Today, October 23rd…I turned 30. There were no fireworks, no big bang, no gray hairs (Thank you God) no bells and whistles…just peace and thankfulness and admittedly a tinge of regret for some of the craziness I got myself into in my 20’s but most of all, I’m just happy to see another beautiful sunset, although, I was happy to see one yesterday AND the day before…etc.
These past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about turning 30 and what I want in my life, who I want to be, and what is important to me. Many of these things form, grow and transform as we age and grow wiser, but there are also choices and pathways to be made, and carved, along the way.
I’ve been thinking about how deeply thankful I am for the things that are in my life, that I find places of peace and rest, and that I'm finally on my way to knowing myself well and deeply, finally I actually love who and where I am.
I’ve also thought a lot about the person I want to be moving forward. I always want to be made new, sloughing off those things which are selfish, discordant, unproductive, and negative in nature etc, and developing character that brings peace and good to myself and loved ones.
I want to think deeply about what things will be important to me, which things won’t, which things I do and don’t want to identify myself with, who I want to be as a friend, daughter, human, and partner, what qualities are vitally important in my relationships. What I want to spend my work time and spare time doing, what I want to create, etc etc etc.
I don’t want to be a person bound by what others think of me, or by insecurity, or by fear of risk. I want to be a person known for their kindness, gentleness, sincerity, and love. I want to be a lover of those things which are substantial and good. I want to remember that anger is poisonous. I want my patience to know no end (I am not there, not even close at the moment). I don’t want to be afraid to develop deep relationships.
I want to know a small group of people well, and be known fully be them. The thought of letting someone in fully has always been terrifying to me and it still is but at least now I'm opening my mind and heart to the possibility. I want to always love the small things, the things that others miss. I want to always find rest in nature, and always remember the glory of God in nature, and in people. I want to do whatever I do to the best of my ability- whether it’s work, or friendships, or motherhood, or life. I want to learn how to foster an even better relationship with my mom. I want to travel. I want to write more. I want to get a real camera and take photos, capture my life in it's entirety without fear of not liking what I see.
I want to swim in the ocean, skydive, and climb a mountain. I want to be a beautiful and gracious partner, and be loved by someone who is fully and completely committed to me and finds it a joy to be so. I want to dance every day. Every day. I want to own my own house, with a huge library with wooden shelves filled with books from floor to ceiling. I want to be more flexible (both physically and with my schedule). I want to cultivate spontaneity (paradoxical though, it seems). I want to learn to love my hair, my skin, my weight, and my body no matter what, and know that those things don’t define me. I want to read more, and really engage with what I’m reading.
I want to give generously. I want to be slow to anger. I don’t want to interrupt. I want to always make a difference in my work. I want to have children and teach them about love, forgiveness, joy, appreciating the small things, and being compassionate to those in need. I want to truly understand what Jesus said about people, salvation, and redemption, and act accordingly. I want to care less about who may not think I’m cool. I want to make my family proud.
I want to be wise, be free, and be good (down to my core). I want to learn every day. I want to be ok with being wrong. I want to communicate better. I want to risk in love again. I want to sing out loud more. I want to always try new things. I want to laugh out loud more. Like, really loud. =) I want to pray in all things. I want to always be young at heart, with an old wise soul. I want to catch a fish in my hand, and then set it free. I don’t want to be bound by productivity but still live a productive life. I want to speak kindly at all times, especially when I'm angry. I want to learn how to be firm and still gentle. I want to publish my paper. I want to sit by a fire every evening in the fall with a blanket, a good book, and a warm drink. And I want to hug people really well, so that they'll know that I mean it.
Someone asked me if I could have done my 20’s over, what would I have done differently…my response…LOVE MYSELF COMPLETELY. That’s it. Loving me…I mean REEEEALLLY loving Crystal. Love my big lips, big head, and wide grin. Love my body when it was big, small, and everything in between. I would have embraced my quirks, my imperfections, and sometimes give in to my impulses. I would have been more selective about who I loved, and gave my heart and time to. I would have recognized that although I'm flawed I'm still a wonderful person worth loving. My 20's was a time of a lot of hurt, confusion, and self hate. I never thought that I was smart enough, fun enough, pretty enough, loveable enough. I would want to be anyone but me and because of that self hate I was a miserable girl. Although I fell into a rabbit hole of emotional misery I was very good at smiling and helping others with an air of confidence while I felt dead inside. What can I say; I was a good faker. =(
Not truly loving me, allowed me to attract negative beings who didn’t love themselves and who could therefore never truly love me. After all, hurt people…hurt people. I’m not just talking romantic relationships, I’m talking about friendships as well. Recognizing my own light didn’t come until recently and by then mistakes had been made and bad habits created. The key however is that I now know that I can overcome this. I now know that it’s NEVER too late to recognize my light, my love, my passion and live fully without fear. In this new chapter in my life I aim to find myself, embrace myself! Cherish myself! I truly beleive that loving yourself and changing the quality of your thoughts creates an environment of chnage that will influence just about every facet of your life. It’s a somewhat laborious journey, but it’s sooo worth it.
In a way though, all of those things have kept me humble, it has allowed me to speak with transparency, and to have compassion for those who have dealt with the same. With all of the bad, there has been plenty of good, I attained my undergraduate and graduate degrees and began working on my PhD. I have a great job and started an online business where I've sold merchandise to women all over the world. I’ve established wonderful friendships with people from all walks of life, I’ve been able to hone my craft and reconnect with my love for art and literature. I’m resilient, always have been and for that I’m truly grateful.
I’m in a good place…not that that things can’t be better. I’m ALWAYS striving for better but I’m good.
Today, just like birthday’s passed, I read birthday cards and messages of love and I smile while a tear rolls down my cheek. I realize that even with worldly accomplishments and material items there's still nothing better than the love returned by the ones you love, that feeling is the best gift ever. Here’s to another year of things that are good and true, one year wiser and with a fuller hopeful heart.
Here's to living, learning, growing, evolving, laughing & loving…