Maybe you’re supposed to be all grown up at 29 or at least have figured it all out, but all I know is that I woke up on my birthday knowing far less than ever before. I was born 29 years ago in Beaumont, Texas and somewhere in that tiny newborn body of mine a seed was planted. I have had this life’s mission, this undeniable passion brewing, a calling inside my soul that has been my true north for as long as I can remember. Yet as is the case with naive youth, I had moments where I thought I had in fact “figured it all out." It was in that false confidence I felt a misleading sense of control. Only now have I learned the greatest lesson of my life to date; malleability.
I think part of the Type A personality is our overambitious nature and cockiness in our abilities. Itâ��s in that arrogance, however, that life often hands you situations and challenges requiring an onslaught of humility raiders. Birthdays have a way of giving you perspective, a bench mark by which to mull over where youâ��re at, where you want to be as well as the discrepancy between reality and expectation. Looking back on this past year, my fatherâ��s cancer has stolen the show. Certainly there were high and lows, wins and losses, but when I look at what has defined me most, it was the hardest experience of my life as I watched my Superman struggle. It was in that sacred space, though, that I gathered up my own strength and saw the superhero in myself.
There are always those moments in life when a superhero’s destiny is revealed, when she first learns to fly or realizes she has out-of-this-world powers, but more often than not, it comes out of the simultaneous recognition of weakness or imperfection. Regardless of your religious affiliation, I found truth in calling on an infinitely stronger power by battling cancer alongside my dad, uncovering a strength I had never known.
Bravery is what I’ve always been searching for, the key that unlocks the passion inside, releases the eruption of that growing seed, and ignites a destiny that has been percolating under the surface my whole life. Bravery is not my ability to fight dragons, run back into a burning building or risk my life for the ones I love, but it’s merely having the courage to be vulnerable. I learned somewhere along this crazy journey that I’m not perfect, but perfectly flawed and I’m fine with that. I learned that I can’t please everyone, and the mere pursuit has quite the opposite result. I learned that forgiveness is far more difficult than resentment, that trust demands mental vigilance, and true love does exist. I learned that sometimes you just have to close your eyes and imagine your own rainbow even if it doesn’t exist. Crying doesn’t mean you're weak, not having an answer doesn’t mean you're dumb, and you can spend a lifetime overcompensating for insecurities that are really just paper tigers.
This past year may have been the hardest so far, but I am stronger, more resilient, and appreciative than ever before. While I may not know what the big 2-9 has in store for me, I have a feeling it will be epic because I still see magic everywhere. I don’t want to jinx anything yet, but I'm throwing it out there that this year is a game changer in absolutely every way possible (insert irrepressible smile here).
Images courtesy of Isoldmycookiecutter.com, Thebatmanuniverse.net