I turned 39 yesterday, November 9th. I have a lot of interest in these transitional years, even a bit more than the decade changes. This is the last year of my 30s, and it’s been quite the decade for me. As the saying goes, “I’m not the same person I was when this year started.” And, I’m definitely not the same person I was when I started my 30s.
For the past many months, I’ve been thinking that I wanted to do something really special for this birthday, something that would continue through the year, to mark the end of this decade and start welcoming in a new one. But, as my actual day of birth got closer and closer, I hadn’t really found that significant thing that really resonated with me. In addition, we voted to elect a new president on the eve of my birthday, which pretty much overrode any thoughts of celebrating. I woke up on the 9th feeling like I was in some scary-but-real version of Back to the Future II, where mean Biff becomes mayor of Hill Valley…
I was going back through my Instagram page, re-reading the inspirational quotes I like to post to remind myself to be kind, have faith, take risks, and enjoy the adventures that life brings. There are quite a few about love. Like this one:
This one stays with me. I find myself repeating it to myself, often. Intimate relationships have ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s about you, sometimes it’s about the other person, and sometimes you’re on the same page. For me, there came a point when I had to (consciously decide to) surrender my pride, my ego, my need for control and things to go my way, to turn toward my husband, and just give. It was about trying to discover what he needed, how to come along his side, to set down my own demands. I felt in those moments that my pride had burned to ashes – in a good way, in a needed way – and I was moving out of pure love. I’ve always loved my husband, but this was a new, deeper and more intense, unconditional love. Ten years together and there are always new levels of connection to discover. Pretty cool.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to write more. That was it, my only New Year’s resolution this time around. No more “exercise more,” “eat healthy,” “work more,” or whatever goals I used to set in the past that would come and go within a few weeks. This year, I stuck to it. I started this blog. I wrote some articles for other blogs. I wrote for my Instagram and Facebook pages. I volunteered to do some technical writing for non-profits. I kicked ass on the “write more” goal.
So, as I start a new “me” year, this is my new goal, to love me more. What if I devoted a whole year to loving myself more? What would this even look like? What would it look like for you?
For my 39th year, I’m committing to loving myself more. I don’t know exactly what all this will include, but I can start with some basics like replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Becoming my own best friend. Taking good care of me, inside and out. Dialing in my focus and priorities. Making sure my cup is full and my compass is straight, so that I can be fully there for others, too.
I read this thoughtful blog post from another blogger, paris (im)perfect, who had a birthday a couple days before mine. She included this wonderful quote at the end.
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainier Maria Rilke
It’s always remarkable to me how words from a stranger can resonate so deeply. How does it work, all the moments that have to align to put something in front of you right when you need it? In a universe that seems so random, how does it seem to be customizing my experience, and speaking to me through tailor-made messaging? (Wait – am I in my own version of The Truman Show??)
Most importantly, love.
“most importantly love
like it’s the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this means nothing
where you’re sitting
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave.” – Unknown