Today is my 44th birthday. 44. That’s weird. I don’t feel like 44 years have gone past me (although I admittedly have aches and pains not seen in my 20s and I now find great joy in a Saturday night with nothing to do). But on this, my birthday, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. And through that reflection, I’ve been given a marvelous gift; that is, perspective. In the great summation of another year lived, I am able to learn about myself…and to find lessons that I hope will make me a better person in my 44th year.
I have learned that trust is a rare and delicate gift. I often give it too freely to those who haven’t earned it, or too long to those who don’t deserve it. And I know I don’t thank those who do enough.
I have learned that the heart has a tremendous capacity for joy and an equally intense ability to feel pain. Sometimes the deepest cuts are made by the same person or thing that once brought you that joy.
I have learned that the human spirit is amazingly resilient. I am grateful for those who reminded me about that.
I have learned the value of forgiveness. Grudges cause the most pain to those who hold them. Even greater relief is found in the ability to forgive oneself.
I have learned that despite good intentions and honest effort, sometimes I will just fall short. But if I learned something in the process, the time and energy was not wasted.
I have learned that you can really only love someone as much as they will allow. That said, I have learned that I can love more deeply and unselfishly than I imagined. I am grateful for those who don’t limit my love and who love me back without restriction.
I have learned that every day is an opportunity to be happy. But happiness is not something that happens to me. It is something I create. It is a mindset framed in gratitude.
I have learned that many people are happy to settle for mediocre. I’ve also learned that I am not one of those people. And I won’t apologize for that.
And so, lessons learned. Here I am at 44 … still learning. What better gift could there be?