Getting older...and wiser!
I love birthdays. Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love birthdays - my own as well as others. It is a special time to celebrate life and to reflect on how that life is going. January is my birthday month and I like to keep the positive momentum from the holidays and new year going (read: drinking, eating out, and trying to stick to new years resolutions). I also really love getting older! To many, this may seem crazy as we live in world and culture that values youth above almost all else. I grew up the youngest in my family and maybe this has something to do with it but I’ve always admired those older than me and enjoyed learning from them. They’ve paved the way, why not listen to their experiences and try to save some time and energy not making the same mistakes. Therefore, the main reason I love getting older is that I definitely feel wiser! Not wise completely, but certainly wiser than the years before and that is a good feeling.
As I just celebrated another birthday, this one being my 35th, I wanted to take a post to reflect on my life. My main focus in life now is striving to live authentically…this is much harder than it sounds but once on the path, life is more beautiful than ever. Besides, anything truly worth it in life is worth some effort! Here are a few of the ways in which I try to live authentically today:
Being honest. This means with myself as well as others. The biggest lies we tell in life are the ones we tell ourselves! I’m trying to “get real” with who I am and embrace all my quirks, awkward moments, and insecurities. I’ve always been a “people pleaser” as I like relations and interactions to be harmonious, joyful, and positive. But this can be so exhausting, especially when I am trying to say and do things that I think will please other people without considering my own needs and desires. But in hind sight, this has not usually led me down the best path so I’ve been working to let go of that bad habit, trying to live my own truth instead, with the hopes it doesn’t piss anyone off (and if it does, ultimately this is not my problem!).
Being vulnerable. I watched the amazing TED talk with Brene Brown a while ago and was so touched and moved by it (see link below…it’s a MUST SEE!). She talks about how people who live whole heartedly embrace vulnerability to overcome feelings of shame and guilt. I am of the opinion that just about everyone experiences feelings of shame and guilt regularly and that to move forward constructively in creating the life you want, you have to ditch these bad habits. I overcome shame and guilt by affirming positive thoughts about myself and my life (see previous posts on placebo effect and how perception is reality). When you stop spending so much energy avoiding truth and vulnerability, you can actually spend your precious time on living fully! What a revelation! But again, all easier said than done…this has taken practice, and continues to take practice. I embrace vulnerability by accepting that it exists and that I should just conquer it. I do this my leaning into my fears and anxieties, knowing that everyone has them, and that overcoming them will lead me on the best path. I have faith that everything will work out!
Facing fear head on. I used to be afraid of so many things! Am I good enough? Will I make enough money? Will others accept me if they really knew me? Am I failing at work? Am I failing at home? What if, what if, what if…? Facing fear is the same as accepting vulnerability and being honest. I am often afraid to tell someone how I am really feeling but the best way is to face that fear and be honest! Other fears are related to if everything will work out…how will it work out and how can I control all the variables? Well, when you have faith that your safety net will appear when you take the leap and that all will work out for the best, it generally does. And if it doesn’t, then that is the lesson you are needing to learn right now. I can honestly say that having faith in a higher power and believing in God as love has helped me overcome fear. I do not need to know all the next moves, I have faith that everything in my life will unfold in the perfect time, space, and sequence. Part of my journey in leaving my job and moving to NYC was a test of that faith and ultimately, everything is working out. I don’t spend energy on if it will work out or how it will work out, I know that it will. I wake up each day and do the best I can do that day. That is always enough - it’s not always pleasant or easy, but it is always enough!
These are just a few ways in which I am trying to get wiser in life and embrace each precious moment here. I love life, I love my family, I love my friends, and I love God. This is working for me right now and getting older is fun…it’s the ultimate adventure!