So, today’s my birthday! (I know, it kind of snuck up on me too.)
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of pensive thinking about life — where I came from, what I’ve learned, where I’m headed — big heady subjects, right? And between it being my birthday, the impending end of yoga teacher training, changes at work, and just life in general, I’ve had a lot of food for thought!
As I set out to embark on another year (32 to be exact), I figured that I would go ahead and share a few of the things that I’ve mostly managed to figure out:
1.) There is so much that I don’t know. In fact, I think I know less now than I did when I was a teenager. Back then I definitely had all of the answers.
2.) I am fundamentally okay. Yes, I am imperfect and human, but I am also perfectly whole and okay just as I am. And for that matter, so are you.
3.) Repeat after me: we’re all doing the best we can. Everyone is imperfect and we all feel flawed (in fact, we are all flawed), so at least know that when you feel this way, you’re in good company.
4.) Find the thing that makes you excited to get off the couch. A close friend once tried to explain the concept of “flow” to me, but I didn’t get it until about a year later when I started doing yoga. If you can’t come up with an example of a meaningful activity that gets you excited to get off the couch, it’s time to get out there and do some research.
5.) Go to therapy. Just do it. Seriously, we all need it — especially those of us who try to claim that we don’t.
6.) Let it go. What’s done is done. Beating yourself up about something you can’t change never helps matters. Take a deep exhale and Let. It. Go.
7.) Meditate. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Pause and sit for 10 minutes. Or go for a walk. Or work in your garden. Just do something where you can cultivate a sense of mindfulness. For me, my meditation practice has practical value: I can manage to stand in line for the DMV for over an hour without losing my marbles.
8.) Set boundaries, even when it’s hard. You’re the only person who is tasked with taking care of you. If you don’t do it, no one will.
9.) You don’t always have to learn the hard way. Sometimes it is okay to simply learn from other people’s mistakes.
10.) I love my day job. [Seriously I’m not just writing that on the off chance that my boss will stumble upon my blog.] For the first time in my life, I really enjoy what I do and look forward to going to work nearly every day. Considering the immense amount of time we spend working, doing something you love (or at least like) makes a huge difference.
11.) Have a life outside of work. I’m 100% better at my day job now now that I’m not working 24/7. Novel.
12.) Play! Maybe you play with kicking up to handstand (my favorite!). Maybe you dance. Maybe you sing karaoke. Doesn’t matter what your thing is, just do something where you get to feel like a kid again, if for no other reason than because it’s really fun.
13.) My favorite part of yoga class is the first 5 minutes. I love that shift between go-go-go and relaxation/presence. I love remembering again and again and again that I have the ability to come back to center.
14.) Be concise.
15.) There are multiple sides to every story. You probably don’t have all the information, even when you think that you do.
16.) Sometimes there are no answers. Sometimes it just is what it is.
17.) Speaking of, some people really don’t like the phrase “it is what it is.” I once said this to someone, who proceeded to give me a 20 minute lecture about how this phrase was meaningless. But after giving this issue much thought, I respectfully disagree. To me it means “I surrender to reality and accept that there are things outside my control.” That’s not meaningless.
18.) The only constant is change. Every day is different. Really, every moment is different.
19.) You create your own reality. Focus on the bad stuff, and you’ll probably feel pretty bad. Focus on the good stuff, and you’ll probably feel pretty good. And you know what: there is always both good and bad stuff going on.
20.) I like going to movies alone. You don’t have to share the popcorn.
21.) Be open — to new people, new things, new experiences, new versions of that story you’ve been telling yourself for years. Life is dynamic, fluid, and ever-changing. Allow your mind to be the same.
23.) Tell people when you’re thinking about them. There is nothing that brightens a day more than a sweet little “I’m thinking about you and hoping all is well” message from someone who cares, right?
24.) Let people in. They will surprise you — sometimes in great ways, other times not, but regardless you won’t know until you try. And — as I’ve figured out over the last few years — it’s worth trying.
25.) Stop talking when you have nothing left to say. Sometimes I ramble aimlessly, trying to fill the empty space. But what is wrong with empty space? There is nothing I love more in a yoga class than a well-placed, lingering silent moment. Sure I planned to include 32 items on my list, but I’m at 25 and feeling like I’ve said my piece. Enough said.
Whether it was your birthday or not, I hope everyone had a good day. I sure did. ♥