I believe in celebrating birthdays at any age – mine was last week.

Turning another year older is a gift whether you are 5 or 65 – you most definitely deserve a day in your honor!

I’ve always been into my birthday. And I have always enjoyed entertaining and celebrating holidays. Especially after the death of my mom from cancer four years ago.

This year I had a Star Wars themed weekend with members of my pod in the country. For my 40th, I had a James Bond themed party. One year I had a Christmas-themed birthday even though it was April. I celebrate my dog’s birthday every year – I’ve held luau-themed parties for my dog in the past (see pic in this post) and I’m already planning Lucy and Scarlett’s joint one-year birthday luau party m this summer.

I love to celebrate birthdays. Being alive is something worth celebrating in and of itself.

We get wiser, smarter and more comfortable in our own skin with every birthday. For many of us, 2020 was a major year of growth due to having so much more time and being forced to slow down due to the pandemic.

It was the year I took stock of everything. It was the year I healed myself. It was a year in which I redirected my life. It was a year of new beginnings, love, hard work and finally rediscovering myself.

2020 gave me a new life along with wisdom, perspective and the tools to navigate major challenges.

If you follow this blog, you know that it was like a bomb went off in my life nearly 2 years ago, sending me on a completely new path in my personal and professional life – one I didn’t choose – but one for which I was ultimately destined.

Sometimes you don’t know why things are happening in your life, especially when things seem bleak. But you have to believe that there’s a greater purpose for everything and what is meant for you will find you.

Here are some things I learned this year.

  • Be open to new opportunities
  • It’s ok that people come/go from your life
  • You can’t change others but you can change yourself
  • Not everyone has your best intentions at heart
  • Keep your circle small
  • Don’t ignore red flags
  • If you spot controlling or narcissistic behavior in anyone, whether personally or professionally, run away as fast as you can
  • Sometimes walking away is the only way
  • Kindness is always the right answer
  • People will dislike you even though you know they have no reason to – don’t waste your time on them
  • Accept your flaws and work on being a better person every day
  • Remove toxic people from your life
  • Go where you are appreciated and valued
  • Never let someone reject you twice
  • Assume good intent
  • Be brave and bold
  • Reframe rejection as being redirected
  • Put yourself out there and ask for what you want – so many people wait for opportunities to come to them and they miss out as a result
  • Never shrink yourself to be someone you’re not
  • Not everyone has your best interests at heart – protect yourself
  • If you don’t love and respect yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to do it
  • We can establish strong connections when we share vulnerable moments
  • Always listen to your intuition
  • Sometimes you have to choose to be happy – it doesn’t always come easy
  • Learn to let go of the past, negative thoughts and trying to control the future
  • Trust the timing of your life
  • Find a creative outlet, writing it is obviously mine, it’s such a great way to connect with others and to express yourself
  • It’s okay to not be okay sometimes (you will be okay at some point though, I promise)
  • Help others without expecting anything in return

Here’s to Marie Kondo-ing everything in our lives. And happy birthday to all of my fellow Aries out there – this birthday was much better than our last when the pandemic had first begun and we were all on lockdown.