Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm 24

Today is my birthday, and I am 24 years old. Since it's my day, I feel like I have the freedom to write this post about whatever I want. So here goes.

1. Age isn't important. When I wasn't 21 anymore, I had to start counting up my age based on my year of birth, because for some reason it was hard to remember. I think after the exciting age of 21, the following years started blending together. But that's okay; I feel like I'm now past the stage in my life where everyone judges you based on your age. That's a good thing. I still can't rent a car (age 25), but after that my age really won't matter.

Since my birthday is close to the end of August, when I started kindergarten I was just on the borderline to start school - I turned 5 just in time to start that year. Because of this, I've always been the youngest kid in my class. Which means all my friends were older than me. Since I've always hung around older people, I FEEL older, too. This isn't a bad thing. I feel more introspective and wiser in the world.

2. I think birthdays should be treated more like New Year's. Everyone's birthday is their proper "new year" afterall. Starting out on lofty goals on January 1st is customary, but not quite accurate. Today is OFFICIALLY the start of another year of life for me. I should treat it as such.

3. We should live each day like it's our birthday. When I knew my special day was coming up, I found myself treating Me better. This morning when I got up I thought, "it's my birthday, I can wear whatever the heck I want and nobody can say anything!" ...Why don't I say this every day? How liberating that would be! Last night we went out for dinner. Since it is my birthday, I thought, "I can order whatever I want. I'm gonna order a raspberry lemonade even though it's a sugary beverage that's way overpriced!" Yum-o.

It might not be a good idea to see yourself as an all-deserving princess every day of the year, but once in awhile? Absolutely.

Reminds me of a quote:

Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out. ~Alan Cohen
Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? I think about how I try to make the people I love happy, and how that in turn makes ME happy. But what if you would do anything to make YOURSELF happy? Don't you deserve that, too?

Celebrate each day like it's your birthday. It is, afterall, your Unbirthday.


4. Celebrate more. People like to celebrate special occasions and big news. Engagement, new baby, job promotion, new house, marriage, birthdays (sometimes)... Of course it's great to celebrate the big moments, but I think people tend to forget about the smaller victories. Gretchen Rubin over at the Happiness Project writes about celebrating the little things:

...I discipline myself to relish the moments of arrival when I reach them. Instead of immediately taking an accomplishment for granted, and moving the bar higher, as I'm wont to do, I pause to enjoy the view.
We need to do more of this. Little things I'd like to celebrate:
  • successfully cooking a delicious dinner
  • getting up before 9am on a weekend
  • toast myself when praised for an accomplishment at work
  • exercising or doing yoga a few days a week
  • blogging a couple times in a week
  • putting away all my laundry

    5. Step back to look at the big picture. You've probably heard this advice a million times before - think big picture / don't stress the small stuff / etc. But actually doing this can be pretty amazing and a little bit surreal. I try to visualize the "bigger picture" whenever I get super stressed about some minor thing. It's like pulling back layers, or stepping away from the situation in big leaps.

    If it's something at work, I think - how does this fit in to the project I'm working on right now? Where does this project lie in my overall job description? How does this project advance me as a professional, and how will it benefit the company as a whole? Will a project of this kind happen again over the years? How important is it? After it's all said and done, how will I feel? What will I think of this stupid glitch I'm stressing over right now? Where does my job fit in with my life? Where am I at in the course of my life? What will I be doing in 5 years? 10 years? ...etc, etc...

    Think like this:

    6. Be happy where you are. Another idea that goes hand-in-hand with stepping back to look at your big picture is to be happy exactly where you are. Leo from Zen Habits writes about how he has "adopted the mindset that whatever I’m doing right now is perfect."

    I’m always happy with what I’m doing, because I don’t compare it to anything else, and instead pay close attention to the activity itself.

    Try practicing this phrase to yourself: What I'm doing right now is perfect. There is nowhere else I'd rather be, and nothing else I'd rather be doing. Saying this really helps put you in the moment, and realize that everything you do is for a reason, and it affects your life - even in a small way.

    One thing that helps me get into this mindset is to remember when I was little and I used to go to summer camp. My family would drop me off, and it was always hard saying goodbye. Camp was just me, the counselors, and all the other kids - getting dirty, bug-bitten, and running around playing organized camp-wide games. I often felt homesick, as did other kids. My mom would send me letters during the week, and I'd write back to her...

    The point is that as soon as I got home from camp - even though it was always fun and I missed my cabinmates and counselors already - being home was always EXACTLY where I wanted to be. I'd think back to what dirty, sweaty, or uncomfortable activity I would be forced to do at camp, and how glad I was to be at home in my clean, air conditioned, bug-free room watching a movie. It's all relative. And the activity you're doing NOW is always better than something you could be doing. You've got it good.

    I won't recount my achievements in my past year of life right now. I'll save that for a later day. It is my birthday, but today I'm thinking Bigger Picture. Birthday = good mood, and I plan on replicating this joy on all of my Unbirthdays. Celebrating the little things, loving myself, being thankful for what I've got, and mindful of what I'm doing. I'll make this year even better than the last :)

    This post was inspired by the birthday post of Scott H Young, titled I'm 23.


    1. "Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy?" - I really love that quote! I'll have to keep that in mind.

      I've always been one to approach my Birthday like New Years, too! It's my time to grow and mature in new ways, and decide what it is I need to accomplish next. Then, I go out and spoil myself rotten ;) Lol Sounds like you had a great B-day, I'm glad!!

    2. Wow, I just turned 24 on July 18. Hope you had a great day, fellow Lisa Frank/rainbow junk freak. =] I definitely relate to most of what you said there, and second all the advice. And Disney comics=<3!!

      How I wish I'd been sent to camp as a kid! That's comparable to being freshly back from a trip, as I am now...yes, I wish I were still on vacation, but I do have to be grateful and happy for all the comforts and benefits of being back home...^^


    Comments are delightful - thanks for taking the time to write!