happy birthday

I write birthday letters to my children every year. It’s just something that I do. It’s probably a bit of therapy for me to be able to reflect, in writing, on who they are becoming and what makes them special individually. This year, I’m choosing to write about myself.

This has been a hard year for me. So many things have turned upside down. It’s funny because I appear so open on social media and I think people have an idea that they really know me. In fact, I’m pretty private. If something means a lot to me or is very special to me, I won’t post about it at all. Only about a third of my life is lived online, believe it or not. And, in this past year, it’s been the third of my life – the stuff that I keep to myself that has seemingly come unraveled and taken me with it in some ways.

I had a life-shift of sorts around March. A friend of mine lost a close friend of hers; we were around the same age. In reflecting upon how my time was being spent, I had a life shift. My priorities were very much out of whack. I was devoting time to things that in the end would never matter (or not much matter). Giving the most of my energy to people who didn’t require it. And spending time doing things that I didn’t really enjoy only because I’d always done them.

I ran across this saying on Pinterest a few weeks back, it perfectly described what has happened with me over the past year.

One morning she woke up different.
Done with trying to figure out who was with her, against her, or walking down the middle because they didn’t have the guts to pick a side.
She was done with anything that didn’t bring her peace.
She realized that opinions were a dime a dozen, validation was for parking, and loyalty wasn’t a word, but a lifestyle.
It was this day that her life changed.
And not because of a man, or a job, but because she realized that life is way too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.

It has taken a lot of getting used to, this life shift. Saying “no” to things that I’m not interested in or that won’t bring peace. Giving myself the freedom to say “yes” to new opportunities. (How exciting!) And, looking for the joy in all things and in all situations.

I lost my grandfather last month. As we prepared for his funeral with the pastors and our family, I knew that I wanted to leave just as big of a legacy behind. I saw glimpses of myself in so many of the stories that were told about him. I had never considered that growing up glued to his side had such an influence on me beyond the love that I was constantly shown. It was another reminder to be so careful and so cautious of how my time is spent.

I love the last line of the mantra that I shared above: “Life is way too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.” So, here in year 44, that’s the line that I’m most focusing on. When I’m happy, I can take better care of everyone that I love and that’s the legacy that I want to work toward in this stage of my life. But, if I put the key to my happiness in anyone’s pocket but my own, that can’t happen.

Words of wisdom from a 44 year old wife and mom:
Love big. Don’t be afraid of change. Give second chances. Give the biggest chunks of your time to your biggest priorities.