Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday! I treat birthdays as a new year of sorts, so I’ve spent the day in a lot of quiet contemplation, reviewing the past year and thinking ahead for the next. 31 wasn’t the greatest year on the record by far, but I hope 32 brings brighter days and much needed rest.  What follows is a retrospective of the last year— the good, bad, and particularly ugly. It’s all part of my story.

I am curious, though. What do you all do to mark your birthdays?


12 months ago…
Quiet day at work. I spent it with my head down, defeated by watery eyes, congestion, and a terribly sore throat. Once work ended, I took some cold pills, and the delusions began. Got a visit from That Voice, who I haven’t encountered in years. That Voice almost succeeded in making me believe I’d lived the most of my useful life, and that the quiet home that plagued me was proof of that. What was the use of another year alive? I only had me, and That Voice wanted me to know no one cares about my goodness or that the reason I was sick was because I had given myself to serve others. Sobbing aimlessly, I retired to bed early. Two days later, That Voice came back to remind me that I was still sick, and when my thanksgiving plans fell through, I was on the floor again. Weakened. Defeated. Wondering if I should believe my enemy.

11 months ago…
Still antsy from my previous visit with That Voice, I tried to lovebomb myself with self-care. Bubble baths, aromatherapy, movies and Snuggie therapy. Had a fireplace accident (while trying to be cozy, at that) home alone, and it made everything worse. That Voice swooped in and taunted me with terrible flashbacks. People didn’t understand my healing process from it, or why one was needed. I got tired of reaching out, only for my hand to get swatted from trying. First realizations of trauma being a process. Everyone isn’t ready. So easy to curl in.

10 months ago…
New level of broken. I can’t even remember if That Voice was around, because I wasn’t hearing much of anything. Want to blame something, anything, myself- not accurate, though. Gotta get through this somehow, but how? Discovered Brené Brown, and tapped into my vulnerability, which I had previously set in a glass case, never to be touched. Lightbulb season. I journaled. I wrote a lot. I burned a lot. I forgave a lot and healed a little through it.

Funny thing about vulnerability. It is so valuable and wonderful and worth discovering and sharing, but not everyone will be deserving of it. You can take it out of the display case, but not for everyone to play with.

9 months ago…
Was all a blur. For once, I was putting me first. I was learning how to take care of me after all of these years of taking care of me. I was giving myself the grace I found it easier to give to others. I learned that while strength is okay, it’s also okay to not want to be strong.

8 months ago…
Started trying to live wholeheartedly (thanks, Brené). Surrounded myself with positive words at work and home. Embracing my imperfections.  Rising from the ashes. Stronger. Calmer. Still fighting. Pushing forward. Finding my way. Needing more naps. Accepting the stumbles (quite literally because I’m in a boot for a sprained ankle).

7 months ago…
My body’s betraying me. Needles and prodding. Searching for answers. Is this a getting older thing, or is it a “I know something is off so can we investigate further” thing? I was right. No justification in it, just truth. Take some naps. We keep going forward.

6 months ago…
Biggest professional challenge so far. Somehow, I aced it! Was a bundle of nerves the whole time, but I was also enveloped with calm. I just trusted the process. Still trying to do that with other parts of life. Needles and prodding. Face to face with one of my biggest hurts, I didn’t Solange it away. I kept going.

5 months ago…
New office, new routine. So much to learn. I can do it. I was made for this. This is why That Voice can’t, and won’t, win. I hope it never comes back.

4 months ago…
Everything’s a journey, isn’t it? We’re always going from one place to another, often simultaneously. One of my favorite words. New adventures, new experiences, new possibilities. Needles and prodding. Still getting it all sorted out, but maybe it never gets fully sorted out. That’s okay. I’ll do my best with what I have. Try not to overwhelm myself concerning the rest. If it’s not good, it’ll be good.

3 months ago…
I have a staff to train. Wow. I hope I don’t break anything or anyone. Be gentle. Be yourself. Be unique and honest. I can never fully let go of serving; I just have a new(er) population to serve in a different way. New challenge accepted.

2 months ago…
The hustle is real. The exhaustion that follows is just as real. Thriving professionally; sinking personally. Am I doing this right? Did I remember to eat today? Create space to renew, refresh, restore. Take care of you. You can’t take care of others while you’re empty.

1 month ago…
I didn’t listen. Body was telling me, and I waited too late to take care of me. Force feeding all of the supplements. Making rest a priority. No, I can’t. I have nothing else to give. I can’t fill everyone but me. I’m on empty. Practice it. Live it. Renew. Refresh. Restore. Fun fact: low vitamin D can affect your mood! Wow.

2 weeks ago…
Googling the big words to prepare for another fun doctor talk. They know me so well. Breathe. Ask all the questions. Even that one. The scary one. Let the word come out. Let yourself feel how you must, especially if you have to face a new thing.

1 week ago…
The scary word. We have a name, or at least one. We can begin to find answers in a new way. Go take a nap. Refresh. Keep going forward.

1 day ago…
The last day of this year. Much better than the first. Was a great day. I won. I’m here. I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m all that I need to be for this moment, and will be all that I need to be for the next. Brave bird, keep floating. Your journey is yours. Your story is yours, and it continues.

 



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