|These flowers were my birthday gift to myself and my Arrangement of the Month for October.|
On Sunday, I turned thirty. I had the pleasure of spending this birthday with four people I've loved for more than half my life, and one little man whose life has just begun. Eric made a Greek inspired build-your-own falafel dinner (we had lots of Greek flavors in the fridge after the housewarming party!) and a champagne toast. Afterward, we all lounged around on pillows enjoying baklava with ice cream and coffee.
The conversation turned to what thirty years teaches you.
Thirty is a nice place to be. At thirty, you have some life under your belt. You are no longer wide eyed, you are less worried about the shoulds, you've already made some choices and had time to see what they bring. You have charted a course, but it's not too late to change directions. But the common thread that ran through the conversation was this: To thine own self be true.
There are many ways to say this. Sarah put it as "I have learned to love myself", while my mantra has been "I can only control myself" but it comes down to the same thing. The idea is that the best way to love other people truly and without selfishness is to become full of yourself so that you don't approach life with a gaping hole in your soul begging to be filled with external things. This makes you dependent on affirmations that you are good and worthwhile from other people, what you can by, how hard you can work, how much you can give. If you can do that for yourself then you are free.
I am still learning how best to do this, and it's surprisingly difficult for such a simple lesson. Why is it so hard to do the things we know are good for us? Why is it so hard to say no? Why is it so hard to drag myself to yoga class, when I know how much better I always feel afterwards? Why is it so hard to tell my husband that I need a few hours to myself?
I hope to come to a point where refueling myself with myself will no longer be struggle, but habit. But until then, I know that centering my life with myself as the top priority makes me more capable of handling challenges that come up in my life, better at creating boundaries that foster healthy relationships instead of soul sucking ones, and means that I have a deeper capacity for facing the problems that come up in every human life. I have confidence in myself. What a perfect gift as I enter my thirtieth journey around the sun.