It took me 28 years to figure this out

My birthday was this weekend!

I love my birthday. I don’t know why. People always say, “It’s just like any other day,” which I suppose is true. But it’s the day you were BORN. It is the ONE DAY in an ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR you get to walk around saying, “It’s my birthday!” and people actually celebrate you, instead of calling you a self-absorbed bitch. When else does that happen??

Bachelorette parties. It happens at bachelorette parties. No matter how obnoxious your girly screams, no matter how short your dress, no one puts down a soon-to-be bride. But that’s no where near my foreseeable future, so anywayyyyyy.

Here’s to 28!

I really liked being 27. Which is a little ironic. There were quite a few, not-so-great-things that happened to me last year.

But you know what? Shit happened, and I handled it. That’s why I loved the twenty-eighth year of my life (not a typo, you’re zero when you’re born people) so much. Every other year, I thought THE WORLD WAS ENDING over a tiny, trivial thing. This year, I was all like, “That’s all you got? Come at me bitch.”

That’s not actually what I said. I’m not that tight.

Twenty-seven was the first time I felt like an ADULT. I know, it only happened nine years after I was due. There are so many people, people who you know very well since I talk about them all the time, that helped me figure shit out.

So for my annual birthday post, here are the greatest lessons I learned last year.

I learned it is ok to quit people. — Teammate + friend, Tara

More than ok. Necessary, actually.

It is mortifying how long I kept people in my life who never deserved to be there in the first place. I made excuses for these people. I ignored passive-aggressive, demeaning, or even hateful things they said. And I have no idea why. I have no idea why I, someone who prides herself on being an independent, capable person, would ever put up with it.

If you have people who shut down your dreams or insult your intelligence—you have a duty to yourself to cut those people off. I ripped open and repaired countless relationships in the past, wondering if I had done this or that, if things would have turned out differently. This year, I threw up my hands and moved the fuck on.

I learned there are very few things we can’t bounce back from—with the exception of killing someone and human genocide. —Colleague + friend, Nora

I screw up, a lot. I created a website dedicated to openly discussing these screw-ups. But something I truly believe, and something my friend Nora so eloquently pointed out, is that there are very few things we can’t come back from.

We were not planted on this Earth to have shit figured out when we arrived. That would be way too easy and pretty pointless. We were put here to discover our purpose and accept that we will make mistakes. You are armed with a roadmap of right and wrong and you have a support system of friends, family, and coworkers who care about you and genuinely want you to succeed. Know that this is enough.

I learned that happiness is a choice. —Second mom, Mary

Shitty things happen. I am sure, that if you have read this far, something horrible has happened to you in this lifetime. Sorry to break it to you, but you have many years left in you and you will get hit many times in those years. You cannot control that.

You can, however, control how you react to it. You can control your emotions, your temper, and your impulse. You are the person who gets to wake up every damn morning and say, “I am going to have a good day.” No matter what happens, no matter what assholes you meet, you are the person who decides whether it or they influence your life. Let them come at you with everything they have, and let them be disappointed when you do not break.

I learned that everything we do should be fun. —Colleague + friend, Felipe

Where and how you spend your time, and who you spend that time with, defines who you are. It is ok to enjoy it. Can you believe that? It took my twenty-eight years to realize that I can actually have fun and find inspiration within my daily life and yes, even how I earn a living. No matter how stressed you are, no matter how tight the deadline, no matter how many times you get cussed out by your managing director; you can and should find happiness in all you create. And in that way, you win—every single time.

I learned that I will make mistakes. —Grandfather + most successful person I know

The people I idolize are the people who went to hell and back and came out a better, stronger person because of it. Your mistakes do not have to define you. They can, however, make you a better person. And they certainly will make you stronger.

If you make a mistake and you learn from it, it was worth it. It gives you wisdom, resilience, and hopefully a little peace without the use of Zanax. You cannot expect to be perfect. Be grateful for all of your mistakes, instead of resenting them.

I learned that deciding what I don’t want, is just as important as deciding what I do want. —Co-coach + friend, Daria

I do not want to be someone who goes back on my word. I do not want to be someone who can’t admit their faults or accept responsibility. I do not want to value money above passion, status above friendships, or likeability above authenticity. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to live with yourself. So decide who you want to be, and go be that.

In the past year, I hated myself and loved myself. Today, I really, really like the person I am. I have, in my opinion, the best friends in the world. I’m passionate about the things I do. I know what I value. I don’t waste my time with things I don’t care about.

It was a great year. Now onto the next.

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For All the F Words
You have flaws. You f-up on a daily basis. And that should be ok.