Shortly after we moved to LA, I was browsing A Practical Wedding (okay, yes, I’ve been married almost five years and am almost a year out from our renewal and I still read every day, it has amazing articles on life and I love weddings) when I came across a small wedding up on Temescal Ridge overlooking both LA and the Pacific Ocean. I immediately put it at the top of our lists to visit when hiking. The only snag? They don’t allow dogs on the trail at all and the majority of our hiking is with B’s parents and both dogs. We decided to wait on that hike. When my parents briefly entertained the idea of coming to LA for my birthday, my Mom mentioned joining us on this hike since she knew I wanted to do it. While they ultimately ended up not coming, I decided that I wanted to do this for me. We left the car, thinking we had a several mile hike to get to the view and were thus shocked to find it right at the start of the path. We agreed to at least see the top of the next hill before making a decision on what to do. But, every hill led to another further on down the path, and thus we enjoyed the hike as each crest led to a more stunning vista.
This last year has proven interesting to me. I’ve made great strides in accepting who I am and taken steps in embracing that self. I’ve tried new career paths, come back to my true calling in teaching, accepted that I love big sparkly jewelry, and even had breast augmentation surgery because I wanted it. In the end, I’ve been more true to myself this last year than ever before. I’ve faced hard truths about myself. I’ve struggled to change my bad habits. I’ve fallen in love with who I am. Every time I think I have a handle on it, I top the hill and realize the path continues on. I suppose that is what life is, learning about yourself, being yourself, and figuring out how to truly live and realizing that it is a life-long journey.
Turning thirty has had its ups and downs. I’m not immune to the fear of growing older. I’m susceptible to the struggle with making a difference and living life and what am I doing with my life anyway? But. My return to teaching has meant a return to being true to myself. After well over a year away from it, I know it was the right call. I’m able to be true to myself because I’ve tested other paths. I know that trying new things and returning to the old isn’t about making mistakes and turning around in defeat. It’s about confirming my happiness and my sense of self. I’ve learned that life is meant to be lived and that by doing so, we all do what we’re supposed to do in this life. Live, laugh, love.
I know I don’t have all the answers. Possibly, for the first time in my life, I’m okay with this. I have the answers I need right now. I love. I am loved. That is enough for today. Tomorrow will come regardless of if I worry about it or not. Today, I’m choosing not to worry. What I want is to live.
Thus, my birthday gift to myself this year is to continue being fully myself. I’m accepting my flaws while still working to improve on them. I’m embracing my quirks. I’m celebrating what makes me tick. I’m living because, in the end that is what matters.