on the cusp of that milestone, i am scrolling through memory albums and making lists of new memories i want to create...new things i want to do or experience. and really, i can think of so many things that i haven't yet done, so it would be easy to feel pressured or down about how much time has gone by that i have 'wasted.' but if there's one thing i've learned it's that life isn't a waste. for those days i spent lying on the couch watching tv, maybe i just really needed the rest. for the days spent crying or carrying on about something, maybe i just really needed to work some things out. for these and many other things in my life, i am learning to forgive myself. to cut myself some slack and to avoid the waste of worrying. because that really is a shame - to spend even one minute kicking yourself or wishing your past away.
i've made all the choices that i've made and i'll continue to make all the ones to come. i'm owning it this year. good, bad, indifferent - they're all mine.
and as i check off items, one by one, i know i will have a few people around me who truly get it, who love me and are proud of me because they know what courage it takes some days to just get by. and by God, i am grateful for those souls. they have saved my very life on more than one occasion. they are, quite often, the inspiration for adding new items to my lists, for giving me the pep talks when i need them, and for holding my hand when i've disappointed myself.
and i am learning, even, to be that friend to myself, finally. to be the voice of forgiveness and acceptance over the criticism. to be the one who says 'try again' when all i see are unmet hopes and dead ends.
nothing is perfect (nor will it ever be) and i'm learning more and more to be okay with that. i've got another year around the sun, God willing, and i'm going to make the most of it. my camera is charged up, my pen is poised, and i have fellow adventurers at the ready. let the next leg of the journey begin. one memory at a time.
memories created in the past 5 days of this new birth year:
*watching the sun set over the chesapeake bay on my birthday evening, complete with a few sparklers and fireworks
*falling down in the ocean and laughing as the waves knocked me back again, over and over
*feeling the warm air on my face and the sunshine on my shoulders
*eating truly amazing food - my first 7-course chef's tasting menu - and documenting every bit of it in photos
*smelling the salt air
*finding new fun places in and around my favorite beach spot
*having deep talks and lots of laughter with my best friend
*watching fireworks from locust point on independence day with my fellow baltimoreans
*experiencing some july days that felt almost like spring - low humidity, warm sunshine, and great breezes (what a gift!)