It’s my birthday! Even though I don’t really do anything special for my birthday and haven’t since I was a teenager, it’s still always one of my favorite days of the year. This is another instance where my child-like antics persist. I have no shame about it though; there’s nothing wrong with finding joy in things. I love my birthday because it always is a day that I find instinctually easier to love and appreciate myself. It’s one day out of the year where my self-esteem is not so low that I critique every little aspect of myself; instead, my brain focuses on the aspects of myself that I’m proud of. It’s a beautiful difference and a strange musketeer of sorts in terms of how it seems to come so naturally every year on my birthday and is such a daunting struggle most other days. It’s definitely a valuable goal to try and embody this more self-appreciative “birthday” mindset.
The other reason I love my birthday is that it’s a great milepost to reflect on growth and improvement over the year. Aside from the first of the year, it’s the easiest day to think about the previous full trip around the sun because the start and endpoint are readily identifiable and easy to remember.
This past year has been one of tremendous personal progress. I have grown socially, intellectually, and most of all, emotionally. I feel like my self-efficacy to do so many daily tasks and bigger demands has grown leaps and bounds. I’m so much more self-reliant, brave, independent, and responsible for myself and our home. I’m much better at my role as a spouse (at least I think so), take far better care of the home, and can self-soothe with PTSD and other emotional challenges that would previously inevitably require physical, in-person support from Ben or my mom. I’ve put in another full year of hard work at my job, which has enabled me to contribute more to our household expenses. I believe I’ve become a better listener, a more effective communicator, a more loving and dependable supportive and stable wife, and a reliable friend to those who offer me the chance at the role. I’ve made huge strides in my personal life and am I actually in awe of my improvements. I recognize I still have a long way to go and quite a number of domains in my life that need massive growth, but so far, my thirties have been remarkable in terms of becoming a better person and living my best life. As corny as this may sound, I can’t think of a much greater gift. I’ve received a lot of support from my loved ones, from dedicated professionals, and from goodness and luxuries I’ve been afforded in the world. It’s also true that a lot of this progress has been earned from my own efforts, my own legwork, my own hard work to push myself. While I prefer to be modest, it’s important to recognize my own contributions and responsibility in the positive changes I’ve made because it serves as “evidence” that I myself can help myself be who I want to be and grow in the ways I want to grow. I hope this coming year is another one in which I discover more about my strengths and find ways to continue shaping myself and my life into the more ideal versions I envision. I have goals to become more confident, exhibit more self-compassion, and keep improving on my roles as wife, daughter, aunt, sister, employee, and friend.