I suppose it is natural that as my 30th birthday, and consequently a new decade of my life, quickly and inevitably approaches I become somewhat pensive about where I have been and where I am going.
One thing is certain – if you had asked me a year ago what my life would be like at this moment, my answer would have in no way reflected my current reality. And the thing that I could never have imagined is that I would be okay with that. I am a planner who has historically resisted change with every fiber of my being. I had a plan and it was perfect and nothing else was acceptable and that was that.
And yet, here I am having been forced to painfully confront my “perfect” plan falling to pieces around me. What is amazing to me is that I have come to accept that and, even more incredibly, to feel excitement and anticipation about a future outside of that plan. I have learned to more often live in the moment with a willingness to embrace the ultimate uncertainty of the future without anxiety (well, at least not my former level of anxiety). The cost of that lesson has been undoubtedly high, but I believe I will live my life better because of it.
As I pondered all of this, I was reminded of a recent hike at Cedar Ridge Preserve, which I first visited during the winter. This time, signs of spring were everywhere in evidence, especially the iconic Texas bluebonnets.
The change from one season to the next is not a change that is often resisted. For the most part, people eagerly anticipate the alterations that come as winter changes to spring or spring changes to summer. On this particular day, I reveled in the warmth of an early spring day, appreciating the beauty and color that were all around me. Sure, I could have focused on the bugs or worried about how hot it was going to be in a few weeks. But instead I chose to appreciate the beauty knowing that every wonderful, worthwhile thing has an inextricable element of discomfort or even pain.
Just like my birthday and just like spring, change is inevitable. Each season in life brings an unpredictable combination of pain and blessings. I can choose to embrace change with an attitude of wonder and expectation, with an awareness of the blessings, or I can be miserable as I ineffectively resist and focus on what has been lost. As I begin a new decade and a new phase of my life, I want to let go of my plans while I work toward my goals. I want to embrace change while also holding on to the people I love. I want to see the adventure and opportunity of this time in my life, not the loss and the fear. Someone whom I love dearly recently told me to “see the gift that life has given you in spite of the sorrows.” So that is what I am going to do – find the joy and the blessings and make the most of every day, even the difficult ones. I do not know what this next year will bring, but I am looking forward to finding out.