Do they really go together?
I just had a birthday. We are also in the middle of a pandemic. As selfish as it was for me to expect to have a “good” birthday, I still wanted to bring in this next year of LIFE with gratitude and happiness. As much as I know how blessed I truly am, I still had a hard time getting my mind right to celebrate that I am healthy, loved, and my family is healthy and safe. As much as I knew all of the steps that I needed to take to get my mind right, I still fell into my solo-pity party. No one was invited, which worked out nicely seeing that we are practicing physical distancing. However, as the day progressed, I had to think back to my FAVORITE birthday, and that my friends, was my BIG 4-0. It was ABSOLUTELY the BEST day of my WHOLE LIFE!
Let’s go back a few years. 2013…the year my life fell apart. Someday, I will share more details on what happened, but 2014 was the year that I found REAL mental strength, and 2015 was the year I celebrated my VERY BEST BIRTHDAY.
Over the course of 2015, leading up to my best birthday, I had listened to things I had never considered before. My brother introduced me to men like Les Brown and Tony Robbins. Les Brown and I spent hours running trails together. Now, Les is an older gentleman, who proclaims to be a little over weight, so I am not sure that he can actually run trails, but I sure could, and I could also put some headphones in and listen to him talk to me, to motivate me, to remind me that I had value. I listened to him almost daily. I didn’t know it was “self-help”. To me, it was just motivation and laughs, because this guy is FUNNY! He reminded me that I had strength. I just had to tap into it. It was a great year of building mental and physical strength.
So 2015 comes along, and all of my friends start turning 40. Highlights from social media had me doing a lot of comparing. (Don’t do it; it really is the thief of all joy.) The social media highlight reels had pictures of all of my friends celebrating with ALL of their MANY friends. All of my friends also seemed to be going on amazing destinations with ALL of those friends. Sooooo many friends…and at the time, I really didn’t have many friends that lived near by. I was also not planning a destination for my big 4-0. I just knew that I was going to have a miserable birthday, with nothing exciting to do, and no one exciting to share it with. It was in the back of my head waaayyyy more than it should have been.
Then, the big day came. I had an idea of what I could do that would make my day memorable, and because I had done a fair amount of personal growth and a lot of running, I decided that I would run 40 miles on my 40th birthday. I had been running a lot, but I had not ever run that far. All of the marathons I had run were supported, meaning there was access to EMT’s and plenty of food and fuel to keep the runners going. This 40 mile run would be me, by myself, on familiar trails, but with no support – in any capacity. It would be a distance that was further than anything I had ever run. I was NERV-OUS, but I told my family that I was going to spend my special day doing this, so I started the run, and I checked in with them throughout the day. I ran several loops, and I was the happiest I had ever been. I believe the happiness came from the fact that I CREATED IT! I didn’t need a destination. I didn’t need a lot of friends around. That was the day that I proved to myself that I was in charge of my own happiness, and because of that, it was the happiest day of my whole life.
Even with this lesson-learned, I still went into my recent birthday not feeling too hot. It literally took me ALL day to remember the important happiness lesson that I had taught myself 5 years ago. I had to force myself to remember how good it felt to create my happiness, and eventually, I got out, I put one foot in front of the other, I went for a short run. Then, I came home and had cake and wine for dinner, and guess what…it was a good day.
There are going to be days when we are JUST HAPPY, and there are going to be days when we have to remember to CREATE OUR OWN HAPPINESS, and friends, I know with all of my heart that each of us is capable of CREATING THIS KIND OF TRUE HAPPINESS. It’s not always easy, but it IS possible.