It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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The Gift of a New Beginning

beautiful-view-of-the-forest-on-a-sunny-day-autumn-landscape-ukraine-picture-id846704638 The Gift of a New Beginning

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Guess what Tuesday is?

Yep, it’s Election Day. But it’s also my birthday! Yippee!

Every year as my birthday approaches, I like to take stock of my life. I like to drill down and assess where I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going.

I ask myself, “Am I in connection with those I love? Am I spending time with them? Do they feel supported by me? Do they feel my love?”

I also take stock of my work. I ask, “Do I feel like it’s bringing me meaning? Do I want to get up every day and dive into it? Does it satisfy my curiosity? Am I learning and growing? Do I feel like I have a mission larger than myself and that I am giving my all to achieving it?”

Then I ask, “Am I in connection with God?” Truthfully, I find myself relying a lot on this relationship, especially as life moves forward.

Being in conversation with God helps when I feel things are changing (which they often are) or when I feel like change happening is outside of my control (which is often). Being in conversation with God helps when I’m trying to center myself. It helps me realize that, at the end of the day, being centered is my responsibility and that getting there will help me walk forward into the unknown. And, it also always helps me when I find myself comparing my life to others, or when I’m about to have a pity party for myself.

At the moment, God and I actually have a pretty thing going, which is good. That said, I must admit that I’m pressing him on how so many good people could be struggling in poverty. I’m also asking how so many people’s lives could be so desperate and so desolate that they would walk miles and miles across countries, carrying their babies, just to come to our country.

All I know is that there, but for the grace of God, go I and go you.

I also check this time of year to see if I’ve progressed in my own inner development. Have I made strides in accepting myself for who I am and where I am? Do I have compassion for myself and others? Have I made my health the priority it should be? (I’ve gotta do better here.)

The truth is, I am a work in progress. Always have been and, I realize now, I always will be. But what I do know is that as I embark on a new year of life, I am immensely grateful. So very grateful.

I’m grateful to God for the gift of a new year of life. This last year, I lost three people close to me. Two were younger than me. They weren’t given the gift of life that I’m being given, so I know I’m blessed and oh so lucky to be celebrating a birthday this year.

My daughter said to me the other day, “Mommy I just think this is going to be your year. I can just feel it.”

I threw my head back and laughed. I said, “Gee, I hope you are right, sweetheart. I so hope you are right.”

But then I thought, wait a minute, Maria, this past year was pretty great already. So was the year before, and so on.

Even the years that have been challenging were “my years.” They were my years of challenge that gave way to my growth. My experiences with loss have taught me lessons in strength. My years of age have brought me wisdom. My children growing up and leaving the house has been heart-wrenching at times, but it has also given me freedom. Freedom to do more. Freedom to pay less attention to what others think. Freedom to reconnect with my younger self.

So, as I head into this new year of life, I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know my children are good, happy, healthy and moving forward in their respective lives. I realize now that none of us are without challenges and that none of us are without struggles or fears.

The truth is, all of us can choose to look at any year of life and see it as “our year.” That’s why I’m going to go into this new year of life with the belief that my daughter is right. It is going to be my best year yet.

I’m going to challenge myself to try new things (because doing so is good for my brain!). I’m going to eat better. I’m going to laugh more, take chances, pursue new experiences and different adventures. I’m going to continue to work hard because doing so brings me purpose. I’m going to continue to use my voice in ways that I choose. I’m going to aim to dream BIG. (I was struck this past week when Stacey Abrams commented that she had been dreaming small in the past and realized she needed to shift. Her words got to me and reminded me that I need to dream big, too. We all do.)

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