I have always loved my birthday. It’s February 9th which means it’s far enough after Christmas, in the middle of winter, people are often bored so they want to come out and celebrate with you and most importantly I was alive another year.
I have said this before, but I struggle to understand why some people don’t like to celebrate their birthdays. For me personally, I am celebrating another year alive (because the alternative is grim) and it’s a New Year celebration of sorts. I look back at the year, reflect, ponder, celebrate and so much more. And eat way too much sugar.
Everyone deserves a day to celebrate YOU!
The half decades seem to be the most reflective for me, so I’ve put together a few of my lessons I’ve learned as I turned 35.
Wow. I can’t state this one enough. I felt especially full of gratitude this year because I realized how much I have grown in the last 13 years since moving here simply by the people I know. Clients, friends, co-workers, networking business friends, rescue dog parent friends, and on and on. Each and every person I know has had an impact on my life. It’s not easy to have a network of people who support you, who cheer you on and want you to do well. Jim Rohn says “you’re the sum of the 5 people you hang out with the most.” And I am truly lucky to have a circle well beyond 5 incredible people. And these people know how to make a girl feel special and loved from showing up at work outs, sending cards, a nice text, gifts and more The truly special part I am most grateful for is the love you bring me every day. I’ve also learned the immense importance of daily gratitude. I have practiced gratitude by taking a few moments to look around every day and acknowledge how much I actually have to be grateful for. This has helped me on days where I feel like there isn’t much. But there ALWAYS IS.
It’s kind of funny to follow gratitude with stuck. This year I have realized how much I have allowed myself to stay stuck. In many ways, I grow, I advance, I try new things, I push my limits but what you don’t see on the outside is the ways I hold myself back. I allow my thoughts to stop me from doing things, to get in the way of the growth I know I am capable of, and to frustrate me every day. This past year has really felt like a collision of what I know I can do and exposing how detrimental my own self talk has been. Over and over again, these amazing humans (see previous bullet point about gratitude) have said wonderful things to me like “wow – you look like you’re doing so well.” or “you’re so brave for having your own business.” And all I think about in my head is “If only you knew how terrible this is” or “I’m so mad about the things I haven’t done yet” or “I should have accomplished this by now.” What I have learned most in the last year (or months) is that the only person truly stopping me is ME. My self sabotaging thoughts, my negative attitude about what I haven’t done yet, and all the subtle ways I tell myself I can’t do something or I won’t. And I get stuck in my own vicious circle. I want you to know that I am no different from you and struggle with my own thoughts every day. But I have vowed to make the next year different. To overcome my own damn self.
I have been the most at peace and at home with my body this last year than ever in my life. Also coincidentally, I have been the heaviest (weight wise on the scale) I have ever been. But after decades of struggling about what I weighed, what I ate, what I looked like and trying to have control over my body – I surrendered. I surrendered in the way that made peace with myself. I realized that I am not going to ever be “skinny” and I don’t need to be. I spent the year focusing on what my body could do and it didn’t let me down. I became stronger in the ninja gym, faster with my running and a mentally stronger person. I no longer allow food to hold me hostage. I (finally) have truly tuned into how my body feels, what it needs, what it craves and I listen. I don’t deny but I also don’t over do it (unless it’s birthday week). This means I eat proteins and vegetables most of the time, with donuts and chocolate sprinkled in. I drink a lot of water, plenty of coffee and also some Diet Coke. The picture of me running in my underwear really sums it up. This is the first year I truly did not worry, stress, or spend much emotional energy on how I looked. I showed up, stripped off most of my clothes and ran down Nicollet Mall and didn’t think too much about my jiggle. I saw a different picture and for a split second got upset about a fat roll on my back and then I said “oh well” and moved on. Because having a fat roll on my back or hips bigger than other people doesn’t define me as a human, as a person. It is simply my body. The body that carries me while I make real connections with people, do incredible obstacle course races and live every day.
Boy oh boy did I learn this one over and over again. And so did my clients. 🙂 You get to make the choices in your life. ONLY YOU. There are other factors and other people that may influence it but at the end of the day, you are in charge. And often when we feel stuck (see post above) it helps to come to the harsh reality that we can choose A or B. We like to tell ourselves that we can’t but we always can. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am actively choosing to stay stuck in many ways. I have the choice to make life different. Many people will comment about how awesome it is that I quit my job and have my own business. I say that you can do that too and many will say “I could never.” But actually yes you could. It is actually an option. It might be a scary option – but it’s there for you. I could talk about this topic for days but I encourage you to look at everything in your life and see the options more clearly. They are there. They are not always easy but you have choices. And I guarantee you are choosing to stay stuck in many areas because of the stories you are telling yourself. And often changing your life comes down to a simply decision to do it. To make that choice. To put your foot down and draw a line in the sand and do it. (Much harder to do than talk about). But so often we fool ourselves into thinking we are boxed in and don’t have any choice to change.
I am a firm believer in following your intuition, your gut and the next step. My personality and the way I operate have a hard time making a firm “plan” or “goal.” Because something about that just doesn’t fit me. If something feels right – I’m going for it. This has become more clear to me in my business this last year. I struggled a lot to make a plan and it just didn’t seem to work. When I released that firm idea, kept doing work every day, kept networking and meeting more people, things started to come to me. I am in no way, shape or form, where I want to be (always growing) but I am shocked at how the universe will line up for you when you release a little bit of control. We truly do not know what tomorrow (or even an hour from now) brings but we can show up and follow the leads laid out before us. Intuition has also played a part in all the other pieces of my year because for so long I tried to override my own self. I tried to make myself be able to control things or to make a firm plan. It doesn’t work that way.
Today (Wednesday February 20th) is my client Ellen’s 83rd birthday and she reminds me daily of what it’s like to be grateful for life, to keep growing stronger in the gym and put in the work. But also how to consistently show up and be open to learning about yourself, growing and evolving. She has said numerous times “Shouldn’t I have already learned this about myself?”
No. With aging comes growth, change and learning if you’re open to it.
My hope for you is that as your next birthday comes up, you take some time to reflect but also celebrate YOU!
Thank you for helping me do that in my 35th year.