I have a pretty big birthday coming up on September 29 — I'll be turning 45. For the first time in my life I have mixed feelings about a birthday. I usually float through a birthday without feeling too much other than gratefulness for another year of this life. This year is a little different and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's the realization that most likely more that half of my life is over. That so many years have already passed and I'm not invincible as my naive mind once thought in my youth. Maybe its the fact that I'm not who I once wanted to be and I didn't accomplish all the things I set out to do. Or maybe it's because I let fear and people-pleasing stand in the way of being who I was truly destined to be — my unique, authentic self.
Don't get me wrong, I have a lot I am thankful for. When I was young, thinking ahead about my future, I would have never envisioned the good life I would ultimately have. I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined the many blessings I would be given. Everything from my husband and three kids to life experiences and health and material possesions. I'm blown away thinking back on everything and thank God for it all! Just this passed year has been absolutely amazing! I've traveled to places which have been on my list for years — those trips finally became a reality this summer. The way everything fell into place to allow these trips to happen has been mind-blowing — it's been a really beautiful life!
Life is always a package of good and bad. We just can't have one without the other. We look at other people, the lives they lead and the things they have, and almost feel a sense of unfairness because we think we deserve more too. Only, most often, we don't know their whole story and if we did, we would feel a sense of relief that we actually don't have what they have. We would be more content with the life we have been given. I have certainly had my share of hardships and trials. Most that I never saw coming or ever imagined I would have to live through. Many of which have scarred me and changed me in so many ways — some positive but most negative. One thing I have learned though it all is the grass is not greener on the other side. As hard as it is most times, I try to accept that this is my life experience and never wish I was somebody else or I was living somebody else's life. I'm trying to learn to be grateful for the good and the bad.
Through it all, I do have one regret. I have lived a good portion of my life as a sort of chameleon. Always trying to be who the people around me thought I should be. Playing it safe so I never offend anyone and ensure that I fit in, am liked and not rejected. I grew up in a very conservative family with very strict, controlling parents, so for the most part I was conditioned to be this way. I believed that if I kept the people around me happy everything was great. What I didn't realize was that a little part of the true me was dying every time I did that. A lot of the decisions I made in life were filtered through this same mindset of keeping people happy. I chose to do what others wanted me to do instead of what I wanted. This subject could be a blogpost in itself and maybe one day, when I'm ready, it will be. That time, for many reasons, is not now and the focus here is not the past but the future. Regrets can be dangerous if we keep focusing on them and living in the past. I did that for a while but I'm moving on. I've begun to change my mindset and continue to do so but old habits die hard sometimes.
As I look towards my future and the rest of the life I have here on this earth, I want to live true to myself and my calling. I want to follow my own path, whether the people around me agree with it or not. I don't want to live my life in fear of what others think anymore because it truly doesn't matter. Other people's options of me have nothing to do with me. It only reflects on them and the types of people they are. People-pleasing is exhausting and draining. It's a waste of time and a wasted life. No matter how hard I try to please people it will never be enough. Someone will still be unhappy with me. It's a vicious cycle and I am through with it.
I feel a sense of urgency to make some changes. Living an authentic life and being who I really am is my goal from here on. If some people reject me for who I am, that's okay. I can't be everybody's cup of tea and I now understand and accept that. Genuine relationships come when we are our unique selves. The people who love us for who we truly are, are the ones worthy of having in our lives. So, as I embark on another birthday and another year, I want to live my best life. I want to pursue the things I love and try to accomplish as many goals and dreams as I can. I want to leave fear and people-pleasing behind. One day when I'm at the end of my life, I want to be happy for the decisions I made, good and bad, because they were mine. Can you relate to my story? Are you living with regrets from the past instead of moving toward a better future?