Happy Birthday To Me: 10 Life Lessons I Learned In 2021

Originally posted 11/09/2021

When I turned 37 last year, I was in a very interesting, pivotal point in my life. It turns out the heart break I had experienced a few months earlier would be the catalyst to a year of growth and change.

I navigated through my life under the assumption that I loved myself. At least I thought I did. It wasn't until I examined all my loose boundaries and the way I allowed people to treat me, that I realized I didn't love myself as much as I thought I did. I spent the next 365 days pouring into myself, taking myself out on dates, upholding my boundaries, and doing shadow work.

I used to struggle with those, "I thought I'd be married with 3 children by now" thoughts, until I realized I am exactly where I'm supposed to be in life. In fact, I'm happy with my progress and I feel confident that there is more than enough time for me to successfully live out my life's purpose. I hold the key to my own happiness. Part of holding that key is knowing that I have to be content with where I am in my life in the present moment.

I've learned so much about myself and about life over this past year. In celebration of my 38th solar return, I'm sharing 10 things I learned over the last 365 days.

[caption id="attachment_4721" align="aligncenter" width="683"] Photo Credit: Ambitious Shooters[/caption]

10. Time is endless

By the age of 38, I expected my life to be in a different place. I imagined I'd be a homeowner by now. I thought I'd have my wife, children, and fruitful business all ironed out by now. Fortunately I am a single woman, no kids yet, and still getting the hang of working full time while being and entrepreneur. I've grown a fond appreciation for where life has me in this current moment. Life is beautiful and I have time. I remind myself of that often. I don't want to be part of any other human experience, than the one I'm part of now. Anything that is for me will automatically find it's way to me. Takes a lot of the pressure off.

9. Boundaries are your friend

I learned the importance of upholding boundaries this year. My inner voice would always say things like, "you're tired, do that later," or "you probably should say no to this commitment." My desire to make everyone else happy would have me commit to things that I knew I'd regret later. Now I honor my "no" in whatever form it takes. I don't commit to anything I'm not energetically interested in, and I've learned to honor myself when I change my mind.

8. Self-preservation is vital

This entire human experience is about doing what it takes to make yourself a happy, well-adjusted, sound human being. We are responsible for our own happiness. In order to preserve yourself you'll need the basics; a balanced diet, a good sleeping pattern, and regular body movement. Dissecting that a bit further, we preserve ourselves through self-care. If catching a flight is going to make you happy, catch that flight sis!

7. Don't be afraid to be your own best friend

Although I took a more social approach to 2021, I also spent lots of time alone. Single life forces you to get in tune with yourself and become your own best friend. I take myself on dates. I buy myself flowers. I give myself the same sound advice I'd give someone I love because I learned to love myself. One day during a reiki session I asked my client if she would say the things she says about and to herself to her best friend. "Probably not," she admitted. We set the tone for how we should be treated by the way we treat ourselves.

[caption id="attachment_4720" align="aligncenter" width="683"] Photo Credit Ambitious Shooters[/caption]

6. Love comes and it goes

I spent most of the year single, but for 5 months I got to experience love. Initially when the relationship ended, I was mad at the Universe for giving me something so good to only take it away from me. I shifted from sadness to gratitude when I changed my perspective. For 5 months I experienced a small dose of the love I knew I deserved. I attracted better, and that was evidence of my growth. I learned to be thankful for the experience, and I look forward to attracting what belongs to me.

5. Trust your intuition

I dodged a lot of bullets because I listened to my spirit. My intuition has been my guiding light this year. I've been able to sense when things are off, or if the energy isn't serving me, almost immediately. For the times that I allowed my ego to rationalize my intuition, I paid for it royally. I am still shocked that it took me this long to listen to my gut, but now that I do, I've managed to avoid lots of toxic situations.

4. Choose YOU over and over again

You are literally the only thing you have in this world. Yes, we have friends and family, but at the end of the day YOU have to look YOU in the mirror and be satisfied with who you are. If you're in a situation that doesn't serve you (work, relationship, housing, friendship etc), why are you there? Self-preservation is vital. Choose you and your happiness over dead-end, toxic, or draining situations. The longer you entertain what's not for you, the longer you postpone what is. Can you imagine what's waiting for you on the other side of that toxic thing you refuse to let go of?

3. Live a little

I'm a pretty calm person that's set in her ways. I don't like parties, I don't want to be out too late, and I'm not fond of crowds. That said, I miss a lot of dope gatherings because I'm very firm in my boundaries. Every now and then I convince myself to do something I wouldn't normally do. This summer I went to a strip club in Miami with my friends. I hated every minute of it (because of the extremely loud music and the crowd), but I was glad I did it. Also, I honored my boundaries by leaving when I felt like I had enough.

[caption id="attachment_4719" align="aligncenter" width="683"] Photo Credit: Ambitious Shooters[/caption]

2. Meditate and drink your water, bih!

Meditation is a skill. It's an art form. While it doesn't require much more than a quiet mind, you'll learn that silencing your thoughts is not an easy task. This year I incorporated various forms of meditation into my daily routine. Walking and listening to music is my top-tier choice for meditation, but more recently I've connected to sitting in complete silence and listening to my heart. I listen to my wounds. I listen to my fears. We talk to each other so that I am able to recognize each one as it shows up in my life.

We can have the "drink water" talk, but I think we all know the importance of staying hydrated. My body changed drastically when I changed what I was feeding it. I don't drink anything that isn't water or coffee. No alcohol, soda, or juice. My skin has been flourishing like a mothaf*cka! Beyond that, I can literally feel my energy level go down if I haven't drank enough water.

1. You have no idea what's waiting for you - stop stressing

Full transparency, after my recent breakup (thanks, Mercury Retrograde) I felt like was doomed in the love department. I almost threw myself a pity party until I realized that I control this narrative. I'm nowhere NEAR doomed. I'm just a human being living in her human experience. Life is full of ups and downs and it is during those downs that we learn the most about ourselves. Try not to let the surprises of life convince you that things don't get better. They absolutely do. Our lives are designed to live out our human purpose. Every single experience - good or bad - is what makes us who we are. We need these experiences to help usher us to our purpose.

Lean in.