I'm doing this birthday thing again.
I'm starting this first day of 29 with some reflection. I'm feeling joyful, but a little sorrow. I'm feeling grateful, but a little want. I'm optimistic but uncertain. At peace. A little anxious. I can't believe how far I have come. But I do find that I'm more proud of myself for — not the things I've done — the things I've overcome. I've been fighting weird mental illness. I've been grieving. I've just blatantly been really bad at some things. And here I am despite. I think it's okay to be a little proud on your birthday.
And before I start, I have to say, I always get a little bit of a hangover from these blogs. I really don't like talking about myself. And I don't know if it's vulnerability or my insatiable, irrational desire to be liked by everyone always. I used to always share the things I've learned that year, (see: 24, 23, etc.) but honestly, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I've learned a lot this year.
So instead, I've decided to write 29 aims for me to live by. You guys, keep doing your thing. You're wonderful at it. Here's what I'm working on:
- Pursue things. Creative things. Challenging things. Surprising things.
- Feel. Freaking let yourself feel what is happening around you. Don't let the world tell you to not do this. You're an emotional motion and if you want to bawl at mayonnaise commercials or really happy cry while shouting at strangers running a marathon, feel every second.
- If you're proud of something, be proud. See #2.
- Know that there are some people who think it's their job to correct your grammar and you should just let them do that because it makes them happy.
- But also don't listen to them and write however the hell you want to write. Grammar is meant to be intentionally, purposefully, beautifully broken.
- Recognize the people in your life who make the time for you, and more importantly, make time for them.
- Recognize the people in your life who spend a lot of time saying a lot of "we should"s but who never follow through. Avoid them. They're the worst.
- Work your ass off to understand others and what you can do to respect their differences.
- Apologize when you've messed up.
- Say "I don't know" when you don't know.
- Don't be okay with people who can't be bothered to understand differences, tolerance, and...
- Don't be okay with people who think their rights to discriminate are as valuable as others' rights to not be discriminated against.
- Maybe more importantly: show grace. Show grace to those who are trying their best to love others, and may be confused, misguided or unintentionally hurtful. Be thankful for those who are trying. Again: grace.
- Fight for — be an ally for — things that matter even though they may not affect you. They actually do affect you. Being bitter or hurtful or ignorant does affect you.
- Love your husband. He's an absolute miracle of a human being.
- Let him get a kitten.
- Fall in love with the kitten.
- Forget about your grades, the score, your finishing time.
- Take the classes you want to take. Go to the places you want to go.
- Be the person you wish you'd had when you were in their shoes.
- Never be the smartest person in the room. Surround yourself with giants. Brilliant, creative, driven, giants.
- And make sure you tell them often and with vehemence how GD brilliant you think they are.
- Get nostalgic. Talk about old feelings, and great times. Talk about painful times. Talk about how incredible of a human your grandmother was. Find joy in this. Find rest in this. Remember grief and where you've come from. Let it all drive you.
- Wear paint clothes. Stop wearing nice clothes thinking oh it's just a quick project. You will spill. Put on one of your 12 ruined shirts and avoid making another one.
- Listen to the fire in your belly. It exists for a reason.
- Listen to that emptiness in your belly. You are hungry. Go to the kitchen and feed it when you're hungry it's not that hard, Erin.
- You have so much more to learn.
- You have so much more love to give and grow.