By Amy K. Andrews
This week, I turned another year of 30-something. An age I feel good about, coupled with a moment in my life where everything just feels right. My birthday, your birthday, it greets you annually, without fail. And like Steph said here, you simply, generally wake up wanting to greet your birthday back, with a desire to put your best food forward.
What I realized this birthday season is that our foot forward is generally met with another foot forward. Two, three, maybe even four feet coming together, friends, family, loved ones; a symphony of support, a celebration of the one and only you. Our birthday creates an opportunity for our loved ones to show us what we often don’t see when we look at our own reflection in the mirror.
A little vulnerability may be in order, dear reader, an open admittance that I can be known to silently punish myself for past transgressions, forgetting to see the picture of myself as a whole. However, this birthday erased that reflection, filling it with newfound warmth and love.
We were seated at the dinner table, friends, family and I, a small surprise gathering my wife had coordinated in my honor. Smitten with the celebration, and the heavenly meal home cooked just for me, I was having a wonderful time. And then, the real surprise, my wife requesting that everyone quickly state the thing they love most about me. Around the table, old school elementary show-and-tell style. Only this was just the tell.
What? Will they remember the time I didn’t send a thank you note? Will they think about the time I did not make a good decision? Will they think about how I could have done better? Said something nicer? Not lost my temper? Been more attentive? Remembered? Forgot? Tried but failed?
They remembered the time I did send a thank you note. The millions of good decisions I have made. The time I did better, was nicer, exemplified equanimity, tended to their needs. They talked about the time I let it go, and when I remembered. How I tried, and actually set an example of how to be a good person, trustworthy, committed, thoughtful, encouraging, supportive.
This was me they were talking about?
Women seem to be especially vulnerable to this type of self-deprecation, myself included. We fail to see the good when we look in the mirror. In fact, we often search for the bad. We are highly skilled at doing well, looking great, and then staring at our reflection just so we can locate the one hair that is out of place.
This birthday, I chose to take in the love instead. To feel it, to hear it, to take it in with the innocence and readiness of a child, instead of with the ricochet I habitually trust.
You should try it. See the world working in your favor. See the love others have for you. Listen to it. It will change your day, your year, your life.
Amy is a woman of wellness, a writer, and the winner of Seattle’s Ultimate Housewife contest. As a liberated Texan, she has lived on both coasts, and on the high streets of London. Most days you can find her teaching Pilates to her beloved clients, editing her memoir, An Expat’s Wife, swiffering her home, or writing thank-you notes. At this very moment she is undoubtedly cuddling with her wife and cat.