I can’t start a birthday post, without a shout out to the woman who selflessly gave birth to me and passed me along. She just has to be the source of my tiny slivers of courage and conviction. I’m grateful for the life she gave me twice.
My coach (that felt funny), Cynthia Morris, sent out a birthday-related newsletter recently in which she highlighted her year in moments of what she calls JuJu and the ways in which each moment had started with intention and ended with the honoring of her values.
Then, during our last coaching session, we talked about a particular project I’m working on (well, I got pretty far and stopped working on, to be technical) which is definitely a highlight for me, and she asked me what personal values it honored while I was in the creative process of writing it. (Apparently, our values are the keys to our true happiness.)
I didn’t have an answer, so I got to thinking. Since today is my birthday, and I’m a darn good follower, I’m examining my own 45th year and how the highlights came to be, in an effort to find out what I value and what makes me feel the most alive:
- Successfully sending my son to college and paying it off
- Landing a couple of freelance jobs
- Visiting New York City, Knoxville, Lexington, Michigan, and North Carolina a couple of times
- Getting a new Website
- Talking to new people (but on an individual basis)
- Having a new condo fall in my lap that feels one step closer to a whole new life
- Recognizing the beginnings of an entirely new tribe
- Getting so much work done on my project
- Eating healthier and feeling better (until the summer, anyway)
Identified. Check. Now, what was the juju (magic) that caused them to happen? The more thought I give this, the more I’m led to one all-encompassing theme: I asked. I intended and I asked.
Magic. Check. Now, what values did these highlights honor? Why did these things make me feel more alive? Simply, why are these highlights? I can't help but notice that as a result of asking, I connected. And believed. And received. And learned. Sometimes, all at once. Funny. When I check this against my personal values list of connection, faith, peace, personal growth, change, and gratitude, it’s like snapping in the last piece of a puzzle.
Values. Check. This all sounds so simple, I know. I’m sure it is to a lot of folks, but to me, it's a little unnatural and new. (I tell ya, not being wholly responsible for another human being feels like being born again. Everyone knows I wouldn't trade the spawn for anything short of a slice of Junior's cheesecake, but his being 19? I wouldn't trade that either.)
I have a new set of intentions for the Year of 46. Some are leftovers, some are new. Most include new thought processes and time and quiet and authenticity and me. I sure hope to keep asking and connecting, gaining confidence in who I am and what makes me happiest. You know, honoring my values and attracting some more old-lady juju.
- Finish my project
- Work c2c and land one more part-time gig (site or write)
- Grow my tribe
- Save my money
- Walk barefoot in grass, sand and water and walk in the woods
- Be outside after dark
- Research next steps
- Eat healthy and move more
- Take a trip or two or three (one of which needs to be a long road trip)
- Sit in the sun in a rocking chair
- Have no cable for one whole year
- Organize pictures for a Christmas present
- Research my two new project ideas
- Provide better service to the CFLC
- Purge and separate (again)
- Think non-cubicle, non-corporate with every decision
If you want inspiration for a wonderful self-inflicted celebration of your own birthday, you can't beat this: Celebrating My Birthday