I’m turning 32 tomorrow.
Most days, I feel 10, sometimes 20 years, older than that — mainly because I feel like I’ve lived a million lifetimes within the span of those 32 years.
I’ve overcome obstacles and challenges, both physical and emotional, I never thought I’d make it through, and endured pain most people should never have to experience.
Yes, there’s been an abundance of pain and heartbreak. (This IS life, after all. No one is exempt from it.)
But, I’ve also been fortunate enough to travel the world, see and experience spectacular beauty, do work that I’m incredibly passionate about, and find my forever soulmate within my daughter, Lauren.
Over the past six years, she’s challenged and pushed me and forced me to mold myself into the best person I can possibly become. Every day that I wake up, I just want to be better…for her.
Through it all, I’ve always done my best to love myself through the ups and downs of life and run into the future and new possibilities and let everything that hurt me seemingly burn behind me.
In the past, I would never really allow myself to focus on the bad for too long because I felt like it distracted from the good…. and here and now.
31 felt like a sucker-punch though. Just one giant blow. It was not easy in so many unfathomable and unconscionable ways. It was heavy.
Without giving too much away, 31 brought a big life change. A separation and a new chapter.
For the first time in my life, I wasn’t bursting at the seams with my glass half-full demeanor. I wasn’t on autopilot, either. I didn’t skip over the emotions and fast-forward to a happy ending.
I let myself feel. I let myself grieve. I let myself experience every emotion I was feeling, and do whatever I possibly needed to process all of life’s changes and challenges. I fell apart, so I could take the necessary steps to put myself back together again.
Over the past six months, I’ve found out so much about the people in my life. I’ve been able to see what and who is real and what wasn’t.
In the darkest moments, I was able to find my light. My home team. My no-matter-what people who were willing to walk through fire with me. The ones who willingly showed up whenever and wherever needed, no questions asked.
I always joke that people should go through life-altering events every couple of years to reevaluate who is currently in their life and who is worthy of remaining there. It’s essentially like panning for gold. You have to sift through the fakes to find the real ones.
I’ve not only been able to find my true friends throughout this new chapter of my life, but myself too.
For starters, I‘ve found that I’m emotionally resilient.
I have not allowed myself to become bitter, despite what has happened. Instead, I’ve let it transform me into a stronger, more forgiving and loving person.
Overall, I feel like all the grief has softened me, the heartache has made me wiser, and all the suffering has strengthened me beyond comprehension.
Tomorrow, I get to finally put 31 to bed.
I’ll be 32, and I already feel so much lighter — as if I’ve finally come home to myself.
I already know the next year will be chock-full of goodness: new experiences, growth, peace…. but most importantly, and above else, happiness.