31 is over. 32 is here.
As I reflect on what all of that means, I am forced to admit that 31 challenged me in all kinds of ways. It was not the easiest year of my life; of course, neither was it the hardest. It was a year, as all years are; a year of challenges and triumphs, of failures and successes, of new and old, of the same and more of it. Physically, 31 took be to the edge of what I thought I could handle, forcing me to claw my way back to where I knew I wanted to be. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. And, most importantly:
I am the happiest, the most joyful, the most content that I have ever been in my life.
It feels weird to say that, knowing that the past year brought about a lot of failure, a lot of pain — both physically and emotionally. I did not do all of the things that I wanted to do. I was not all of the things to all of the people. I wasn’t even all of the things to myself. Yet, somewhere in the past year, I let go of a lot of that junk, the stuff of wanting to be more than I am in the here and now. More than matters in the present, in the moment. I let go of a lot of “what if” and “why” and “woe is me.” I separated myself from the dwelling and the carrying on and moved into the celebrating and doing something about, the being and the breathing.
I’m not saying I am relaxed, because that would just be funny and everyone would know that I was lying. I am still just as high-strung as ever. I am still all go, all the time. I am still color-coded spreadsheets and over-commitment. I am still determined to the point of stubbornness. I still fail. A lot.
But it’s my view on those failures that has changed. They do not define me. They don’t even all matter very much in the grand scheme of being who I want to be and doing what I want to do in this world of ours. On the flip side, some of those failures have shaped me, molded me or helped me recognize who I am on levels I didn’t know to explore. Those failures have shown me that getting up, over and over, time and time again, will only help strengthen my resolve.
I mean, which girl looks happier to you?
31st birthday vs 32nd birthday
What do I want from 32?
More of the same: the joy, the contentment, the understanding that failures do not define me or keep me down forever, the freedom that comes with being at peace with one’s self. More learning from my sons and my partner in loving and living. More time spent in prayer, in the Word. More time spent using whatever space I have — outside or inside, rain or shine, snow or extreme heat — in the best way I can at any given moment. More time focusing on the inherent goodness of people and things; less time focusing on what cannot be or isn’t or will never come to pass. More here, more now, more yes to what is right, what is true.
I don’t know what this next year of being 32 holds for me, but I feel strong enough to face it. That, in and of itself, is a priceless gift to myself.