Picture Courtesy of Flipboard
As time marches on and I await my big 4-0 birthday in a few weeks, it is always nice to reflect on my growth. I am learning to be unapologetically me and it is a fabulous feeling. Life is constantly presenting me with new lessons and growth opportunities. I have learned to embrace it all and I hope that my lessons inspire your growth as well.
I learned that children are not the only ones that are resilient. I discovered that I am much stronger than I ever imagined, and that I can bounce back from the depths of hell. Despite everything that happened to me last year, this year I feel stronger, wiser and much happier than I have been in a long time. Hard times humbled me and made me realize that I can truly overcome anything.
I also learned that I am enough – in friendships, in relationships, at work and life in general. While going through so many changes, I had to conserve my energy for things that mattered. That meant relinquishing foolish notions that I needed to jump through hoops to live up to people’s false assumptions about who I am and what I should be in life. Desperate times reveal the people who care for, love you and accept you for exactly who you are. There were so many people attracted to my strength, they were not able to handle my vulnerability. I was happy that I had so many REAL people who allowed me to lean on them and who were happy to help me through that turbulent period. It is so nice being surrounded by individuals who allow you to simply be human.
Comfortable In My Own Skin
It feels really, really good to love me for me. I am finally comfortable and in full acceptance of my body and appearance. I have always been my own worst critic. I use to push myself so hard in my workouts and even at my skinniest, felt like I still had a lot more weight to lose. I spent years being very self-conscience and worrying about every little hair that was out of place. You have no idea how freeing it is to finally look in the mirror and see a unique beauty.
I don’t need affirmation from anyone about my appearance, because my opinion is the one that carries the most weight. I exercise strictly for health now and not to obtain some unrealistic body type that I cannot maintain without extreme measures. I enjoy my sense of style and it feels good to shop for exactly what I feel most comfortable wearing. To quote someone else: I feel imperfectly perfect and it feels amazing!
I learned true self love and care. I released all that was toxic, all that was weighing me down and all that no longer served my purpose. I dropped the deadbeats in my life, the friends who were not true friends and distanced myself from family members where the relationships could only heal from loving from a distance. I accepted that I am not for everyone, and that everyone is not for me. I started to take care of me so I could be in the best shape to take care of my loved ones – this includes mind, body and soul.
The most important aspect of 2017 is the fact that I grew up. I mean I truly and wholeheartedly became a grown woman. I learned that just because you hurt me, doesn’t mean I must hurt you back. I recognized all my shortcomings and held myself accountable for correcting them so I could become a better person. I decided to stop trying to race to the finish line and simply enjoy my journey. I took my time to think through life decisions and identify what was in my best interest. While I remain stubborn, I no longer do it to a fault. My way is certainly not the only way. And I have accepted that unsolicited advice is not all bad, it is just annoying as hell to me.
I learned that being told ‘no’ is not the end of the world. I learned that being told ‘yes’ does not mean I should always proceed. I learned that my children are my true purpose and they are the reason I do all that I do. I learned less is more. I learned that I am complete and whole. I learned that solitude is a necessity in my life. I learned to impress myself and not worry about impressing others. Mostly, I learned how to adult; plain and simple.
Life Goes On
I have learned that despite loss, failures and setbacks, life will go on. It is a lot easier to get through life’s challenges when you have the right people in your life. Everything in life is seasonal and temporary. My best friend told me she was proud of the way I never allowed any grass to grow under my feet and how impressive it was that through it all, I simply forging ahead.
I’ve come such a long way from who I once was, that I even amazed myself at the progression. I want to take a moment to thank the saints who crossed my path, my guardian angels, the assholes, the haters, the fakes and my close family/friends because all those individuals combined helped to make the amazing woman you see before you today.
~ Author Mara Prose