Today I turn 35. And it is safe to say it is far from what I thought turning 35 might look like.
I never could have imagined that as I turned 35, the world would be in the midst of a global pandemic – the first of its kind for my generation – or that I would be turning 35 during such a time of turbulence, turmoil and uncertainty.
This year, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months I knew that I would be spending my birthday this June largely at home. Dreams of ringing in my birthday in Paris again this year diminished by April. I began to fear being alone on this day. Visions of tears streaming down and uncontrollable heaving on my apartment floor began to fill my mind.
But as June 15 approached more quickly, I began to ask for perspective. I asked God to help me see what my birthday was really about this year. And what I have come to realize is that it is about recognizing all this time alone has undoubtedly made me a stronger, better person.
As death has surrounded us, as New York City has come to a standstill and as racial injustices have permeated our headlines and our moments – both eyes open and eyes shut – the past few months have been an awakening in strengthening my vision for a life well lived.
For the last several years I have wanted my life to be about fulfillment. It’s what guides me the moment I get out of bed. It is why I quit my job to be self employed, why I have worked to build businesses that would support my dreams, it is why I continue to try and use my platform for good and it is why I continue to prioritize my family and friends first and foremost.
But recent events and our current climate have put into focus so much of what I know to be important and reminded me of so much of what I know that needs to change. The many months I’ve now spent alone in a studio apartment in a city I love and yet miss dearly has shown me my resilience and my strength. It has cracked me open, worn me down, exhausted me, tested me and matured me.
So now, as I write this post I have unforeseen tears streaming down my face for reasons I wasn’t anticipating. These tears are about recognizing my many blessings. About recognizing that I’ve been gifted another year on this earth. That I’ve been granted the opportunity to continue to put family, friends and kindness first. All day today I vow to remind myself of these blessings and these opportunities.
In year 35 I am committed to continuing to put those things I hold most dear first, to continuing to use wit & whimsy for good whenever possible, to saying “yes” more and letting fear hold me back less. In year 35 I am committed to getting more in tune with my belief systems and working on my relationship with God so that I have renewed faith in His plan. In year 35 I am committed to remembering to recognize what truly matters in life and I am committed to making life truly, truly count. In year 35 I am committed to listening more, growing more as a person, asking tough questions and being less quick to react. And in year 35 I remain committed to living a life of gratitude.
What I am sure of today is that I have been afforded a beautiful, blessed life. And what I am sure of today is, moving forward, I want to continue to be aware of this daily.