Today I turn 34 years old. I think this is going to be the best year yet, until the next one. I used to think getting older would be depressing, but the opposite has proven to be true. I look back on my 24 year old self with fondness, but also with a loving pat on the head that says, “you have no clue what you’re doing, so stop pretending like you do.” In comparing my 24 v. 34 year old selves, here are some things I do NOT do anymore:

  • Pretend that I do not care what people think about me and use that as an excuse to behave flippantly. I care about being perceived as respectful, kind and thoughtful. I hope to leave a positive impact on every being that I met. I take responsibility for the energy I bring into all situations, but I do however, release myself from trying to control that too much.
  • Say yes when I really mean no + over-explaining my no(s) with apologies or half-truths. Feeling confident that NO is a complete sentence and explaining that I “have plans already” is also an acceptable response.
  • Make decisions from a place of “shoulds.”
  • Put on a tough girl exterior that gives off a false impression of being intimidating which probably never fooled anyone to begin with. I stand strong in my vulnerability and embrace my sensitive heart fully.
  • Pretend like I have it all figured out. The educational, career, running, hiking, traveling, etc. experiences I have do not define me as any sort of expert. They have highlighted to me more than anything that I still have so much to learn.
  • Lie. I have always been bad at it, so I just stopped.
  • Gossip. It drains my soul and I am not interested in shallow relationships based off of a mutual dislike for something/someone anymore.
  • Worry. Well, not entirely…I will probably always have anxious tendencies, but I am much more mindful about how I interpret them and how I let them guide my decision making. I don’t carry the arrogance around anymore that my worry can actually alter a situation or prevent “something bad” from happening.
  • Overplan. I am shedding the ego constraints that tell me I can and should do it all. This is still a work in progress but I have finally acknowledged that I am very human and very non-robot who can be powered by caffeine. I also acknowledge that as much as I love it, caffeine really isn’t that good for me.
  • Thinking others have it all figured it.  It does not serve me to envy or compare myself to anyone. I can admire and be inspired, while still acknowledging that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have and I am responsible for how I interpreted curated presentations.
  • Allow my boundaries to be tread upon. I will no longer allow myself to be mistreated or disrespected. I am worthy enough to stand up for myself and the other person is worthy enough for me to do that with love and respect. I have much better skills now to do that with assertiveness and compassion.

Here’s what I want to strive to do more of:

  • Forgive, forgive, forgive. Stop wondering “why me?” and embrace my life’s assignment to perpetuate cycles of healing v. victimhood. I acknowledge somethings that have occurred in my life have not been my fault and I did nothing to cause them, but I am responsible for what I do with them. I intend to process and interpret those lessons in a positive way for myself and the world around me.
  • Experience discomfort, pain, sadness, loneliness and boredom completely, without reaching for a distraction or method to check out.
  • Travel. Till my last breath.
  • Relax. I am still learning how.
  • Set intentions v. goals.
  • Attract meaningful opportunities, experiences and individuals into my orbit.
  • Eat purposefully. Honor myself with nutritious food and continually hydrate. Acknowledge that the cost of consuming less than this is too high for my body.
  • Actively nourish myself and move away from self-indulgence as a guise of self-care.
  • Allow myself to freely give and receive, instead of overextending myself into exhaustion.
  • Let go instead of forcing. This goes for relationships, ideas, goals and dreams. I can’t force something to be what it isn’t.
  • Embrace all of myself fully & completely. Move away from trying to improve towards trying to uncover my best self that is already deep inside my core.

pc: DelToro Photo