As most of you know, Friday was my birthday. The big 4-1. As I went about my day, I thought back to birthdays prior and how each decade has been so different for me and about how far I’ve come.
Last year at this time I wrote this post that had some “resolutions,” if you will, that I wanted to accomplish. I think I have and then some. Over the last year, I quit my job, started this whole freelance thing and started a secondary business as a Simply Said Designer. I certainly am doing things I want to do instead of things that others are telling me to do, and that makes me happier (one of my goals BTW).
Here’s a few things that have occurred lately that I found kind of interesting and, sometimes, a bit funny.
1) I received a birthday card from my prior employer. It was the first birthday card I’ve ever received from them. You see – when I worked there I was the one who sent out the cards to our customers. I did this weekly for the birthdays that were coming up. When my co-worker’s birthdays rolled around, I didn’t send them the business birthday card, instead, I bought, and had the other employees sign, a card and gave it to them personally. No one, however, ever did that for me. My birthday went unnoticed for almost three years by these people I worked with on a daily basis. Not one of them ever bothered to wonder “When is her birthday?” in all that time. I also found it funny when I worked there that my boss always remembered the other employee’s birthday and would often remind me to get a card. But not for me. Now that I am just a customer (a thing I plan to change very soon) I get a card now because the new girl doesn’t know me from anything other than a customer. And the others still don’t know when my birthday is because they just sign the cards in bulk that she puts in front of them. I found it immensely hysterical.
2) I got a massage on my birthday. In the past, I’ve been too high strung and anxiety-ridden to get a massage. Friends would often say “It’s so wonderful!” and I would go have one, only to spend the entire time thinking about this strange person who was touching my mostly naked body. I left most appointments more tense than when I arrived. Not so anymore. Here’s why: a) I finally decided that this is their job and b) I’m sure they’ve seen worse bodies than mine. It actually felt relaxing this year and I enjoyed it. It may have to be an annual thing.
3) I ran into my former co-worker at my birthday dinner. I admit – I was freaked out. I hadn’t seen him since I had quit and I didn’t give much of an explanation when I left. I didn’t want to converse at all with this individual or offer an explanation now. He wasn’t worth it, never would understand and I didn’t need his approval. I didn’t want to pretend. After all, he didn’t really give two craps about me or my life when I worked with him so why do the whole Hey! How are you?! thing now? I refused. So I made sure I had my back turned to most of the restaurant and John kept me apprised of where they were seated (two booths behind us). John graciously nodded a hello, and my former co-worker graciously did not approach us.
Some may say, “Oh, you should have just said hello! and made the best of it.” I did make the best of it. I enjoyed every second of my dinner with my loving, caring, always-there-for-me husband. I chose my own happiness and I did not let the past bring me down. I moved on. Plus one thing about me: I do what people want me to do for 364 days of the year. I do what I want on my birthday. One day of the year – I truly choose me.
4) About 11 years ago my life was a completely different story. I had been dumped by my fiance, was living with my parents and felt hopeless. Turning 30 was one of the worst moments of my life. I felt useless, unloved and like a failure. I was certain I would never be married, would never have my own home and would never be happy. That year, I never envisioned that I would be living the life I am now. I’m happy…content even. I have a job I enjoy and that challenges me in a good way. I have a husband I adore and who treats me like a Queen. I have excellent friends (And guess what? Hardly any of the friends I have now were my friends 11 years ago. In fact, those friends are gone.) (Except for you Pat!)
But most of all – I’ve found that inner happiness. That inner strength and joy. As Paul said in Philippians 4, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” I never thought I would find that contentment that Paul talks about. I thought it was a fallacy. But here it is.
In the end, I think I’m achieving what I’ve set out to do. I’ve chosen to find my own happiness and not just help others be happy (sometimes, with my happiness, others are also happier – just ask my husband). I’ve chosen my work and how I do it (and I’m improving and excelling day by day.)
The best part is that I’ve let God help me with my peace and calm. Today, we’re having washer troubles again. I’m letting John handle most of it, but I’m trying to be supportive and on-hand if he needs me. And I’m not letting it get to me. We’ve fixed it before, we’ll fix it again. It’ll work out in the end. Yes, it’s frustrating. Yes, I sometimes wonder WTH? But…I refuse to let anything take my joy anymore.
It’s a brand new day. And a brand new year. I think 41 might be an even better year than 40 was.