It’s my birthday! Well, okay. It will be my birthday. Tomorrow, the 18th. As I’m writing this I’m a few hours out from turning a quarter-of-a-century. HOW did that happen?
I’m writing this laying in bed after a 12 hour overnight shift spent caring for patients who need it, with coworkers who make my brain and heart bigger. It’s currently 8:30 am and my boyfriend is sleeping on his stomach next to me, our dog in the middle with her head on his back. The window is cracked, the early fall breeze is coming in and from the lack of noise outside, I’m guessing my neighbors are off to a slow and easy Sunday morning.
I’m exhausted, both at the moment and with this busy season of life, but at the end of everyday, I’m so, so content and I’m so, so grateful. I’m right where I need to be right now… in bed 😉 just kidding. I really do feel like this life is the life that’s meant for me. I’ve been fairly introspective lately for whatever reason. Maybe it is because I’m so “busy” (I hate that word), maybe it’s just because I’m turning 25, or maybe it’s just because I’m always like that. WHO KNOWS.
Here’s a few things I’ve both learned and well, re-learned, in this last trip around the sun I’ve made.
1. I’m a “Yes” Kind of Girl and That’s Okay
I’ve always been a bit of an extremist. I work 12-16 hour days or I binge watch netflix. I party until 4am or I don’t go out. I love someone or they’re not in my life. I rarely seem to find the middle of the road. It’s part of being passionate. It’s also why when I jump into things they’re so exhasuting for me. I put my all into it.
I’m constantly saying yes to things. I overbook, over-schedule, overcommit and have a difficult time saying no to things, people or commitments. I’ll help you if you ask and well, a lot of time I will offer before you ask. I’ve, at times, felt a lot of guilt about this because it leaves little in terms of room for myself. I’ve always been like that.. caring more than I should, giving more than I have to give. I’ve finally stopped trying to change that about myself.
Even though I’ve spent a lot of time putting myself first lately, I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I’m always going to be a care giver, helper, giver of myself. I’ve been able to look at the big picture and see that if I wouldn’t have said yes to certain things, I would have missed out on some of the best things that has ever come into my life. From experiences, people, trips, opportunities, good karma, whatever… it’s all been worth it. I feel my best when I’m helping and caring for others and this year I fully accepted that part of myself and don’t have plans to stop anytime soon.
2. Being Content Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Want More
Prior to the last year, I’ve never actually understood what the true meaning.. real FEELING of being ‘content’ was. I always felt like if I felt “content” with my life I was slacking and letting my life get stagnant. I realize now that I can find moments of content within my everyday life while I still strive to grow and move forward. I can be content with my body but want to be stronger and healthier still. I can be content with my job while starting school again for something different. I can be content with my house while still having dishes in the sink.
To me, within the last year, being content with life has taken on more of a meaning of being grateful. At Christmas this last year, I had an overwhelming emotion flood over me while my family sat around together. I suddenly looked at that room from an outsiders perspective and saw all of the humans I love the most sitting around together, passing gifts, laughing, hugging.. and I felt really, really, really grateful that I belonged in that room. I felt content and like I was right where I was meant to be in that moment.
That feeling has carried on throughout this whole year and from going to Arizona and California to connect with women who inspire and empower me, to sitting in Starbucks responding to emails, to working with clients and seeing them change their life, doing seemingly meaningless tasks for patients at work that really make the difference in their day to them, to being silly in the car with my boyfriend… every day I can find moments I’m grateful for – and know that this is what being content feels like. And know that it doesn’t mean I don’t still have bigger goals.
3. The Cost of an Attitude Adjustment: Priceless
I’m in a good mood, eh, about 92% of the time. It annoys my boyfriend because I’m always happy and goofy and little things just don’t bother me. They used to though! Oh god did they used to. From the very moment my alarm clock went off I was moaning and groaning about something. Now I jump out of bed (usually) and start my day off just… happy.
I learned that I’m responsible for how my day goes and I’m responsible for how I respond to the things that happen in those 24 hours. We can choose to let everything bother us or we can choose to let nothing bother us. Guess what! It’s FREE to make that choice!
I realized if I walked around letting every little external factor dictate how I conducted myself, how I treated people, what kind of mood I was in.. I was gonna end up a pretty sad person. Now, when something *starts* to irritate me or I *want* to punch someone in the face for something they did/said/didn’t do, I check myself, consider the choices I have for how to respond and go with the one that leaves me not feeling crappy about it. I adjust my attitude and decide to make my day good. It’s as simple as that.
4. It’s Never Too Late to Start & It’s Okay to Change Your Mind (ok, that’s 2 things but just go with it)
I’ve changed. My life has changed. My health/career/life goals have changed. Hundreds of times. I expect them to change and evolve some more before I’m through here on this planet. I used to fight that change and spend my energy being terrified of the unknown. I’d bury a lot of things I wanted out of life that deviated from my “plan” or from what people knew me as or expected from me. I spent energy actively avoiding changing and becoming the person I wanted to be instead of using that energy to run as fast as my short legs could carry me into it.
I thought there was one career that would make me happy and fulfilled. I thought I knew the path I was headed. I thought I’d be fat forever. Then I thought I’d be in weight loss mode forever. I thought I’d stay in a sucky relationship. I thought I’d never be a runner. Hell, I even thought I was a cat person at one point. I could go on, but everything I once thought at one time in my life is no longer true. SHIT CHANGES, man.
It’s okay to change directions, to allow unexpected experiences to change you, and to let new goals guide you. You don’t need permission to not be the person everyone thinks you are and you don’t need to give an explanation for trying new things.
I don’t care if you’re 50 and want to be a 7th grade teacher now. Or if you’re the most uncoordinated person this side of the Mississipi and want to take up downhill skiing. Or if you’re 400 pounds and want to be healthier. Decide what’s right for you. Change your mind 600 times for all I care because it’s never ever too late to change your life and start doing what makes YOU happy.
I feel so connected yet so far disconnected from the young growing girl I was just a short time ago. I think I still am though – growing that is. I have grown into a woman who craves creativity and knowledge, marvels at other humans and yearns to hear the stories that make them uniquely beautiful, and, more than anything, a woman who demands to live an intentional life, even if I’m usually fumbling my way through it.
Thank you for being here and helping me do that. Cheers to 25, friends!