Every year since I began my coaching practice, I have written a blog post outlining the lessons I’ve learned since my last birthday. This year I turned 52 and I have to say this was a birthday like no other. Because I can promise you that I had surely not planned to spend my birthday under Stay at Home Orders. Yet, despite this, my birthday was good. And it sure gave me an opportunity to uncover new insights into what is necessary for me to love my daily life. And reaffirm things I just know in my bones to be true.
When 2020 began, we had some big plans for the year – especially this spring. We were due to be in Europe in early May for JB’s work. And then, I had planned to spend my actual birthday with my friends Mickey and Minnie (and a couple of girlfriends). Not only did I have all my hotel arrangements for both trips done, I even had all my brunch and dinner reservations my birthday. Hey, you make dining reservations 180 days in advance in the Disney bubble.
Though it would have been easy to skip this birthday post this year, I decided it was still a must do. That’s because it’s important to catalog the insights and lessons we learn along the journey in life. And, for me, it’s an opportunity to be a little vulnerable with you by sharing what’s happening behind the scenes. Both the challenges and the victories.
Without further ado, here’s five insights I’ve gained thanks to celebrating my birthday under quarantine.
One – You are Permitted to Feel All Your Emotions
Since most of us want to feel some shade of happiness on a regular basis, it’s easy to dismiss the more negative emotions as helpful. And it’s also way too easy to believe that a bad moment can lead you down the rabbit hold of days of crappy feelings. Yet, one of the biggest insights I’ve relearned time and again is that you have to feel ALL your emotions. Yes, especially the icky ones you don’t want to experience.
Cancelling all those plans made me feel frustrated, disappointed, and anxious. But the thing is, by allowing myself to experience those emotions, I was able to swing back to the more positive emotions I wanted to feel. Trying to ignore particular emotions causes them to linger. So, take this little insight from me: go ahead and feel what you feel. Then you can move on.
That said, I also know that I can choose to feel better emotions when I’m ready. We need the swing of positive and negative emotions to love life.
Two – Insights into Desiring More and Less
I believe that no matter how good your life may be, it’s OK to desire more. Yet, one of the biggest insights I’ve gained of late is that it’s OK to also desire less. Everywhere you turn, you see the push to “go big or go home”. And the implication is that if you don’t want the world at your feet, then you are playing small.
One of the most important insights into what makes me happy is that sometimes less is actually the path to more. By giving myself permission to say no to more things, I am better able to say yes to my deeper desires.
Three – Kindness Will Never Go Out of Style
No matter what is happening in your world, one of my biggest insights is that I crave kindness, grace, and beauty. No matter what is happening in my world – and the outside world – I believe that pivoting towards kindness is a necessity to loving your life.
The first person who needs to be offered these things is yourself. When you are kind to yourself and extend yourself grace, then, darling, you are better able to offer it to others.
Four – Retirement Will Be Fine
I hear from a lot of women that when their partner retires, their world is turned upside down. And after working from home for the last nine years, mostly by myself, I have been worried about what it will be like when JB is home all the time. While I’ll admit the first couple of weeks were hard, it wasn’t long before we found our rhythm.
I think one of the keys for us was learning to do our own thing during the day. And then keep our “wine hour” tradition to talk about how we are and what happened each evening. Otherwise, it’s too easy to interrupt someone while they are working on a project.
Five – Pair Insights with Action
No matter your age, it’s time to accept yourself for who you are now. It doesn’t mean that you are settling for less than you deserve or agreeing to be less than you are. You are simply choosing to stop arguing with your current reality. Acceptance doesn’t mean letting yourself go. Rather, it’s an opportunity to look in the mirror and know the person staring back at you.
This insight into you are fabulous as you are right this moment invites you to discern what you really want.
If you want your life to be different from what it is, you must begin by deciding that you are ready for your reality to be different. And then, you need to commit to doing the work. Thinking about it doesn’t make it happen. That means you need to take action. Know that it may take sweat and tears.
Want to take a trip down my memory lane? Here’s where you can find my past birthday posts
- Kicking off my coaching practice on my 43rd Birthday (2011)
- on Turning 44 (2012)
- Celebrating a Milestone – Happy 45th (2013)
- Hello, 46th Birthday (2014)
- The Wisdom of 47 (2015)
- Happy 48th (2016)
- Saying Goodbye to my 40’s – Happy 49th (2017)
- Happy 50th ! (2018)
- A Video for 51 (2019)