Today is my 37th birthday! To be totally honest, I’m not exactly psyched about it. But what are you going to do? Like it or not, we are all getting older. And there is literally nothing you can do about it. Isn’t that a bit depressing? No matter how had you try, how good of care you take care of yourself, how much time you invest in your skincare routine… you’re going to get old and eventually die. The clock just keeps on ticking! (Okay I’ll stop, haha.) So, like, here’s a really pretty dress and some gorgeous jewelry to look at as a distraction?
Jokes and depressing thoughts about aging aside, this has been a big year of learning and reflection and (hopefully) some growth along the way.
(And to be clear: I am actually pretty excited about today – I bought myself some nice wine as a birthday gift and I’m taking a half day, going to yoga and then getting a massage and a facial and having a fun dinner at my favorite restaurant with a few of my close girlfriends.)
Rococo Sand Dress (Sadly sold out in this style, but here’s similar style) // Chanel Purse // Julie Vos Necklaces // Julie Vos Cuff // Hart Tassel Earrings // Loeffler Randall Coco Heels // Karen Walker Sunglasses
There’s a James Baldwin quote that I really love… one of my yoga teachers posted it, and it really resonates.
“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
At first blush the quote is a little depressing. I had to re-read it a few times to actually get it. But when you think about it, it’s actually inspiring and a bit empowering. I love about it is the idea of “earning” one’s death by truly living. Living a big, passionate life.
Just something to think about.
If I had to pick the biggest lesson I learned this year, it’s to look at the hard facts in my life in the same manner that I’d look at something for work.
I have a friend who references this simple Maya Angelou quote (also an Oprah favorite). “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
(So many quotes today!)
It sounds like such a simple thing but I think sometimes I live in a fantasy world where I only see the good in people. In this world, everyone is trying their best, everyone has the best intentions, we’re all basically Disney characters. This is generally a good quality, but it’s not exactly reality.
I’m too laid back with my relationships.
I wouldn’t say that I’m laid back in life (I’m pretty type-A with my work and I’m a bit of a psychotic neat-freak) but I’m laid back as a friend or romantic partner. I get sad a lot but I don’t get angry very much – it takes a lot for a friend or person I’m dating to really piss me off. So I’m understanding when someone says no to me or can’t make a plan. But it really is pretty simple. We’re all busy, we’re all tired, but we still show up for the people who matter to us. And if someone doesn’t show up for you, it’s fine to be laid back about it and you don’t have to start a big fight or confront them about it, but take note – they’re showing you where you stand on their list of priorities.
If someone continually lets you down, you probably just don’t matter very much to them – at least at that moment. And that’s fine, and of course there are exceptions (some of my friends have two or three kids and I just accept that they are doing the best they can!), but I’ve been trying to look at the data and snap out of that fantasy world.
It’s a hard lesson but it will save you a lot of grief. (It’s also a good reminder of the importance of showing up for the people in your life that matter to you.) I felt let down a lot this year and realized that a lot of it was my own fault.
The other thing is eliminating pain when I know I can.
Snapping yourself out of that “fantasy land” causes pain, so I’ve tried to just minimize other pain as much as I can. Things that you think maybe you’re supposed to do like stay friends with an ex, or seeing someone you don’t want to see because you know you’ll walk away feeling sad, etc. In my twenties and even early thirties I’d do these things because they were the “right” thing to do. But if something is going to hurt you, or leave you feeling like shit afterward, maybe you don’t need to do it.
I actually think that for all of the “self care” talk and terminology we throw around, this is the ultimate, most real kind of self care. Putting yourself first, understanding the things that will cause you pain, and doing something about it as opposed to being passive. Make sense?
Oh and a few more (less serious!) things I learned this year…
- Short(ish) hair is the best. I’m so glad I cut my hair.
- If you’re not into a book after 20, 30 pages, it’s okay to put it down. I used to power through but have slowly gotten okay with putting down the books I’m not enjoying and not feeling guilty about that.
- Less is more. I cleaned out my bathroom and all of my beauty products and now everything must fit in this bag or I don’t need it.
- If you really don’t like something (cough cough fashion week) you don’t have to do it.
- There are very few things in life that can’t be solved by a restorative yoga class, a long hot bath, and if all else fails – a nice glass of red wine.
photography by Carter Fish.