Birthdays: A New Chance to Embrace Life

My birthday is coming up this week.  In the past couple of years, I felt like a failure around this time of year because I was reminded of milestones of adulthood that I hadn’t yet achieved. However, this year my outlook has changed and I am embracing the day!

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I am getting closer to THIRTY (so old right?!) and previously thought that by this age I would have met the man I wanted to share my life with and would have kids. I mean, I have graduated from University twice and am establishing my career; therefore, marriage/kids are the next steps along the path of adulthood.  Since I haven’t yet achieved these, I felt like something was wrong with me for not finding the right person to share my life with.  However, this past year I realized I was going about the process all wrong.  I was looking for a husband as more of a status symbol; what I actually need is someone who is my best friend and who I can share my journey with.  It took a while to come to this realization, though!

People can be really good at telling you what you haven’t achieved!  Every year around my birthday, I seem to be reminded of what I am lacking in life.  This was especially prominent a few years back when I had been to two weddings in the weeks before my birthday. The main question on many people’s minds when they saw me, a mid-to-late- twenty-something woman, was: WHY AREN’T YOU MARRIED YET?

For example, I had the following conversation with my cab driver after one wedding, just a day after my birthday that year:

Driver: “So, what brought you to town? Were you on business?”

Me: “No. I was in a friend’s wedding.”

Driver: “Oh, ok. So…when’s your wedding?”

Me: “Ummm...Not for a while. I haven’t found the right guy yet.”

Driver: “Oh, I see. Well, you better get on that! As you get older, the pool is getting smaller. Men in our days had it harder than men today, so I don’t know why so many men are afraid to commit. Well, my dear, you should be a General. Be assertive and go on the attack! A pretty girl like you needs a man.”

How was I to respond? My cab driver’s fascination with my marital statusmade me think, Am I not okay on my own? Am I inadequate if not married?

Before, I would have ruminated about such comments. Now, however, I just laugh at the fact that so many people think that the process of finding a partner to spend your life with is so easy!

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Yes, I could have been married and have a ring on my finger if I went for a relationship based on status and not finding a soul-mate. Before I was looking for all the wrong things in a man (career, appearance, possessions); I know this was vain and shallow, but that’s what I had been socialized to go after, as all my friends did that as well. But if I went the status route, I wouldn’t be the happy and strong woman I am today. I have learned many important life lessons about myself that have caused me to tread slowly when entering relationships. I’m thankful for all of my previous relationships, as they taught me so much and have helped me on my journey! Trust the process. I learned that I had the habit of entering and staying in relationships which didn’t bring out the best in me and where I couldn’t be completely myself. I felt like I always had to change for him to like me and that if I showed him my true colours, he would leave. The relationships I chose mimicked how I was actually treating myself. 

It was about the time that I started empowering myself and working on my insecurities that I realized I was going about my relationships all wrong.  Now, I have even changed the habit of asking others, “Do you think I will find him?” The wording of the question put the power in the other person’s hands.I know many people who base their self-worth on whether they are in a relationship or not. I have been guilty of that, too. But, as I am getting older in my twenties, I have learned that I am not looking for someone to complete me; I am awesome on my own. You see, I have switched from looking for someone to complete me, to knowing that I AM COMPLETE.  This change in thinking has made all the difference.

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I have changed what I am looking for in my relationships, and this shift in perspective has made all the difference! I crave a deep connection with someone.  Therefore, I’m a STAR today

because I know my worth. I have learned that I deserve to be treated with respect and that I can walk away from an unhealthy relationship. Asking for that in a partner is a basic need.  I’m not being selfish, too needy, or unrealistic with my expectations.  The partner I am seeking is not someone who meets physical requirements but someone who nourishes my soul and makes me strive to be a better person. He can know all my secrets and insecurities, yet love me unconditionally. I want to find my best friend. I have learned to treat myself that way, too.

I’m excited for the next year. This birthday is going to be wonderful! I can feel it.

Instead of starting the coming year seeing myself as a failure,

I have changed my thoughts from looking at what I lack, to focusing on my strengths. I’m excited about being alive and healthy, and all the blessings I have!  Yes, I still might miss having someone to share the journey with, but I’m okay with that.  The journey will be hard at times, but I will find him when the time is right! It will be worth the wait :)

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!