So… somehow this past year flew by and it’s time for me to celebrate another birthday. I don’t really know how to process the feeling that this was the fastest year yet, but to get an idea of what I wanted to say in this post, I went back to last year’s birthday post as a jumping point of reflecting on my year. Here’s how I finished that post:
So I embrace my birthday and the blessing of getting a year older with defiant hope and continued gratitude. With plans of treating myself well after a physically grueling and devastating past year. With dreams of more irreplaceable family memories. With goals of living a little more like a saint and a poet. With SO much LOVE.
I feel very much the same this year- more love. more gratitude. more hope. And I’m encouraged by my follow through. Last birthday I promised to start treating myself better. My second pregnancy took a toll on me in a way that I still find myself thinking about and nursing was it’s own exhausting journey, one that I was JUST starting to get the hang of when I wrote that post last year. After a year away from any regular physical activity, I started going back to yoga regularly in July (planning to speak more on that in a future post!), and I’ve started taking a little time to recharge without feeling guilty about it. I still have a ways to go (I’m looking at you, horrible sleep patterns/habits) but I feel myself getting stronger and respecting myself. I have never really thought of myself as athletic (the Powersheets prep has a whole section on “breaking your identity box” and that thought about not being athletic was a big thing I had to wrestle with when doing those pages!) and that’s why I had to keep myself from tearing up a bit when I overheard my son tell his sister the other day “You have to eat your vegetables to get strong like mommy!” I mean, I know in my son’s eyes I am also an expert at drawing (because stick figures still impress him!) and that I have all the answers (eeeeek is that something that’s going to change) but I’m still pretty thrilled that when he thinks of strong he thinks of me.
We’ve made a lot of memories over the past year too, just as I’d hoped. From an amazing trip to the beach to establishing everyday traditions like pancakes on Sundays, the year flew by but I did my best to make the days count. I have this same hope for next year. We have beach trip plans again and I’m looking forward to celebrating the nuptials of some of my favorite people.
Last year, I talked about how it was a year of learning to ask for help. Much of how I learned that skill was out of desperation and being physically incapacitated. This year, I learned about how to ask for what I want. Even if it’s not necessarily a need (though I’ve learned to ask for that too!). This isn’t something I would do before, and it’s still something I struggle with guilt about, but I’ve seen that it is important. So often, like when I’m really struggling with anxiety or am so tired I can barely think, I’m not even sure what I want or even need. So when I do recognize something specific, I’ve learned it’s worth asking about and advocating for. This skill is teaching me how to build better boundaries and to strengthen authentic relationships. It is continuing the humbling work of the year before of admitting that I want and need things I can’t provide on my own. Sometimes it’s asking for time so I can get to a yoga class, sometimes it’s asking for accountability on goals big and small, and sometimes it’s asking for something frivolous- like a different dinner than we had planned because I’m craving something else or it’s too hot to turn on the oven and make the meal I originally planned. Sometimes the answer I get is no- And even when it is, I’m in a better place than if I’d not asked and sat simmering in frustration. However, I’ve been surprised to find how often the answer has been yes.
So in my next year, I want time to stretch out and settle into some of the new routines and joys I’ve found the last year. I want more of those memories I’ve mentioned above. I want to continue my mission of noticing the beauty of every, every minute as much as possible. And I want to laugh more, enjoy a few leisurely cups of coffee before they go cold (a mom can dream!!), and spend less time being anxious and more time being active.
Happy (almost) birthday to me. This may sound a little cheesy but it’s true, one of my favorite gifts is getting to share my thoughts and experiences with you, so thank you for reading! 🙂