Friday, February 28, 2014

38 Complete

Today I completed my 38th year of life.

I'm pretty stoked about that because I'm not always great at finishing things. I've written before about how I am easily inspired and often start a project with grand ideas. But usually by the halfway point, right around the time when things become more like work and less like fun, my enthusiasm fizzles and I bail, leaving projects either incomplete or hastily thrown together. Because of this chronic lack of follow through I tend to be very hard on myself. My inner dialogue regarding this less than desirable character trait is pretty harsh and ugly, but last night I stopped the conversation.

Last night, as I started drifting off to sleep with the list of all my unfinished work swirling around my brain, I had an epiphany. 38 times I've started a year and 38 times I've finished the year. I have started and finished 38 years, that's 1,976 weeks. 13, 832 days. That might not seem like much to be proud of at first thought but it is.

38 times I have looked a new year in the face and agreed to give it a go. 38 times I have journeyed through the year ... sometimes with smooth sailing, sometimes slogging it uphill the whole way. 38 times I have survived and thrived in whatever the year threw at me and 38 times I finished with a thankful heart.

Life is hard and messy and lovely and exhausting and wonderful and overwhelming. Life is a gift that's almost too much to bear sometimes. Unexpected things happen. Disappointments. Disease. Accidents. Heartbreak. Exhaustion. Depression. Ugliness creeps in and whispers to you to just give up, to call it quits, to allow the darkness to overtake you. But there is another voice. There is the voice of light and life and joy. The voice that reminds you that after every darkness there is light, that finishing is the best way to beat the Ugliness.

I'm proud of myself for finishing 38 years. I'm proud of my stretch marks, scars, laugh lines and extra pounds. I'm proud of the lessons I've learned during this life that I've lived. I'm proud that I know more now that I did ten years ago, that I love myself better and certainly love others better than I did then. I am proud that no matter what life has thrown at me I have stuck to it, I have stayed the course. I am proud to have crossed the finish line 38 times.

The thing is, life isn't a sprint. It's that long race on the oval track (I know, very sporty of me to know the technical jargon), the one where you pass the finish line easily at first but that doesn't mean you're done because there are many more laps. You keep running past the finish line, counting off another lap successfully completed as you continue the race. The finish line becomes less of an end point and more of a marker to how far you've come. Each time you pass it, each time you start a new lap, you sign up for more of whatever the race has for you.

If you're reading this give yourself a pat on the back because you've finished every year that you've started, too. You've not given up. You've kept on moving forward despite hardships, despite difficulties and despite whether you've felt like it or not. You've stepped into each new year, willing to give it another go, whatever may come your way. You are on the track, ticking off laps, too. Yay for you!

And, yay for me, too! 38 laps finished ... many more to go!

Here's to more love, more friends, more growth, more wisdom, more challenges, more victories, more joy, more peace, more compassion and many, many more finishes!

“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don't really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren't really an ending; some things are never-ending.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

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