“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” —Oprah Winfrey
Our lives can travel at impeccable speeds, as months and years can fly by without a realization of what has happened, but so too can our days be gradual, steady and something to savor so long as we live well, live in such a way to appreciate the life we’ve created for ourselves and have the opportunity to live.
With the arrival of my 38th birthday today, it is the first birthday that the last year has been spent entirely being a resident of Bend, Oregon. I know some readers tire of me speaking of my new hometown, but it is really less about where I live and more about the gift we can each give ourselves if we choose to recognize and then respond as we take risks that speak to us and refuse to leave our mind until we act.
Hands down, without a question in my mind, the decision I made in the spring of 2015 was the most monumental decision of my life thus far. To some, this decision is laughable as I merely hopped four hours to another town in Oregon, and to others it was a ginormous life change. It is not for anyone’s approval I made the decision, but soley my own. And that should be the case for you as well as you look at your life and you ponder a change, a leap, a shift. It should be for you, and in doing so, you will begin to come into your best self, or at least be given the opportunity to do so.
As I have done many years in the past on my birthday (see the end of the post for archived posts), birthdays are a special event. Regardless of whom I spend it with or with anyone at all, it is an intimate celebration of living a life that makes me smile, laugh, and appreciate all that I have had the opportunity to experience, even the struggles, even the tears and especially the moments of pure delight and disbelief as life surpasses expectations.
Below are twelve discoveries I came across these past twelve months that I still cannot quite believe I had the fortune to experience:
1. Being extremely busy for a short duration is just fine if you are doing something you love.
From January to June I took two quarters of French at the local community college, and while it made my weekly routine extremely busy, and reduced my ability to work on the blog as much I needed, I was reminded why I loved the French language and am thankful I enrolled. Discover all that I learned here.
2. Don’t be afraid to look a fool; often it is only you who feels as though you are.
I attended my first French conversation group in March. Knew very little French, but willed myself to attend. And in so doing met beautiful individuals who no more thought I was a fool than I thought I was speaking fluent French. Ah! The angst we put ourselves through for no reason!
3. Tending to the yard and garden, no matter how small is powerful, therapeutic and rewarding.
My garden is smaller, but my yard is larger, and so I decided to invest in a landscaper to bring my yard back to its original glory, and then I would take over from there. The previous tenant took care of it adequately, but as someone who appreciates looking out the office window and seeing a plush yard, as well as a back yard to relax in and enjoy the birds, a playful ball-chasing romp with the boys, or laying on the hammock with a book, I wanted a yard I loved to be in. And with that a garden was planted, the grass came back, hydrangeas, hosts and lavender were planted and many moments were spent outside with the birds, the boys and a book without a clock to look at.
4. Say yes, even if it scares you after you get over your exhilaration upon receiving the invitation.
5. Host a dinner party, turn on the music, dress up, serve courses or don’t, but make your guests feel special.
6. Invest in your dreams
The blog redesign was a significant undertaking that involved me asking myself what I saw for the future of TSLL brand. Needless to say, I saw a simply luxurious home for readers to continue to visit, to explore, to learn, to be inspired and enjoy themselves all the while reach a fullest potential that is uniquely their own, and so the decision was made.
7. Do something new that you love even if you don’t know how it will work out.
In August the first TSLL French Week took place to a great reception. Not only was it fun to put together, but it was fun to hear from readers and discover what they enjoyed. Needless to say, TSLL French Week will return this coming summer.
8. Invest in experiences over things.
In September I invested in a trip that I will be taking far down the road. And while I have many months to wait, I have many months to look forward to what I will get to see, do, learn and explore, and so the planning has already begun and my excitement is continuing to build.
9. Doing something you’ve never done often reveals skills you didn’t realized you’ve been honing for just such occasion.
In October the first of two guest appearances on Portland’s KATU-TV (ABC) Afternoon Live! took place. Admittedly, I was nervous, but with the help of a seasoned and welcoming host, I am thankful that they both went well.
10. Remember that life will never stop amazing you if you hold onto your plans loosely.
Sometimes surprises from out of the blue really do happen so long as you don’t slam the door simply because it doesn’t fit into your definition of what your life “should” look like. Be open, be willing to explore and you might just be pleasantly surprised.
11. Ask for your wildest dreams. Every once in awhile, the universe has exactly what you’re looking for.
12. Stand strong in who you know yourself to be, hold on to hope and let go of expectation.
And with that another year begins. Another year of being alive, healthy, happy and open to more lessons and moments to celebrate. My gratitude knows no bounds. I do hope your birthday year is going well no matter when it began, and that you too are pinching yourself for getting the opportunity to live a “brand new day with no mistakes in it” one more time each and every day you open your eyes after a deep night’s sleep.
~BIRTHDAY POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES: