Today I am 35 years old and as I do every year, I am reflecting back on birthdays past. Each year, I look back at the year before and think about what all that I wish to change, what goals to set and how I can make myself better than I was the year before. I think over all of the many lessons that this year has taught me and what I have to look forward to in the year to come. Each year I am also dumbfounded at all of the many things I have narrowly survived and collectively, count my blessings. This is what birthdays have always been about for me. Not so much of the celebratory, but of the gratitude through reflection.

When we’re kids, we see birthdays as a time for fun, cake and presents. We tear open our gifts, not even looking to see from whom they came and we move on to the next one in rapid succession. We typically have to be reminded to say thank you and we usually forget all that we got, within a few weeks. Birthdays in childhood are typically more for the parents to celebrate having given us life and allowing us to keep said life during all of our countless moments of lunacy. When we’re adults, it changes. Becoming less and less about the outward celebration and more about the fact that we made it to see another year. Today, this is how I feel. I made it to see 35 and that was no small feat, especially after this dreadful flu that my four year old lovingly gave to me last week. 😀

Each day is one to be thankful for, and I am truly grateful for the amount of love and peace that fills my life to overflowing. I couldn’t ask for more. I almost don’t really know what goals to set for my life, for this year to come. It’s as if I’ve reached this level of contentment where all that I really want, is more time to enjoy it. I love this life. It isn’t always easy, but it is always insightful. I love the beautiful, old home that I inhabit and the warm, loving faces that abide in it alongside me. I love the amount of love that is constantly present here. I even love the precious old woman that I have been honored to rent this wonderful home from! I love the people that I am surrounded with in my life. Some things that I couldn’t wholeheartedly say a few years ago. It’s astounding what all you appreciate after you’ve had the chance to experience the flip side of it! It’s just another day to be abundantly thankful, and I definitely am.

I am thankful for the parents who gave me life and made it interesting and many times, a wild learning experience. For the abounding love and dedication they have shown, and for the wisdom that they are always so willing to lend. For the husband who always has my back and never fails to prove his unconditional love and loyalty with each new day that we are given, together. For my children and pseudo-children whom I learn so much from just by them being their unafraid and uninhibited selves, and for the family that is always there. I don’t know why I was given this breath of life, but I do know that it is and was a blessing to be given it and for that I am grateful beyond words.

There are so many life-changing things that I have learned this year, one being how not to sweat the small stuff. Why is that such a difficult lesson to learn when it seems so simple? I thankfully, finally understand that this life will always give me lemons, but the point is to transform them into something magical and inspiring. Something that I can be proud of. Another one being, understanding that my peace and happiness is something that I create from within myself – Which completely freed me up from unsuccessfully searching on the outside for something that I already create, inside. One more is learning to appreciate everything come and gone and knowing that it all had its specific purpose. Learning this, has changed the way that I think about every single part of my life. If I had one wish, it would be that I would have come to know all of this much sooner and with a lot less resistance. There are many more, but the most explosive to my brain and heart would be having learned to fully accept and love myself and every part of my life, with every cell of my being. Knowing how to experience all of this life with the pure intentions of love and the aftermath of acceptance was like the key that unlocked the chains over my mind, heart and soul. I could not be more grateful than I am today for having come to embrace all of these truths and giving them a lasting home to reside in, within me.

What I hope to learn this coming year is how to use my existence to better serve others, as well as my own aspirations. I’d like to figure out all of the things that have had me locked into this one state of being, and start to experience even more levels of the true peace and freedom that I already have, once I have figured them out. I want to experience even more joy than I have today, for this life and all that comes with it. I want to be in a place where I can trust without doubt, to give and be more of myself to everyone in my life. These are just a few hurdles that I will jump and likely fall and fail at many times over before I finally get there, so stay tuned for the next journey!

For today I am bursting with gratitude and overwhelmed by love. What an amazing way to start another year of life! Cheers!