There are some milestones in life where there is an expectation that we engage in a little self-reflection. Big moments like the birth of a child, or the death of a parent, and small moments that mark the passing of time like school graduations, the new year and birthdays.
Time spent reflecting is never wasted in my book. Usually when I reflect, I write. I write for my clients, for the “book-in-progress” that remains in-progress, and for this blog.
Since June 2017, for a variety of reasons, I have become increasing reluctant to push the publish button on my blog.
In honor of my birthday today I am giving myself permission to publicly reflect on my last trip (or two) around the sun.
13 Things I’ve Done (most with Mr. Man by my side):
- Sold a house
- Moved three times – in two years – to two different cities
- Downsized three times (So! Much! Stuff!)
- Sent a daughter off to college
- Changed jobs twice
- Lived apart from Mr. Man for extended stretches of time
- Put down one of our cats
- Gave away almost all of my house plants
- Buried my childhood friend
- Reconnected with some friends from the past
- Welcomed a new cat to our family
- Made some new pals
- Met a whole lot of people from other parts of the US
6 Things Learned while Reflecting on 13 Things I’ve Done:
- Needing people doesn’t make me needy, it makes me human. Wanting connection and community isn’t a flaw, or evidence of weakness, it’s part of who I am as an extrovert. Being upfront about asking for help & friendship falls into that “big learning” category, but without friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers I’m not sure I could have managed all the transitions. So an extra thanks to all the folks who loved, helped and/or put up with me over the last few years.
- I discovered I have a unique set of skills that makes me good at what I do. I’ve always downplayed any “uniqueness” because I thought – wrongly it turns out – that a) if I could do it anyone can, and b) people doing my kind of work are a dime a dozen so nothing makes me particularly special. Let’s file that under “wrong-headed things I believed for the last 10 years” and leave it at that.
- Humidity makes me crabby. I think I knew this in theory but living in a sub-tropical climate really brought it home.
- I get depressed if I have to work in an office without a window. This is now officially a deal breaker for any future work offer. After 7 months of 8 – 10 hour days with no window, part of that during the short winter months, I was flabbergasted at how quickly my mood improved with daily sunlight. Never again.
- While I still love phone calls, letters and cards, I discovered you can actually maintain long-distance friendships through text, messenger and SnapChat and still feel connected when you see each other in person.
- I can endure a lot of change and discomfort but it takes strenuous attention and determination to learn from it. A friend shared a meme recently that said “I just want some experiences that don’t make me stronger!” Yeah, I can get behind that.
So from a distance, looking back at my trips around the sun, I wouldn’t actually change much about the past two years because they got me here.
And I like here.
Here has my favorite things because when you winnow and winnow and downsize and donate you end up with just your favorite things.
Here has Mr. Man and being in the same city and time zone as your partner is a big perk.
Here has a great deal of potential for me to do even more of the work that I love and that is double plus good.
And finally, here is the place where I will commit to writing and sharing my thoughts during this next trip around the sun because I remembered that it helps me think and it makes me happy.
Many happy returns of the day to me!