happy birthday. I felt cared for and loved.
As an adult though, it has lost some of its magic. It has become an obligatory thing with Facebook notifications telling me when it’s someone’s birthday. These notifications have become so routine that it can be easy to scroll past them. It feels forced, this reminder of someones birthday as can the response to it. At least from me it does.
Birthdays have made me selfish. As a teenager I wanted more of everything, more attention, more fun and food. I wanted the biggest bouquet of balloons to walk obnoxiously through the school hallways. Remember when those balloons were the thing? Are those still something highschoolers do?
As an adult part of the magic is gone because I am the one who has to plan it. Which feeds into my people pleasing aspect of myself. Will people want to come? Will my invite be ignored? I worry if people will have a good time. I have found too that some years I want to tell everyone its my birthday. Other years I welcome my close friends and family wishing a happy birthday but really don’t desire the attention from so many people at the same time.
Neither are wrong or right. The key to having a magical birthday as an adult is to let go and allow the day to unfold as it will. Enjoy the well wishes from friends and family. Celebrate however you see fit, because this is the day of your birth ( along with a few thousand others). This year I did a little of both, allowing the day to be what it was. It was a series of good times with my amazing family and friends. For this I am grateful and my heart is full.
Recently I participated in posting about happiness in the everyday for 100 days. (#100happydays). The idea is to find at least one thing, person, food etc that gives you a sense of joy. This was a natural fit for me. It is an exercise in thankfulness. Looking at the everyday with fresh eyes. Taking a second look at all that I do have and often don’t think about.
I practice thankfulness. On my computer is a file dedicated to a list of thankfulness. It now numbers in the thousands. Keeping this list has helped to create a new perspective about my life. As well as happiness itself. From the start we are told that happiness is attainable. A goal that will be achieved through accomplishments or status.
But is our expectations for happiness realistic. That by saying I will be happy I do this or meet the one we are actually limiting joy in our lives. What if instead we looked at happiness as a gift? As something given to us as a gift. What if we also stopped looking at perfection in our lives as happiness?
The truth that has been revealed to me about happiness is that it is often found in the midst of trials. Not in having everything in my life exactly where I hoped it would be, but in the messiness of it. Step back to discover that one thing, moment, food or thought that brought you happiness. Once you find one, another will emerge and another.
Some days will be harder than others. It may seem impossible to find one good or nice moment in your day. However there is always one thing. It could of been that cup a coffee or a bad joke that made you laugh. There is something good happening everyday.
The last week of this were hard. I am grieving the loss of my cat Hershey. Even so, I found things and moments of happiness. Then were the days I played catch up, which is totally fine. Or even combining a few events or days together.
If you choose to do it, know you don’t need to post it. Unless of course you want to. Posting can help inspire others. I had some good conversations about what this was about.
In doing this I hope you discover how much you do have. That brings with a sense of joy in your life.
Today is my 36th birthday. This means I am now officially on the other side of 35. That much closer to forty. This cannot be! But I surely am. A child of the eighties, teenager of the nineties and young adult of the 00’s. I can recall a time before the internet, playing outside until it got dark. A time when Mtv actually played music videos and when Nirvana first came onto the musical scene. Ah recalling all that makes me feel ancient.
The thing is I don’t feel like I’m 36. For most of my life I have drifted, starting but not finishing college. Going from one dead end job to another, with no real goals in mind. Simply just trying to get from one day to the next. Feeling relieved as I made it through another day.
All the while I was writing. Journals, starting short stories, attempts at novels. Ever since I learned to read, books became my constant companion. The makings of becoming who and what I was created to do, Write
The quote at the top of this post reverberates within me. I have always marvelled at people who seemed to know what they wanted in life and just went after it. As if they had some insider information on how to achieve their goals. I have encountered so many young adults who seem to have a better grasp on how to be an adult than I still do. Finding myself stuck on the how as much now as I have in the past.
The difference now is I don’t allow the fear to hold me back. I may pause, or take a moment to do what I need to do. But I do it. Perhaps not always well or as gracefully as others. These days I try, as opposed to not doing anything at all.
I have more hope these days than I ever did when I was in my twenties. I’ve embraced being a late bloomer, ceasing to compare my life to those around me. By doing so, I found myself freed from so much regret. My past is what has helped formed me to become the person I am becoming today.
I do not know what to expect for my thirty-sixth year. I am open to the opportunities and challenges it will surely hold. I still feel a bit lost from time to time. I have learned that being a bit lost means also eventually finding your way. That is part of the adventure of life isn’t it?
There are times life can be hard. So hard that it can be hard to see the blessings in our lives. Even amidst the hardships.
However looking at what is good, to be thankful can help you grow as person. Maybe it sounds corny, or cliche’ to you. Taking the time to reflect on things that you have, the people in your life who love you can change your outlook on life. It can grow your relationship with God.
This is what happened to me. A few years ago I was at a point where I took everything for granted and then things changed on me. I had to make a choice, either turn to God or walk away. By turning to Him, I was grown and stretched in so many ways. I was being shown how much I needed Him.
I began a document on to list all the things I should be thankful about in life. A document I still update today. Sometimes the list goes on and on. Other days it takes time for me to see how I can be thankful in hardship. Writing, journaling always helps me to regain the right attitude in life.
I learned to appreciate so many things and people in my life. I have learned to step back and have a different perspective on things. It reminds me to not take things for granted. A needed reminder at times.
This is what thankfulness looks like to me.
What does thankfulness look like in your life?
I have this problem, I doubt anyone else can relate called IMPATIENCE! I get excited about getting something done or doing something and instead of taking the time I should to complete a task I HURRY. It is something I will have to deal with throughout my life and it has gotten better over the years. But recently I dealt with something that showed me it is still very much part of my life.
This past previous week I had some technical issues posting my Mid Week Motivator. I was attempting to link to a previous post and it was just not working. The problem I realized was not the technology but me. I was hurrying to get something done and in doing so the job was short shifted. I could not wait to post so instead of waiting to do so after work that day I posted from my phone ( which I admit while it can do a lot is not the best kind of phone.) Once it was posted I did not have patience to wait for the preview to upload and instead just posted. Which lead to me having to delete the post from my Twitter and Face book accounts.
I was anxious to post and was being lazy about getting it done. I did not want to have to change my afternoon plans in order to do so. In doing so I paid the consequence of being impatient. Over and over in my life I have encountered this and still have not learned my lesson. Sometimes taking the slow road is the best road. In doing this in a hurry I failed to present a good post for you dear readers. Freaking out over how terrible this looked on the outside did not help matters. How can I look professional when a post like that goes up?!
It also showed me I have a lot to learn about Word press and doing something as simple as linking a post. In every sense I failed this past week. That is just fine. Failing is part of life. In failing it is a chance to step back ( you can see this is something I advocate often!) and take in what went wrong. It showed me how much I need to learn and to find the resources to do so. It can be easy to get overwhelmed in starting something new from a career move to working out. No one ever achieves their dream with out failing first, how else does anyone learn?
You know what? That is OK. You have to start somewhere and the key to anything essentially to keep moving forward. ( Again something else you will often hear me write about.) It would be easy to just give up after this week’s experience. To walk away from posting anything every again. In the past when I have run into problems in trying something I would just give up. However, I just can no longer do that to myself. One of the best things I learned on this journey is facing the failure can be tough but is worth it. There is much to learn from a bad posting experience or even a bad run.
If you are in the middle of your weight loss journey and you are having a bad week or a bad workout, step back and think about what went wrong. Are you jumping ahead of your skill level? How has your diet and sleep schedule been. Have you been working out consistently?
Some questions I am asking myself are, what do I need to learn about Word Press. What are some of the best resources for me to seek out to learn. That is what makes a failure an opportunity. If I do not use this moment to learn only then is it truly a failure. You know what else I learned? The world did not end with this failure! My blog was not taken away from nor was I banned from ever posting again. I will fail I hope more often and in spectacular fashion. How else will my dreams ever come true?
Have any of you out there failed lately? What have you learned or are still learning from this experience?