The Joy of Another Year

My birthday was yesterday! I had a pretty low key day yesterday but I just feel so thankful for another year. I think I made it clear from last year’s post┬áthat in the back of my mind was always this looming thought that life is so finite… even though I have a comfort that this life isn’t it, this life right here is still pretty amazing and all year I couldn’t help but think how one of my favorite high school teachers didn’t get to live past the age I was this past year. So now here I am… hitting a new number that she never got to see. And I know it’s all so random, and some days that fills me with existential dread… but honestly I am just so filled with joy and gratitude that the majority of the time that is no longer the case (thank you therapy!) So for my birthday post this year, I wanted to reflect back on a few of the things that brought me deep joy and share a little about what kind of joys I’m looking toward in this next year.

*I ran the NYC marathon. This was one of those big, bucket list events that I will remember for a long long time. The support I had while training and the incredible impact of the people who joined my fundraising and sponsored a child brought me such deep and lasting joy. Of course, it wasn’t ALL joy- a lot of pain and doubts and exhaustion accompanied it, but I can truly say that day was filled with all sorts of joys and I am so glad I did it!

*I took my kids to Disneyland. This trip was years and years in the making. We thought we’d take my oldest there for his Kindergarten graduation… but that was set for May 2020… and instead he never got any sort of moving on ceremony at all so this felt like a wonderful triumph as well as a very important family celebration after the kids missing me so much during months of marathon training.

*Experienced more beautiful hikes. I crossed off another state park and spent a lot of time on trails alone, with family, and with friends. This included some hikes I’ve done dozens of times but never get old, as well as a chance to cross off some bucket list Sedona hikes.

*Grew closer with beautiful people both online and in person. One of the coolest things about training for the NYC marathon was connecting with people undertaking that same massive goal, as well as growing closer with the running community in general. I attended more group running events and got to meet up with people from across the country who had been cheering me on from afar for months. I got to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in decades and turns out they are just as awesome now, only even more confidently and beautifully themselves. I got to see some of my best friends who no longer live in the same city as me and make more beautiful memories with them. I got to spend more quality time with friends who DO live in the same city and hadn’t had a chance to connect with us as much due to the chaos of the past few years. It was a really good year for friendships.

*Celebrated 10 years of marriage and fell more in love. It is hard to believe that this was part of the past year of my life, because our anniversary falls so close to my birthday that something from last May feels so much further away than a year ago! We celebrated 10 years with an amazing staycation and then picked up the celebration 6 months later with our time together in NYC- our first trip without the kids since we started having kids! It has been so great to celebrate, laugh, adventure, and dream with such a wonderful partner.

*Gave myself a break and let myself slow down… well, kind of… I’m still working on this one, but I started the work on unpacking a lot of baggage I have around rest and how important it can be to take a break from things, even when I worry I am letting people down or someone else might not step up.

*Saw Taylor Swift in concert!!! For something I’ve dreamed about for over a decade, this all came together extremely last minute and what I REALLY want to say about it is that I’m so happy to be in a place in life where the idea of seeing a concert solo doesn’t fill me with dread and that I was willing to just say- let’s do this when the opportunity arose (with the encouragement of my husband and best friend- both of whom, under ideal circumstances, I’d have loved to have with me!) This was such an iconic, amazing performance and I will treasure the memories from it. It was also my early birthday, Mother’s Day, and Anniversary gift… totally worth having all those special events right next to each other if I can occasionally combine them for awesomeness like this.

Next year I hope to find just as much joy. I have no plans for a big flashy world major marathon or a visit to the East Coast or a years in the making giant arena concert… but I do plan to keep loving time outdoors, making memories with my family and friends, and embracing all the smaller joys that add up to the most durable happiness. I’ve set some difficult boundaries to try and ensure I can focus on those things, but I don’t think I’ll regret that and I am praying for a wonderful year to come.

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