I am writing this on the evening of my 52nd birthday; sitting on the dark porch of a rustic mountain cabin listening to the beautiful sound of a rushing creek literally feet away. This is a perfect spot to celebrate the victory of another year well lived and the promise of a new one dawning. As I have driven around these mountains this weekend with all their twists and turns and passed trees of magnificent color my heart is full. I am richly blessed and abundantly thankful. And as I pause here on this secluded spot hidden from my noisy and sometimes complicated world, I want to talk a minute about acceptance.
When I look up acceptance in the thesaurus, the three words that speak to me the most are: Approval, Recognition and Permission. All three of these combined embody the sentiment that I am fully aware and give myself the permission and green light to own these personal discoveries. That is actually quite a liberating accomplishment.
Very few days go by where I am not the recipient of an email that states I have been approved or accepted for some amazing offer. An offer that most likely is a scam or the very least sketchy and unreliable. Most too-good-to-be-true deals are exactly that and have a catch. I rarely ‘accept’ those rainbow and unicorn promises. But as I face the first day of my 53rd year, I have determined there are a few things that I will now accept.
I accept that everything in my life did not turn out the way I wanted. I am not alone in this, I understand. I do however intend to be one of the few who do not constantly bemoan the fact. Short changes happen. Skip overs exist. I did not get hired, chosen or loved on more than one occasion. I grew up in the generation where everyone did not get a trophy for just showing up. I have gone home empty handed. Yet I survived and became stronger. Sometimes it is as simple as a bad decision. Whether rebellion or dream following, a desired path can sometimes dead end. Lead to nothing. Or worse than nothing; heartache, debt or loss. It is difficult to admit sometimes that we need a do-over. Fortunately in life we are allowed U-Turns. There is always a new road waiting to be traveled and explored. I can accept that too!
I accept that I am not a Size 8 anymore. (Ok, maybe I haven’t quite accepted this, but I’m close.) I have three closets full of clothes. A closet for clothes a size too big; a closet for clothes a size too small, and the closet I used today; just right. (I suppose being in the mountains made me channel The Three Bears.) But it’s true. I don’t want to give up the size too small, because maybe…just maybe. And well, let’s face I did eat a lot of junk food this weekend. The closet across the hall might become useful. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to just lose those pesky ten pounds. Or twenty. But even if only for today, I accept that I am just right!
I accept that I am an introvert. This is a recent personal acknowledgment. I belong to a wonderful and vibrant social group. Over the years I have attended countless events and functions. And while I love them all and have met the greatest of friends, there are times when I feel alone in the crowd. That my emotional energy was checked at the door with my coat. From time to time I worried that I was defective. That it was abnormal. That I was a misfit. I have come to understand, and yes, even accept that in fact I am just an introvert. And to correct a fallacy, that is not even close to a mental illness. It just means that I step a little further inside of myself when I am out in the world. My life’s circle may be a bit smaller than others, but no less dynamic. Being alone for me can sometimes be a blessing and not a curse. And when I choose to engage in a conversation with somone it is because I am genuinely interested and believe I have something of value to contribute. However if I choose to just listen, it is because I am genuinely interested and believe I have something to learn. I may not always love the fact that I cannot be the life of the party or sparkle in the room, but I can accept that I am uniquely qualified to be me. And that is enough.
Finally, I accept that everyone will not like me. This is probably the hardest one. Because I’m such a dang likeable gal. What’s wrong with them? Seriously, I’m a hard core people pleaser and it has been challenging to come to terms with this. But I have. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I do not always fit nicely into a pre-determined box. My views and ideals are colorful, diverse and at times even rebellious. I tend to speak my mind more now and worry about it less. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still extremely mild mannered by most standards. But I’m ok with being different. And I’m definitely ok with those that don’t like my unique kind of different. Their approval is not required to make my life rich and wonderful.
So as I finish up to head inside to fall asleep to the sound of the creek outside my window, I want to thank all of you in my life. Those that have helped me conquer a fear or realize a dream. Those that offered their shoulder to lean one when my life took a wrong turn. Or shared a decadent dessert with me. Or talked to me at a party when I sat alone on the couch. Everyone that helped me learn to accept this wonderful life that I have and aided in my beautiful journey. It is because of all of you that I celebrate this birthday with peace and joy and of course…. HOPE!