Celebrate the Lessons

“There are somethings you cannot understand yet.  Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding.  It’s good you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues in your twenties, but understand that what you resolve will have to be resolved again.  And again.  You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years.  Most of these things will have to do with forgiveness.”  – Cheryl Strayed

Today is my 44th birthday.  I know I have used this quote before but it is one of my favorites about aging.  There have been times in my life that I have dreaded birthdays.  I think everyone has some age that is daunting for them to reach.  I had a really tough time turning 30.  I think the reason why it is so hard was that I did not feel I was where I wanted to be in my life at that time.  All I could think about was that I was not in a relationship, I didn’t own by own home, and I wasn’t financially where I wanted to be.  Because I was 30, I did not have the wisdom to appreciate all the things that I had done.  I had lived overseas for a number of years and gained cultural experience to make me a more empathetic and open minded person.  I had built wonderful friendships with people whom some of still remain in my life today.  That is what Cheryl Strayed’s quote means to me.  At 30, I did not have the wisdom of age to see around the corner and appreciate all of my accomplishments and lessons.  That is why at 40, I started a new tradition.

In my family, birthdays have always been a big deal.  There were lots of presents, lots of people and lots of cake.  I appreciate the huge effort my mother always made to make people feel extra special on their birthdays.  I always try to do the same for my niece and nephew.  It is great when we are younger to have someone to make us feel extra loved and valued on our birthdays.  It is important.  However, now I have a different feeling about birthdays.  I still love my birthday but it looks different.  My family did a great job of making me feel loved and special when I was growing up.  I now spend my birthday and the day before, in a more solitary way reflecting on the lessons I have learned throughout the year and looking forward to the lessons I will learn this year.  Yesterday, I wrote about it being the last day of being 43.  I wrote down all of the hurdles I had encountered.  Turning our new house into a home.  Surgery.  The loss of a friendship.  Kip starting his own business.  Changing my relationship with my body.  Trusting myself to follow through.  When I looked at the list, I felt immense pride in myself.  I have gone through so many things but have had the resilience to still be here and still be fighting through.  Some of the things I would gladly not have gone through, but I am so appreciative about what lessons they have taught me.  One of them is that it really is not my circus and not my monkeys most of the time.  A year from now, the things that are keeping me up at night will probably not be issues anymore.

These are things only time and age can teach you.  I spent today writing about what I envisioned working on for this year.  I want to work on having a softer marriage with better communication.  I want to continue to work on becoming the healthiest version of myself I can become.  I will also make time for my creative spirit and to carve out my artistic style.  Some of these things will happen.  Some of these will not.  Because other things will surface that I do not recognize yet at 44.  It is for this reason that I love getting older.  I dont love the stiff muscles and arthritis I now have.  But I will take that if it means I continue to grow and learn more about myself and the world in which we live. My guiding phrase for year 44 is Live your Truth.  The good the bad and the ugly of it.

Be kind to yourself always.  You are doing the best that you can with the knowledge and wisdom that you have.  Take pride in what you are going through.  With time, you will find the lesson.

Love always my friends,

Christine

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