Today is my 35th birthday!
I sat down and wrote this post last night after the debate. My head was completely spinning watching those two up there. Afterward, I poured myself a glass of wine, talked to my dad on the phone, and then sat down to write. I wasn’t really sure what I would write, if we’re being honest. I thought I’d have some big message to share with you (I always like to write a more thoughtful post on my birthday) but I didn’t really feel as though I had anything intelligent to say.
Birthdays. 35. This is one of those ages where I am just so, completely, totally not where I thought I would be. I always thought that by 35, I would have things at least somewhat figured out. But it seems that every year I get a little older, I realize how little I actually know, and how much more I need to work on myself as a person. I honestly don’t know if this is a case of me becoming more self-aware and getting more humble with age (let’s hope that is the case)… or if I am just regressing (please no). I also think a lot about how fleeting everything we have is. Life goes by so quickly. My grandmother passed away this year and it was probably the biggest loss I have experienced. I am lucky in this regard – she was ninety. This year, I’ve watched three people close to me lose a parent, seen acquaintances from high school pass away, and so many other things, not to mention all of the horrible things that happened in the world this year… things that make you feel guilty being so devastated over the loss of someone who was lucky enough to live such a long, full life. My friend Aly wrote a really beautiful post about grief and how it has no hierarchy and that really helped me… but still.
In hindsight, I think one of the hardest parts of losing her was that she was so vibrant and full of life right up until three months before she passed. And then, boom. She was fine and then she was in the hospital and then everything deteriorated so quickly. That makes you think, about what else could happen, and what else you could lose in such a quick period of time.
A loss like this makes you reconsider everything. For me, every day, I have this running list in my head of all of the things I need to be doing. Work out. Volunteer. Cook. Eat healthily. Start going to church again. Keep up with the news. Go on more dates. Learn a new skill. Be a better friend. Get two blog posts up every day. Be a nicer person. Work harder. Read more books. Stay on top of pop culture. Keep up with social media. Be better at keeping up with friends. Remember birthdays. Send thank you notes. Remember all of my friends’ kids’ names (there are so many of them now!) So many things to do, a never ending to-do list. It can at times feel like a treadmill from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep… and I constantly let myself down as I am never doing enough, and I end up falling short, constantly.
But lately all I can think about is how maybe all of these goals and things are great and all, but the ultimate goal should just be to be grateful and to be present. Grateful for everything I have, and present in my everyday life. Because you can have all of the things and you can do all of the things. You can be so successful and so amazing at your job and such a good person by society’s standards of what good is. You can have beautiful shoes and bags and amazing friends and an amazing social life. But if you aren’t truly grateful for everything you have, and if you aren’t living your life in a way that you are actually present and able to savor + appreciate each moment (as opposed to just racing from one thing to another and checking off boxes and getting from point A to point B to point C), are you actually really living? (That last sentence is in no way grammatically correct but I really don’t care.)
So I think this is my way of saying that there is still so much to learn. There are still so many things I need to work on personally. And there is still so much to do. But what I want most is to slow down, live in the moment, be grateful, and just let myself be human. If that makes any sense. Grateful + present. That is this year’s goal. I think I can do that.