I’m a few weeks out from entering the last year of my twenties and it has got me reflecting on how I got to be where I am at. If you asked the 19-year-old version of myself where I would be at 29, her response would have included a husband, family, lots of friends, successful career. She would be surprised that her future self defines success a bit differently.
At 19, the world was at my feet and the possibilities were endless. What has changed is not my external world, but my internal world. A lot of things have affected how I see the world and my approach to different things and people. I can thank the difficult bosses for developing my work ethic and giving me opportunities to decide that where I was at was not necessarily where I wanted to stay. I am grateful for the college friends that taught me it was okay to get a C on a test if that meant having a good time the night before; you will not always remember what you learned in a class, but you will always remember “that time when…” Those ex-boyfriends that broke my heart into pieces because it allowed me to artfully put those pieces right back together in such a way that created a beautiful masterpiece that only the love of my life could appreciate. Most of all, I’m grateful for all of the friends and family who have supported me as I have navigated the last decade; whoever said "we’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone” did not know my friends and family!
With all of these experiences under my belt, I have learned that my success is not defined by external status; rather it is defined by my vulnerability, my ability to balance and juggle, my confidence and ambition, the quality of my friendships, my contribution to society, the respect and love of my best friend and partner. Most of all, at (almost) 29, success is defined as my capacity to grow and love.
For everyone this will look different, but of all of the lessons I have learned since the age of 19 the best one is that if you are going to expect anything then expect the unexpected and enjoy the ride.
Cheers to another decade!
Full disclosure: I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love Christmastime with a passion normally only achieved by deeply religious 46-year-old moms.
But. But. Every year, I have at least one major holiday-related breakdown. This is inevitable, but today I did something that will make it better.
Glad I have already had my “one”.