Friday, June 3, 2011

Be the author of your life story.

Yesterday was my 35th birthday. It was probably the best birthday I've had...which is weird considering I didn't do anything. I watched some TV, talked to a few friends, got some flowers from my aunt, had pizza with Mom and Dad followed by some super ridiculous dessert. I don't think I even left the house. Perfect. I had an amazing couple days with my sister last weekend going to a movie, out to dinner, out to breakfast, to a Portland Timbers soccer game...still, nothing profoundly epic, right? So what is different? What is so great about this birthday?

My attitude.

Those of you that have been following me for quite some time know how the last few years have been for me. Unemployed Student was my defining title for a couple of them and last year that downgraded to just plain Unemployed once I graduated. I would spend most of my days looking on the internet for job opportunities, jumping through any necessary hoops to apply, tweaking my resume to suit each job. More often than not I made myself look like I was dropping design like a bad habit and professing my unwavering desire to answer someone's phones for the rest of my life. I teetered on the edge of depression and sometimes fell head first into it. I found joy in nothing (especially blogging). I didn't want to be around anyone. And if I was forced to be around anyone I found it physically exhausting pretending like everything was ok with me and that I was still attempting to find the bright side to every situation.

My lowest lows were usually right before I was about to run out of unemployment money and when I wasn't sure what extensions I had left. As soon as I would find out I had another few weeks of grace I would breathe a sigh of relief and start all over again. I still didn't want to hang out with friends, though. I didn't want to explain what I was and wasn't doing. I didn't have it in me to listen to the great things they were doing...inevitably feeling worse about myself if I did. I didn't feel like I was particularly interesting to be around, so I continued to stay to myself. It's better to drown alone then to take everyone down with you as you scratch and claw your way back out, right?

Eventually, I stopped worrying so much. Eventually, I remembered that everything just has a way of working out for me. It always has. I have been quite lucky that way. I might worry and stress at the time, but my life is one example after another of how everything that happens is proven to be for the best. That everything has a way of working itself out and I come out stronger in the end. So what if I lost my job in February of 2008? I had grown to hate that job and losing it was a weight lifted off my shoulders and a chance to throw myself into school. So what if all the resumes I sent out resulted in zero phone calls? I have spent the last year dipping my talented hands into so many pots that I can now say that I'm a Freelance Graphic Designer, that I'm a writer, that I'm an artist, that I'm self-employed, that I'm a creative dynamo living the dream. Eventually, I surrounded myself with love and gratitude for everything. I stopped letting everyone else's baggage become my own, stopped walking on eggshells, stopped internalizing, stopped letting everyone else shine brighter than myself. Eventually, my weight stopped defining me, stopped holding me back, stopped mattering so. damn. much.

I find joy in everything now. I wake up happy. I think of something I want to do and I do it, or at least put into action whatever necessary to achieve it. I have sent away for my passport, finally, and I'm going to go to Ireland next Spring. I've lost almost 15 pounds in the last couple months. I visualize what I want and it happens. I said I would win the lottery, I won $4.00 (I need to learn to be more specific). I've always wanted to go to sporting events more often and now Portland has an MLS (soccer) team I couldn't be more excited about. So, I got my sister and I tickets to a few games and got us on the waiting list for season tickets for next year. A couple weeks ago I wanted a new tattoo, I went and got it the next day. It's big and on my forearm. It's to remind me to do something every day to better my life. It's working.

All these years of talking about bettering my life, of not taking the backseat approach. All this time wasted waiting to lose weight before doing anything. I'll get my haircut when I lose 20 pounds. I'll buy new clothes when I lose 50 pounds. I'll start traveling when I lose 100 pounds. No more. Maybe I won't get on a plane until I've lost more weight, but no one says I can't drive down to San Francisco or up to Canada. I've lived a life written by everyone but me. A life dictated by fear. I am the author of my life story and I'm choosing to make it an adventure. What will you write?

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