On my 31st birthday I was full of insight. I had reflected on a lot. I had a lot to say. I was feeling solid in who I was. I was feeling content and secure. On the eve of my 32nd birthday I’m not feeling as confident. I’ve just been dealt a hard card and I’m not sure what to do with it yet. (More on that to come in the next few weeks.)
Last year I wrote about “becoming adult” and this year I really feel like one, and the more I embrace my adult self the more I become comfortable with not having answers. Right now, today, I have a lot of questions and almost no answers. But I do know one thing, the woman who wrote last year’s post was filled with answers and that woman will be back again soon. And so I sit and listen to my last year self and remember that she’s in me right now too.
Originally published here, here is last year’s birthday post. I admire the eloquent voice that wrote these words with such conviction and I summon that again in myself today. Enjoy.
I Became An Adult Today
I became an adult today. More traditionally, I became an adult when I turned 18, and when I turned 21, and then again when I got married. But today, on my 31st birthday, I can finally say that I have let myself become an adult.
For me, I had to recognize myself as an adult on my own and that meant releasing the societal labels I always accepted as fact, and trusting that the adult me gets to be an “adult” in whatever way she sees fit.
To do that, I had to let go of my inner child. Not the part of me that makes silly faces and plays in the mud after it rains, (I’ll lightheartedly play those games indefinitely). But, the part of me that was still living in the securities that served me as a kid but were hindering more than helping me as an adult.
Child me thought that my life would be exactly like my Mom’s. She had a good life and I admired it, and to me that life was the “only way”. I’d get married and have kids young and stay at home and smile a lot. Although that last part is still true, the other three are happening slower in life and for a while that was hard for me to accept. I am happy in my life, but I couldn’t help but feel inadequate because I was on a different timeline; a timeline that long ago I deemed as wrong because it was different than what I knew.
As I struggled with releasing childhood expectations I realized that what I was doing in my present life was too much “chess playing”. I was trying to control every situation so that I would have the outcome that I deemed acceptable. This made it harder for me to feel gratitude and live in the present moment. I had to let go of old thought patterns and step into my adult life with pride and accept it as worthy.
To do that, I walked onto my meditation cushion and sat. I put my palms together at my heart and bowed my head.
Past self, I love you. I love all of your experiences. But, to be my best adult self I cannot take all of your experiences with me. I let go of your pain. I let go of the labels you accepted as fact. I don’t need everything you needed to feel special and whole, because I know, I do not need anything to feel that way. I am that way. Past self, I honor you and accept you fully by now honoring and accepting my present self completely. I love you and carry you with me at all times, and can’t wait to show you how much fun adult you can have writing her own definitions.
I know this is not the typical Monday Mantra, and it’s most likely not your birthday. But, I invite you to reflect this week on what old definitions you are carrying around with you. What thought patterns you could use to release. And how you could find ways to honor the past you by celebrating adult you in all her forms.
Have a happy and healthy week!