Start to my 37th Year:
I turned 37 this week. My life is not what I expected at this point. Like everyone else, you think you are going to have a certain life and very rarely does it turn out how you planned. My work has blown up quicker than I thought and I am still learning to find a long lasting love. I don’t have a family yet. I’m physically in better shape than I expected. I’m financially more secure than I expected. I’m feeling wiser in some ways and still lost in others. And I am starting to realize that my life goals are changing. Not sure what that all means yet, but I am learning to adapt and be more flexible as I get older and to live in the present. I got a book awhile back on 1001 Ways to Live in the Moment. Each day I read one idea and try it. Sometimes I have to practice it a few days to get the message. Others come naturally. My challenge to myself and you is to live in the moment. Don’t put pressure on a future that we haven’t yet seen. And to learn to be happy in the moment you are in. I’m better at this but I have a long way to go. I’m learning being engaged in a conversation, a book, a walk in nature, an interaction with a stranger….it can all have meaning and shape your life. So embrace it. We can’t predict the future. But we can be present to enjoy the journey right in front of us. Because of this new found appreciation for staying in the moment, I decided to start a one sentence happiness project that will last 5 years. I started on my birthday, writing one sentence explaining what I am thankful for today in that moment. I still write a full journal which includes a longer list of what I am thankful for each day. But this project is about capturing a moment each day that is special. And appreciate that one moment in time. Living in the day.
This also brings me to the topic of thankfulness. So often we get caught up in all that is wrong. Critically looking at the world, your family, friends, a lover, people at work, etc. It is so easy to be negative. Most documentaries, news broadcast, articles, social media, etc tend to look at things from a skeptical point of view. There are so many dark sides to life. And while I definitely don’t think we should ignore what is happening that is bad in the word, turn a blind eye or not move to action to address real problems, I do think we need to also focus equal energy on the good in the world and all around us. Hope, love, and kindness is happening all day long. So each day, take a minute to also focus your energy on acknowledging that too. Instead of always focusing on the negatives and picking apart the one’s you love, focus on the amazing things. We often take the good things for granted and tear each other down. Remember to celebrate the awesomeness too! I do this by writing it all down in my journal each day- all the great moments and little pieces of people I love. However, I realized I don’t then vocalize it. So for me, I need to work on making sure the people around me hear it as well. And strangers too.
There is an employee at the grocery store I go to that is so positive. Every time I see him, he has a huge smile on his face, says hello, and goes out of his way to make each person he sees feel like they are special- like he really saw you and was genuinely excited to say hello. I realized on some days, he literally turns my attitude around. He makes me smile, makes me feel in that moment important and cared for and if he can do that every day to strangers, why can’t I do that more myself. I told him this recently. He just smiled and said how could I not be happy to be alive and to be kind to people?- we are all just trying our best and we need to support each other. I saw him again tonight as I got my groceries for the week. I was in a negative mood, had a kind of depressing birthday weekend…just grumpy and not feeling at my best and he changed my attitude. I started to write this tonight and realized, I need to focus on the positives vs sulk. I need to be thankful for everything I have at 37 verses focus on what I don’t. Everyone does. There is always something we want that we don’t have. But we spend too much time thinking about that vs appreciated what is right in front of us. Sometimes it is as simple as being thankful we actually have the opportunity to try again tomorrow and embrace it. As my mom had up in her bedroom entrance…..The most wasted day of all is one in which you have not laughed. So I’m going to enjoy life a bit more. Laugh a bit more. Not give a shit a bit more. And not put so much pressure on myself. My life will play out just as it is supposed to as long as I am living it and being present.