Today, I begin another year of my life. I would say that I turn another year older, but especially in this day and age, I’m still young. Actors Ryan Gosling and Macaulay Culkin were born the same year that I was. Actor and performer Bobby Steggert is less than a year younger than me. (Our parents are friends, so we met when we were babies, and I met him as an adult this past weekend.) Therefore, if you want to find out how young I am, you are more than welcome to do internet research, find out what year we were born, and do the math accordingly. I suppose I’m at that point in my life where I know I still have plenty of time to do most things, yet a part of me thinks I should have accomplished X, Y, and Z by now. That being said, I also know that it isn’t always that black and white. Somehow, I thought I would have a Ph.D. and be married to a professor in New England by the time I was 30, but now, I realize that it wasn’t fair to expect that of myself. Life throws us unexpected curve balls sometimes, and if we’re willing to put in the time and effort, we can usually get what we hoped and dreamed for….just not necessarily within the time frame that we thought. Some things come sooner, and some things come later. It’s just the way life is.
Therefore, I’ve decided to focus instead on what I’ve learned, and had to re-learn, in the past year and what I still hope to learn in this next year of my life. I’ve learned that it’s important for me to pursue my passions, writing and helping others, even if they’re not going to necessarily make me rich. They nourish my soul, and that’s what is best in the long run. Yes, I’ve had the occasional fantasy of talking to Oprah about my bestselling book, but deep down, I know that my writing might not make me rich. But, between writing and teaching the craft that I so dearly love, I will make enough to pay my bills. I’ve learned that there are too many positives in my life for me to dwell on the negative. Yes, the prince who was on his way through the forest might be lost or might just be taking his sweet damn time, but honestly, I don’t need rescuing anyway. Both of my parents were raised by single mothers because their fathers tragically passed away at a young age, so I was taught to be very independent, especially since I’m the older sibling. That’s a trait of my personality that I’m proud of and that I don’t intend to change, regardless of what the future holds for me.
I’ve learned that we’re all human and that we all make mistakes, but it’s important to love each other anyway, or at least respect each other and treat all people with dignity. I can’t control other people’s actions or feelings, but I can control my responses, so I need to focus on that part and how my responses reflect my character. I’ve re-learned that we can’t go back in a time machine and fix the mistakes in the past, but we can learn from them and move forward. I’ve re-learned that some good things must end so that better things can come along, and to be open to new experiences, even if they’re not what I thought. I’ve learned that love of all kinds, whether it be friendship, family, or romantic, can hurt when someone doesn’t want to love you back, but regardless, it’s always worth a try. If nothing else, the heart becomes stronger by reaching out to others. I’ve learned that I need to continue to pray, whether or not I’m in a church building, and to take long walks outside so I can clear my ever-churning head.
What I still want to learn is what makes me tick and how I can be the best version of myself. It’ll take effort, but I know I can do it. I hope that I can be a more fit version of myself, a braver version, a version more willing to take risks and be creative, and a version who continues to be a strong writer and a great friend. Hopefully, I will learn and re-learn even more in this next year of life.