29 in 29

DeathtoStock_NYC19Guys, it’s my birthday! If you’ve met me you probably know – birthday’s are kiiiind of my thing. I love celebrating someone’s life and what they mean to the rest of us here on earth. Nothing is too big in my book, we’re talking surprise parties, over the top gifts, reservations and after-parties, 4-tier homemade cakes, the works. And when it’s my turn, I tend to expect the same.

That’s the trouble with these high standards of mine; I end up putting a burden on the people around me to uphold my own ideas of how celebrations should go. For years I would go through the day feeling a little letdown that no red carpet had been rolled out, and the fanfare was, well, smaller than I might have planned. Part of my own personal journey has been realizing that putting my own expectations on other people isn’t loving them well, and it’s just making all of us unhappy.

I also think part of growing up is appreciating experiences more than things. Where I might have wanted tangible gifts, I now find myself being drawn to the idea behind gifts and gestures, and what they stand for. I’ve realized that sometimes the smallest gesture can have the most meaning. So from here on out, I’m more interested in collecting experiences. And in that spirit, here are 29 things I’m proud of myself for doing in my 29 years on the planet:

1. Graduating college magna cum laude
2. Following my passion for music by taking a year off between high school and college to go to music school
3. Getting through college on all scholarships and graduating with no loans or debt
4. Moving out from my dad’s house when I realized that the environment was toxic for me emotionally – even though it meant being in school full-time and busting my booty working part-time to cover all my own bills
5. Training for and running the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon in 2012
6. After going through the rough recovery of the first half marathon, being tough enough (dumb enough?) to train for and run a second one in the Bahamas
7. Starting bootcamp in Florida with Amy, and even though we couldn’t walk for the next few days after, we went back and found a community there
8. Running a Spartan Race complete with 20+ obstacles, 9 miles, and plenty of mud
9. Rescuing Dexter and having him as my little bud, even though he’s a pain in the ass
10. Working at a non-profit, and working my way up from part-time admin to Online Marketing Manager
11. Traveling to Haiti with work, and getting to experience life there first-hand
12. Starting a blog, and even through some lapses, keeping it more or less going for the last 5+ years
13. Meeting a guy and following my heart to go see him in Australia, even after we’d only spent 2 weeks living in the same place
14. Bring strong enough to handle a long-distance relationship
15. Getting engaged to someone across the country and being brave enough to plan our future
16. Getting married, when for so long I’d been afraid to do so because of the example of marriage I had growing up
17. Moving across the country to where I didn’t know anyone except Jim, and starting a life here in San Francisco
18. Giving away my car and learning to navigate the city myself through public transit for three years
19. Working not one, not two, but three jobs here during my first year as a San Francisco resident
20. Traveling to Bali and experiencing Asia culture
21. Rocking pregnancy like a boss, while still working and riding the bus every damn day
22. Traveling to Canada while pregnant for our honeymoon/babymoon even though I had such bad morning sickness I threw up every day
23. Enduring 36 hours of labor, including transferring from our attempted home birth to the hospital and getting all the drugs, to bring Will into the world
24. Finding a mama tribe here in the city, and working hard to make new friends
25. Accepting my post-baby body, in all of it’s stretch marked glory
26. Completing 3 successful rounds of Whole 30 and learning to take cues from my body for what to eat to feel my best
27. Starting therapy and working on my own mental health and wellbeing
28. Realizing I wanted to pursue a career in therapy, and being accepted into CIIS to get my masters
29. Training to run my 3rd half marathon in 3 months

And there you have it! 29 bullet points to sum up 29 years. Strange. But somehow satisfying. So to anyone who’s also celebrating their birthday today – Happy Birthday! I hope you get everything your heart desires.
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