Thursday, June 21, 2012

ringing in the new year

Welcome Summer!

Today is my 31st Birthday. :-)

Usually my birthday falls on the Summer Solstice--the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.  When I was little I used to think that that meant that my birthday was physically longer than any other day.  I didn't quite understand that it meant that the sun was out the longest on my birthday.  I thought that somehow my birthday managed to exceed the standard 24 hours in a day.  I thought that somehow I got to enjoy my birthday longer than anyone else. 

I thought I was pretty lucky. 

{I felt terrible for those poor Winter Solstice kids who got gypped and ended up with the shortest day of the year. ;-) }

However this year, because it's a leap year, the Summer Solstice fell on the 20th of June instead of the 21st.  And instead of my birthday being the longest day of the year, my last day being 30 was the longest day of the year.  And it just so happens that I tend to go into this reflective state right around the change of the happens on New Year's Eve, and on birthday Eve (which are conveniently about 6 months apart).  I think about where I am, where I want to go, what my goals are, what I want to accomplish, what changes lie ahead... 

So I was given the longest day of the year to think about all of those things.

I think I was pretty lucky.

It's strange because just a couple days ago I was looking through this blog, looking at the list I posted this time last year, and I thought to myself, "wow, Nas, you really fell short this year!"  While there's a lot I did, and a lot I still have yet to write about, there is quite a lot left un-done.  Things I didn't accomplish.  Even more outside of this list, things I wanted to more forward, but haven't.  Things I thought would be different now, but have gone stagnant.

These are things that go far beyond this things, relationship things, family things, financial things, career things....things I had planned on working on and improving.  Things that are not necessarily going badly, but things where I see room for improvement.  And while some of these things have improved, some of them have not...or not to the degree in which I wanted them to.

And I was starting to feel pretty bad about that.

But then yesterday, on the longest day of the year (and my "day of life reflection") something popped in my head.  Something that I had written once before.  Something that I knew I had posted here.  Something that just made SENSE.

I had to search to find it.

But I found it.

I found it here

And more importantly, this is what it was:

"It's not about crossing items off a's about experiencing life NOW."

You know how when you're watching a movie, and there's something that the main character is missing?  Something that they haven't figured out yet, and you just want to jump through the screen and tell them?  And then all of a sudden, they have this "A-ha Moment" (thanks for the catchphrase, Oprah) and everything just makes sense?

Yeah, that's what happened yesterday, when this sentence--a sentence I had written over a year and a half ago!--just popped into my head.

And as I was scrolling through old posts, and pictures from my 365 project, I realized, sure, maybe I didn't accomplish all of the things I set out to do this year...but you know what I did that WASN'T on the list?
  • Saw the Grand Prix
  • Experienced an earth quake
  • Went to my first hockey game
  • Saw in a SkyBox during a Ravens' Monday Night Football game
  • Visited the new 9/11 Memorial in NYC...twice
  • Climbed to the top of the Bromo Seltzer tower
  • Ran on the Maryland Terrapins' football field
  • Hosted a Lorax lunch with some great girlfriends
  • Conquered Pinterest
  • Drove through PA, DE, NJ, NY, CT, MA, VA, NC, SC, GA and FL.
As far as Sadira, these are her accomplishments this year:
  • Took her first full year of ballet
  • Learned soccer
  • Started the big kids' gymnastic class
  • Successfully completed her first year of school
  • Hi-fived a sting ray
  • Visited a butterfly garden
  • Met her favorite Raven, Terrell Suggs
  • Got a new pet (her fish)
  • Made new friends
  • Welcomed new baby friends
  • Upgraded to a big girl bike
And when I looked over this list, I started feeling pretty good again. 

So when I really think about it, it's been a great year.

But I do have to say it's kind of crazy when I think about this birthday and this new decade.  Last year when I was saying goodbye to my twenties, I felt ACCOMPLISHED.  Because all of the things I had hoped to do in my twenties, I had done.  I had LIVED them, the way I wanted to.  And for me, at this moment in time, my thirties seem to be a bit of a blank slate. 

Sometimes this leaves me feeling unsettled, like I don't have any direction. 

Sometimes this feels very free and exciting. 

I guess it's the Gemini in me.

But most of all, I think the biggest thing I took from my day of reflection yesterday, is that the greatest joy isn't always in the accomplishment, it's in the process.  Just like when you're reading a really good book, and you get almost sad when you reach the end.  Sure you accomplished reading the book, but now it's over.  It was the process that was fun, not just the accomplishment. 

I realize that I'm at the point in my life where I'm in the middle of the process.  With my career, with my current relationship, and sometimes even with Sadira.  There's no graduation or celebration coming up that signifies an accomplishment, or brings about fanfare--and that's okay. 

Because the process is exciting too.

I need to remember to appreciate the process more.

I always thought it was interesting that our Inalienable Rights as listed in the Declaration of Independence were, "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," not "Life, Liberty and Happiness."

No one is entitled to happiness.  But we are certainly entitled on working to achieve happiness.

How lucky we are that so many of us really can control our own destinies.

I think it's important for all of us to remember...especially in this society of instant gratification...that we are all responsible for our own pursuit.  And while I'm certainly not UN-happy, I think this was a timely reminder to myself that there is beauty and joy in the pursuit.

Here's to enjoying the pursuit!


Emily S. said...

Nas, that was so good. I loved reading it, loved your "a-ha".... And find it all so extremely relevant to my own plateaus of late. Thanks for dissecting your thoughts a bit. Here's to the rest of this decade blowing you away with magic moments and full living. You are magnificent!

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