So today is my Birthday! Birthdays have never been a particularly big deal in my family. In fact, unless it's a 'big year' quite frankly we're terrible at them...forgotten cards, late presents, limited celebrations. It was therefore surprising to me that as this year's marker approached, rather than indifference to it, I felt actively dismissive of it - all tinged with a strong note of sadness. What on earth?!
I had to wonder, why?
Of course I miss my family, but no less on this day than any other. A large family celebration isn't the norm anyway, so there's no loss of tradition to mourn. Graham is actually at home this year and friends are around, so what on earth has been making me so repellent to the day? Then I realised, this year is my 28th birthday. Before the older and wiser of you tut about my ungracious youthfulness, I should clarify that the age wasn't the issue, it was the significance of the number.
When I first graduated from college, I set myself goals and targets, some small, some big, some work related, some personal. 28 was the magic number.
"By my 28th birthday I will have..."
That was the phrase I used to set my markers and inspire focus, clarity, excitement and determination. I set achievable goals within achievable time frames... how clear it all seemed!
Today I turned 28 and I realise that what has been paining me is the sharp reality that I've failed. The dream in question?
"By my 28th birthday I will have opened and will be running my own successful chiropractic practice."
And yet I find myself, 28 years old, not only without a practice of my own but not even practicing AT ALL. As I write this I feel that frog in my throat, tight lump in my chest and I type through glassy eyes.
Then I realise this is one of those moments where I have a choice. I could tumble down that slippery slope of self-depreciation, disappointment and narrow-sighted nastiness that will only lead to sadness, continued feelings of failure and ultimately a loss of self-worth...
Or I can open my eyes wide to see all the wonderful things that I have accomplished. I could hold onto those dated goals and dreams of a person that once was, or recognise that the journey of the last 7 years has morphed my dreams into something quite different! How silly of me it would be to demean 7 years of wonderful, fulfilling experiences to a 'failure' because of a goal that was set when I naively thought I knew exactly what I wanted in my life.
Just taking a moment to recognise that where I am today is the result of choices that I've made organically as I've grown as a person, and that heaviness starts to lift. You see, I COULD have set up a practice - and by goodness it would have been an awesome one, but that would have meant that I wouldn't have been able to move around the world with my wonderful husband, spend the most awesome winter practicing with my best friend in the French Alps (a company we set up nonetheless) or travelled across 22 states of America in 9 months! I would not be where I am now. I would not be travelling down this exciting and wonderful path I am on which just feels so right in my heart.
I am not the same person I was 7 years ago. I do not want the same things I once did. So why get upset? I realise today more than ever that chasing dreams is evolutionary, not rigid - my dreams, my lobsters, are just as much alive and mobile as the real deal. So instead today, I am going to celebrate. I am going to celebrate the journey that has been and toast to the journey that is yet to come. Life does not always go to plan, but it's how we react to the changes that determines who we are and what we get from it. Who knows what's next and where it will take me, but I sure am excited!
Happy Birthday to me and cheers to the next 28 years of chasing some lobsters and 'living what I love'! :)