Yesterday I turned 42 years old. OMG, it’s incredible really! I’m actually (annoyingly) one of those people who loves getting older (sorry!). Setting aside the fact that everything physical continues to go south (a slightly disappointing, but inevitable process) I really love digging deeper and discovering new parts of myself – finding out what I’m capable of, and the way that everything gets clearer and much simpler.
Naturally along with New Year, this is always a time of reflection for me. And as the years roll by, I find I’m less and less interested in the things I do, and much more interested in how I show up in my life. Less concerned about what happens to me and much more interested in how I respond to the things life throws my way.
Last year was really challenging for all sorts of reasons – family, work, relationships – the whole shebang! It was definitely a year of digging deep and getting clear about who I am. Things happened and some of them hurt deeply and broke my heart wide open. And once I’d grieved, raged, cried – I got to decide, how I was going to rise up and CHOOSE how these experiences would shape me. That is what we get to do. We get to offer up our gorgeous hearts again and again. We get to check in with what is true for us, and to practice our values rather than simply profess them. We can get caught up in details and heartbreak and clinging to our pictures of “how things should be”; we can make lists of ways we’ve been wronged and file them away in the space at the front of our hearts. We can blame, find-fault, make excuses and even lash out, but there isn’t any freedom in that. When you fight for peace within yourself, you might have to pull off to the side of the road for awhile, and it might be deeply uncomfortable or painful, but at least you find liberation that way.
What I’ve taken away from this past year is to stay out of other peoples’ stories and stand bang in the centre of my own. It’s that I choose courage over comfort no matter what the cost, and knowing if I’m brave enough, often enough I will inevitably fall but I’m still all in. I’m still a work in progress – and it’s getting curiouser and curiouser! wink emoticon
Life is amazing and incredible and really, really interesting, but no one would argue that it’s easy. People will do things and say things and want things that break your heart. You will break other people’s hearts, too. Mostly, people don’t do this to each other intentionally. Most people are doing the best they can with what they’ve got. They’re trying to figure it out just like you, like me, like all of us when we’re honest about it.
And so to play on Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem “Tell me, who is it YOU plan to BE in your one wild and precious life?”