Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Big 3-0!

Yes, I turn 30 today. I have dreaded this birthday for the last five years. Ironically, around January of this year I began to have a change of heart.

I don't really know why I dreaded this birthday. I am still young but I think it finalized to me that I am definitely an adult. This is funny to me because I have been providing for myself for quite some time, I am married, and I am a mother - all things that kind of make you an adult. For some reason turning 30 always seemed to make that more real.

I am happy that I am ebracing my 30's and hope I continue this attitude about age as I grow older. The twenties were great for me but I have grown so much as a person. I am sure I will do this each decade - look back and see where I have come and where I need to go. The biggest lesson I have learned is one about attitude.

I know my younger siblings roll their eyes at me whenever I start talking about attitude - they are in their late teens and twenties. I keep reminding them that I just want to give them a little piece of wisdom so they don't have to go through some of the heartache I did. Then I realize I sound like their parent. :)

I just finished Randy Pausch's book, The Last Lecture (for those of you who have not heard of him or this book just google it. There is lots of info out there). It was such a great read and one that just encouraged my thoughts about attitude dictating your life state. I will outline some of the things I gleaned from the book here - mainly because it really exemplifies many of the things I have learned in my journey to 30. :)

The biggest thing that I have learned is that I - meaning me, myself alone - choose my attitude about how I feel about things, how I deal with things, how I cope with things. He writes "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." This is so true. I can choose to see the bad, focus on the ugly, nitpick at all the negative - like dreading my 30th birthday - or I can focus on the good in my life and embrace some of the bad things as lessons teaching me and helping me to be a better person.

Here are some other things I gleaned from his book:

"The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something." How many times have I hit a brick wall and taken that as a reason to quit. I know sometimes God closes doors but sometimes I think He is just trying to see how badly we are willing to work to get through them.

"Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier." This man had plenty to complain about - dying with pancreatic cancer with his children so young they are likely to only remember him because of video and pictures. Complaining is a struggle for me, but it is such a waste. Again, if my attitude dictates positive feelings in my life then I am less likely to waste my time complaining. And yes, it really doesn't make me happier. It just makes me sad.

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." Just chew on that one a little while. Again, this is a way to see the positive in something that was negative. You are being taught.

On peoples rights - which is a huge focus in our society he says, "... it makes no sense to talk about rights without also talking about responsibilities. Rights have to come from somewhere, and they come from the community. In return, all of us have a responsibility to the community. Some people call this the "communitarian" movement, but I call it common sense." Again, this is about attitude. We all want our rights but what are we willing to do to deserve those rights? One is not given rights just because they are a certain race, religion, or sex. They are given those rights because of the people around them and they have a responsibility in turn to those that give them those rights. I like this because it takes the focus off of ourselves and redirects us to thinking about everyone as a whole.

Sorry for the little sermon, but these statements are just mere examples of some lessons I have learned - and am still learning - in my own life. I am happier and more content. I know that I am not in control but I can control my attitude towards lifes ever changing story. I am not perfect in my attitudes but just know if you can begin to redirect your thinking in some of these ways you will immediately begin to feel some sense of peace. Isn't that part of what living is about - learning and finding peace in the process.

Heres to my 30's! :)

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