Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me (& Many More….)
Last week was my birthday and it was fantastic. It was nearly everything I wanted and I’m at an age now where “nearly” really is enough when it comes to this sort of thing. I spent my birthday in Buenos Aires, in a sundress. I received lots of love from people I adore (and some from randoms on Facebook.) I ate delicious food. I did a little work. I had a nap and I read a good book. I realize I sound 86 but that really is a good time to me now. I wanted my birthday to be selfish, to be all about what I wanted to do – whether it’s eating or sleeping or working or reading. It was a fairly isolated birthday but as an exhausted introvert, it was ideal.
So thank you, if you made this birthday incredible by sending love any time within the last two weeks. It all counts. Love always counts.
But this isn’t just about bragging and thanking people. On my birthday, someone wished me well and asked “What did you learn this year?”
What did I learn this year?
A lot actually.
To take the first steps in what my hero Bréne Brown calls “wholehearted” living. I remind myself daily that I am just human and that is okay. That I have faults but I am still enough. That I am lovable and loved.
To appreciate my intelligence. This sounds silly but I grew up in a family of great intellects. There is nothing quite like feeling like the dumbest person in every room growing up and then been threatened to lose what small brainpower you have. I am not my brother with his incredibly high emotional intelligence or my cousin who is a literal genius, but I am intelligent and that is nice.
To acknowledge that I am terrified and do it anyway. This year I really went all in with a new career, not just writing but founding Legal Green Marketing. It’s terrifying to pursue your dreams this aggressively, to declare to the world “I care about this” and know that there are going to be those who reject you, who put you down, who diminish your dreams and to be willing to do it anyway. I started pitching publications I wasn’t sure would ever accept me, and while there have certainly been rejections, there have also been some incredible acceptances. I need to keep this in mind as I’m growing Legal Green Marketing.
To ask for help. I used to think you had to do it all on your own. I don’t know why I thought that because it certainly isn’t the way my family operates, but I did. Last year I learned that I can ask for help and more often than not, my family and friends and even strangers are likely to give it. Which, of course, makes me want to go out and help others as well. It’s such a virtuous cycle.
Things sometimes don’t work out and that’s okay. In the last year, I’ve experienced work and personal relationships go sour, sometimes actually go badly and sometimes things just drifted off. I was involved in a start-up that isn’t going to make it, for various reasons. And I’m learning to accept those moments.
People think I’m an expert. This was a shocking revelation for me because: see above regarding intelligence. Everything I can do, I assume everyone else can too, but that’s simply not how it works. I think a lot of us have this level of self-doubt and I’ve been making a habit of pointing out to myself when I can do things that not everyone else can, whether it’s as simple as a fantastic puttanesca sauce or as complicated as a website SEO audit. I can do those things and not everyone else can so go me.
And that’s what I’ve learned. It was a year full of growth, much of it painful, and learning. I hope this upcoming year is as good.