Today is my birthday. My 38th birthday to be exact. I don’t feel that old, to be honest. And I don’t think I look like I’m nearing forty. Perhaps that is just a hope, haha. As my birthday is coming to an end, I’ve had somentime to reflect upon age, in particular, getting older and how it affects our progress as humans.

Last night, my daughter was playing random songs from our iTunes playlist, and dancing with me around the living room. She played one song, that I hadn’t heard in quite some time. The song is “Perfect” by Pink, and it resonates with me, for so many reasons. Have a listen here…

Strong message, right? You see, leading up to my birthday this year, I was a little more freaked out than usual. Honestly, I rarely freak out about getting older. It’s going to happen anyway, so there’s no sense in freaking out about a number, right? Still, I sat here the week before my birthday, mentally listing all the things I’ve accomplished, compared to what I hoped I would have accomplished, by the time I was this age. Guess what? I don’t think I could tell you one single thing that was in common on both those lists. And though my controlling side wanted to sit down and start scribbling out new goals, hopes, and dreams, the older, more wise me, did not.

I am absolutely not ashamed of where I am. I have a beautiful family, I am a full time housewife and mother, my husband has a great job with amazing benefits that allows us to travel and see the world, we are nearly debt free from our young mistakes, life honestly is absolutely amazing for us. So why put so much emphasis on lists, and what we think we should have but don’t, where we think we should be in life but aren’t, what society says we should have accomplished but haven’t? Instead, we should be celebrating the obstacles we’ve overcome, grateful for the gifts we have that cannot be bought, and proud of  what we have achieved that was never put on a list to begin with. Too much time and energy goes into striving to achieve that “perfect” life that society says we should strive for – the biggest house, newest car, nicest clothes, etc. – and what we end up forgetting is that that “perfect” life, is not a one size fits all. How could it be, when each person has their own idea of what perfect is to them?

I used to read my “Message From God” on Facebook on a daily basis. I haven’t done it in a while, but today, it came across my newsfeed, and I thought, what the heck! Here is what that message was for me…

Dang it if that didn’t just put all my previous week’s worth of thinking down the drain! And what a simple reminder of what is truly important in life….What YOU put into it.

In my life, I have baggage, have been broken, had trying times, and times where I just wanted to throw in the towel. I’ve been picked on, teased, belittled, made to feel worthless, believed I was worthless, and told I would never make anything of myself. I’ve been called talentless, lazy, fat, ugly, “the opposite of sexy” ( that is literally what the person said!), and a dreamer.  But I’ve also known pure love from a man who wouldn’t change a thing about me. I’ve known kindness from strangers who I would never see again. I’ve been shown faith by those who have lost everything. And I have been given a second chance to make a difference in the world around me.

My entire 38 years of life could not be summed up as perfect, by any means. But each stumble and fall, each hurdle, each belittling comment, those have all made me the person I am today. They have turned me into a person who believes in herself, who has faith that moves mountains, and who makes the best of each day I am blessed to be alive. I strive to do good, always, and to stay positive, even when the going gets tough. I feed my curiosity, look for adventure, and try new things. I think outside the box, appreciate my uniqueness, and encourage those characteristics in my daughter. Most importantly, I put out into the world what I hope to get back. Positivity. Motivation. Encouragement. Strength. Love. Kindness. Respect. And happiness.

Be proud of who you are, how much you have overcome, the things you have achieved in YOUR life. Embrace YOUR uniqueness. And never let anyone make you believe that you are not absolutely perfect just the way you are.