Today I turn 26. Actually, I turned 26 at some inhuman hour this morning! There is always something about birthdays that makes me think more about my life; what I've learned and experienced up to this point in my life and what I am still waiting to learn and experience. Here are 26 of the things I have observed, felt, and experienced this last year (in no particular order, of course...order requires logic and a certain coherence of thought; neither of which I have this morning).
1. I'm slowly turning into my mother. For most women, this is a bad thing. I just couldn't be happier. I have always said that if I turn out to be half the woman she is, I will consider my life a success. I'm slowly getting there. Even though I know my mother is mortal like the rest of us, she never fails to appear super-human to the naked eye. She is just amazing.
2. Speaking of my mother, I laugh the hardest when I'm near her. We laugh until our sides hurt about completely ridiculous things. I wish everyone had that kind of relationship with a parent. Everyone needs that unconditional love a support.
3. Some insecurities are deep-seeded and may never completely go away. No matter how loved and cherished I am, there are still some things that will probably take a miracle, act of God, and lifetime to overcome. The patience those that love me have with my insecurities only makes me love them more.
4. As I get older, my circle of friends changes. Some people disappear so quietly and so completely that I almost forget they were ever really there. Other friendships grow so intimate and unique that it is hard to go a day without at least saying hello.
5. Dreams require work. I guess I always knew that, but as I think about my life goals--to be a writer, to act more, to own my own business--I am realizing that they require a dedication that surpasses what we think we are capable of.
6. I will battle my weight all my life. I was talking to a friend Sunday about what Weight Watchers said was our 'ideal' weights. He made me feel so much better by saying that he thought what they thought I needed to weigh was insane. Not that I don't need to lose weight; but I am going to try more and more this year to refuse to be defined by my poor body-image. I will do what I can to lose weight, but no more daily scale checks!
7. There is no substitute for a good book--except a good conversation.
8. Maybe laughter really is the best medicine. I love to laugh, and I always feel better after I do so. I have laughed more in the last year than I think I ever have in my life. Through hard times and happy times, I have laughed until I couldn't breathe.
9. Horizontal stripes are not flattering when you are 'well-blessed.' Okay, I've known this since I started wearing a bra, but honestly! I was at Kohl's last night and all the clothes are these tacky stripes that seem to run above and below my chest, seeming to scream out...LOOK AT ME!!! LOOK AT ME!! No thanks.
10. One good snow is plenty for an entire winter.
11. I still get lost in his gaze; still find myself feeling completely at home in his arms; still feel like this may be the greatest gift God has ever given me.
12. Patience is a virtue God tries to teach me every day. One of these days I'll slow down and listen!
13. Some words make me laugh simply because of the person who says them. Case in point. Rene and LLAMAS!
14. It was a good year for movies. I was touched by "Finding Neverland," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and "Garden State." I enjoyed the fun and fantasy of "National Treasure," "Mean Girls," and "The Incredibles." I laughed a lot and cried a lot through a lot of movies.
15. My fish make me smile every single day. There are now four of them: Billy, Creamsicle, Gorbie, and Gandalf. They are hilarious, hungry, and the perfect pet!
16. Taking my first vacation without my family was both strange and liberating. I miss family vacations, but had a great time at the Cape and in New York.
17. Cameron is growing up. He turned 14 today. He's taller than me, and funnier than ever. I still think he's one of the coolest kids I know, even if he is obsessed with "Napoleon Dynamite."
18. I am not any closer to Holly, Joey, or Zeke than I was a year ago. That makes me sad. They're family and I love them.
19. I always miss my dad on my birthday.
20. God is always as present in my life as I let him be. This year, I'm going to work on making Him a little more present and myself a little less.
21. I am completely convinced that the best things in my life are yet to come.
22. Sometimes I just need to cry. I'm a girl. I'm allowed. It's in the rule book somewhere, I'm sure.
23. The Care Bears are still the coolest thing ever. I relive my childhood every day with them!
24. Maybe everything I need to know I really did learn in kindergarten!
25. New music is always a good idea. You never know what will speak to you and touch you and make you want to get up and dance.
26. Life is all about living. The days and years fly by and there is too much beauty, too much experience, and too much...everything...to waste even a single moment.