Things I’m Learning, A Birthday Reflection

I wholeheartedly agree with these insightful words by Erin Loechner on birthdays:

“I’ve always loved birthdays for the perspective they provide. Like New Year’s Day, birthdays are a chance to celebrate the passage of time, the wisdom gained. But with birthdays, there are no resolutions to shame and guilt ourselves into changing the pesky details of our lives that make us into perfectly imperfect human beings. Instead, they’re mile markers we pause and wave to as we pass by, leaving past years and mistakes in the rearview mirror.”

Goodbye and Hello

And so, goodbye 36. It had been a year of mistakes, distractions and being tossed by the wind. On the other hand, it was also a year of editing (my closet especially), of becoming aware of my vulnerabilities, of coming back to the heart of my purpose.

Hello, 37. I don’t cringe on your arrival a tiny bit. I welcome you with arms raised high, and a heart filled to the brim with clarity and intentionality. I’m inspired to take on new habits to replace the old ones for a better version of myself. I’m encouraged to chase dreams I sometimes can’t believe I have. After all, you know, 37 might seem too old to dream for some.

Things I’m Learning

Inspired by Erin’s reflection on birthday, I do want to craft my own version of the good and the true I want to remind myself, of the words I want to encourage myself to live by.

Lai, here are the things you are learning:

  1. Your purpose in life is to follow Jesus and to make Him known. Write this yearly in your journal; write it above all your other goals.
  2. Make time for the essentials. Social media and the internet are not. This blog is not. But reading your bible on a daily and making actual human connections are. Make time for the inconveniences—for collecting your friends’ kids at school, for offering help to your colleague next chair, for making small, awkward but actual talks with the other moms in the playground, for inviting people in and stretching out your non-existent culinary skill.
  3. Waking up earlier than the rest of your household is a game changer. Keep at it. Keep waking up earlier one day at a time until it becomes a habit.
  4. Save yourself from the habit of mindless scrolling and getting swept away by the rabbit hole we call the internet. Read a book. Go for a walk. Call your family and friends and pick up from where you left off. Disconnect on most days; connect on some.
  5. Embrace these parts of who you are in your current season of life—an encourager and influencer. These words were uttered to you in prayer by the women who saw through you and cared enough to let you cry tears of frustrations and longings. Believe that you are, and don’t take for granted that you are.
  6. Marriage gets better in direct proportion to your communication skill. Hone this skill not only to make it work but to make it worthwhile.
  7. Motherhood is a gift, a dream come true, your most noble calling. Make it fun remembering that this is your childhood too—your second one. Go outdoors as much as you can. When it comes to quotients, it’s emotional over intellectual that matters.
  8. Edit still and edit some more until all that’s left are the essentials, the beautiful, and the meaningful. These are the only categories of things that should occupy your home, your closet, your life.
  9. Single-tasking is road worth pursuing albeit opposite to what the world is promoting. You get more things done when you focus on one task.
  10. The best beauty products you can help your skin to fight against aging are these: good sleep, good food, a good laugh. And wrinkles? Here’s how Erin puts it: “The wrinkles on your forehead will only deepen from here. Be grateful for what they symbolized—times of learning and growth and wisdom and perspective.”

So onward to more wrinkles and wisdom, mistakes and lessons, thorns and roses. It is going to be a wonderful year.

Happy birthday to me.

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