Today marks my 41stjourney around the sun. Yup, your girl is getting up there in age. Unlike last year, I’m not freaking out about it. In fact, I started the day journaling and reading my journal entries from the past year. The genesis of the idea was to see how much, if at all, I had grown and what had changed. And while I still want many of the same things, I think looking at that, as well as some experiences over the past couple of months, has really reframed my thinking and how I need to be moving forward.
I’ll just be frank: anxiety and the comparison game have been kicking my ass lately. Yes, I know that comparison is the thief of joy. I’ve even written about it. I’ve always had an off-and-on battle with anxiety and even know strategies on dealing with it because I’ve seen a therapist about it (forthcoming post on that).
But still. Life happens. Circumstances change. And sometimes you look up and all the lessons you thought you learned – if not mastered- pop up dressed in suits, red bottoms, and scenarios that just throw you for a loop. That’s basically what my life has been lately. Part of me wanted to blame the area where I’m living, which can make it super-easy to fall into a “keeping up with the Joneses” type of mentality. But really that can happen
anywhere. Plus, as someone that has grown up with hearing the “From whom much is given, much is expected” quote ad nauseum, walking that line of feeling free and secure in yourself while also questioning yourself and your accomplishments is just routine.
Nevertheless, I have had my Oprah “What I Know for Sure” moments leading up to my birthday. And what I’ve realized is this:
- You never have it figured out. It’s always funny to me when some of my younger friends come to me for advice because I feel hella unqualified a lot of the time to advise them on anything. Truthfully, I’m not even out here looking for that mythical day when all of a sudden everything makes sense and I finally get it right. I remember in my 30s the moment I realized that what I knew for sure was that I would always be learning and trying to understand life. That life was never going to be my bitch that I mastered, and that the best I could do was just be open to the fact that I would make mistakes. But the goal was to learn from them and try not to repeat them. Funny enough, I still sometimes repeat some. It happens. But at least I’m not looking for some date when it will all make sense. Bits and pieces make sense, like those “A-ha” moments when you realize why something could not have worked out and find yourself in gratitude about that. But yeah, no. 40 did not come with an over-arching epiphany – aside from having fewer fucks to give and being more committed to keeping my peace over everything.
That leads me to the next thing:
- My peace means everything. I think one thing that got me shook these past few weeks was the triggering affect this person I met had on me. And as I kept thinking about it, I finally got to the “nah you gotta let that go Sis” moment. I’ll tell the full-on story on a later date. But it just made me realize how important my peace is to me. Even when it came to planning/deciding what to do for my birthday, I admittedly was selective on who I invited. And not even because of me, but because I know not everyone I’m cool with gets along or would get along. So if that means multiple outings or plans – so be it. I just am not willing to do drama. Courageous conversations – sure (just not today, lol). I’m a Libra, so I already inherently don’t like conflict. Besides, there’s too much to do be taken off focus on dragged down by people that are okay with messing up yours, and their own, peace. So that’s not negotiable for me.
- Sometimes accomplishing more makes imposter syndrome grow. I know that this past year I’ve been blessed to have some pretty dope opportunities come my way in terms of work. But as I’ve reached them, I’ve definitely had moments when I started to question the importance of my work and wonder if others were doing the same thing. And even more, as I’ve gotten more in touch with my purpose, my interest in my current work has shifted. I’ve heard some creatives I admire talk about how sometimes you have to reinvent and revamp yourself as many times as you need to. I suppose I’m on the cusp of that. An in the midst of that, I find myself sometimes doubting some of everything, despite knowing my capabilities. Still I’m clear on my purpose, so when I keep that in the front of my mind, I let that guide every other thing I endeavor to do. Even if it doesn’t make sense to other people, I’m learning to be okay with it just making sense to me.
And that leads me to the final thing:
- It’s never too late to grab control of your life. There’s something both empowering and scary about knowing that the power to change your own life is in your own hands. It’s empowering to know that in any second all you have to do is decide that you want to change something and outline what steps you want to take to make that happen. At the same time, it’s scary as hell to think about the fact that it’s up to you to make these changes. That fear can be crippling. But you have to walk with the fear.
I’m learning. Here’s to being braver, more authentic, continuing to learn and grow, and telling my – and other women’s stories. Happy Birthday to me!