It is no secret to those friends and family closest to me that I don't take birthdays very easily. The aging process hasn't been something I embrace- I envy those who welcome each new year with open arms and anticipation. Now that I am well into my last week as a 26-year-old I have been trying to spend more time reflecting on the past year and examine why I tend to feel apprehensive about each birthday instead of excited and grateful for another year lived.
Why I believe birthdays are hard for me to accept ... For most of my 20s I haven't felt like I am where I should be (a feeling shared amongst this generation, so I hear). My journey feels slow and a lot of times confused. It is really easy for my inner critic to dominate my thoughts with negativity ... why aren't I making more money? why do I not have my amazing dream job yet? why don't I know what that dream job is? you don't own a home yet. you haven't completed x.y. and z. The list could go on. So I end up commiserating with my self on all the things that 'should' have been completed by now. Mind you, no one is setting outrageous goals for me or making demands of my time and energy- I am completely self inflicting these feelings. I don't even have a standard to measure myself against- everything I hold against myself is merely a myth! Some crazy notion of a life I can't even define and I hold it against myself that I haven't found my path?! Well, I am over it. That negativity has got to go. I find myself running in circles chasing a wisp of an idea of what I want. I need foundation, a concrete base to start seriously building my dream life from the inside out.
So this year I am counting my blessings ... if I want to change my attitude about a year ending and new one beginning it has to start now. As N and I are practicing positive thinking, this is the perfect time to really exercise this. Everyday for the month of November we are writing down what we are grateful for and I am loving how this practice is opening my heart to appreciate more. I wanted to apply this to the last year, and really appreciate some of the wonderful things that I have done/experienced at 26 ...
+ I found a new calling in a new career field, I left a job that left me defeated and empty everyday to pursue a more fulfilling position and I haven't looked back
+ N and I started running and I haven't felt so strong about myself physically in awhile- it also challenged my mental strength, committing to something I thought I could never do and seeing the changes it made to my attitude and body have been amazing
+ Traveling for the first time in a while opened my mind back up to my dormant wanderlust- as a homebody I am happiest at home, but traveling 2,000 miles made me realize I still have so much to see
+ Acceptance of myself. It took a long time of fighting myself, moments of sheer frustration and confusion, moments of angst and tears to finally realize I wasn't being honest with myself in a lot of ways. From career to life goals, I wasn't letting true self surface. Now I am more open and my heart is genuinely light and I am enjoying the process of finding things out a lot more than I ever have before
+ Valentines Day 2013 was one of the best days I have ever shared with my man, so good I am worried 2014 will have a hard time topping it ;)
+ This blog has been a lot more fun than any of my other blogging platforms- a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have accepted myself
+ Giving veganism a whirl. I am still loving the way I feel about eating a vegan diet. My conscious is clean and my body feels better than it has in years. I am still very much in the learning phase and struggle in some areas but the pay off has been measurable
These are just a few of the things that made the top of my grateful list. I think this past year was one of my hardest, simply because I spent most of it going through immense personal growing pains. But having accepted why I fear aging, and looking back on how far I actually did come this year, I am ready for 27. I feel energized and excited to make my goal list and I hope that 27 is a year of continuous learning and finally feeling at ease on my path. ♥