Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's My Birthday....I'll Pontificate If I Want To...

Today is the day. My special birthday year. I'm not really sure WHY but apparently having a birthday on a triple digit sequence makes the year ahead an extra special, planets lining up, cosmos opening, year in your lifetime. That's right-09/09/09. Today, I'm 36 years old and have not a problem with that number at all. I'm frankly pleased as punch to be here.

Those triple digits, and the past year I've experienced, do make me feel like I'm on a precipice looking outward though. I've mentioned how my internal calendar doesn't really follow the normal monthly one. For me, September is not only the start of the school year, it's the start of the entire year. My birthday is kind of like New Year's Day. Along with that fact, it means that on my birthday I often take time to reflect back on the last year and look ahead with resolutions for the next one.

I think we all have times in our lives where we've been less than pleased by a decision we made or an action we took. I like to think that at age 36, I've learned many lessons and I've come a long way, baby. I have made a LOT of mistakes in my life. Some have hurt others, some have hurt only me. But I don't live with regret. I think every horrible, crappy thing that happens to us is an opportunity. Ya, you heard that right. An opportunity. I'm not an optimist by nature, or so I always thought. Turns out, maybe I am.

Every time I've been knocked down in life, I've struggled back to make something out of that dung heap of an obstacle. I'm not tooting my own horn here. It's just a fact. I don't wallow in my own self pity. (well, I try not to anyways. Let's say rarely and not out loud where others can hear me!) I try and pick myself up, dust myself off and figure out what it all means and where I go from here.

I think each and every one of us is going to be presented with situations beyond our control. I think we are all going to experience a moment in time where someone or something is going to wrong us. It would be just as easy to throw our hands to the sky and demand answers and restitution. But I see it more as a time to take action.

I truly believe character and integrity are built on the backs of heartbreak. I know many an individual who is lacking in those qualities because they've never had to react and look deep, deep within for an answer that isn't easy or a decision that's challenging. I call them emotionally immature. It doesn't make them bad people; the tragedy is that they are only beginning their growth as adults when they should be out of the stage where they are mucking things up and causing chaos. But who am I to say how another's life path should progress and at what speed they should mature into strong, integral adults? I know some middle-aged + people who still aren't there yet. And I feel pity for them. Why? I made my mistakes when they were easier to make. I didn't have a family and a husband and people looking to me to be strong and stable. When you only start building character and emotionally maturing in your 30's or later, I feel like you're a bit late to the game. I guess, however, that it's better late than never.

Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, here I am standing tall at 36 years of age with many battle scars. The last year has been one of the most difficult of my life. And that's saying a lot, because I've lived a lot of life for my age. And yet, I feel almost like that has set the stage for me to move forward in a way that I might not have been able to previously. It's almost like I feel Book 1 of my story is complete, and if you turn the next page, Book 2 is going to rock your socks. I've grown up a lot this year. I've been forced to look deep within myself for strength and courage and to truly discover who I am and what I need and what I feel and what is missing in my life. I've come to realizations about my character, but also about my heart and soul. I have internal traits I didn't even know were lying dormant. This year has brought that all out.

Many events in my life have occurred up to now, and I've always said I wouldn't wish them on my enemies, but I wouldn't change them either because they've made me who I am today. That still holds. I can't be responsible for the actions of others, but I can always, always be responsible for my REACTION. I can always be true to myself and what I hold important. In some ways, I'm the same in character as I was from birth. And in many others, the depth of my wisdom has increased a thousand fold-mostly from the horrendous times more so than the good ones.

Armed with that knowledge and that resolve, my birthday today has a ton of meaning for me. Though turning 35 was supposed to be a "big" one, I look at this year as the one that changes everything.

I hope Book 2 is happy and blessed.

If anything, it is.........To Be Continued.

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