I celebrated a birthday earlier this month: number 32. I was grateful to my husband who cooked a nice dinner for me; and, I responded to all of my well-wishes from friends and family. Additionally, the temperatures were warm and the sun was shining in Chicago–it usually snows on my birthday–providing an overall lovely day. All in all, I felt that I was ready to take on the world, albeit a year older.
As I always do on my birthday, I reflected on my life. Frankly, what I envisioned my life to be at this point never came to pass. I had lofty ideas five years ago: with my engineering PhD in hand, wearing fierce suits, I just knew by now that I would be on track to take over the corporate world. In reality, however, it did not quite happen that way. I am not stating all of this to begrudge my current state nor any decisions that I have made thus far. But a birthday post from a colleague gave me pause to reconsider my life again. As I thought more and more about my journey through life, I decided that not only am I getting older, I am getting better.
I exchanged engineering school for culinary trial and error, cookbooks, and recipes. I traded the fierce suits for t-shirts and yoga pants. I swapped the corporate takeover for the entrepreneurial coup. And I am all the happier for it. Although leaving school was one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made, I realized soon after that it was, perhaps, the best decision that I could have made.
I have minimized my stress levels and replaced unhealthy eating–I am an emotional eater–with more healthy meals that I or my husband cook each day. I have started to exercise again in order to train for that elusive marathon that is on my bucket list. I have started a business, a personal dream of which I am incredibly proud. I have spent more time with family and friends whom I had begun to neglect due to school commitments. In particular, I have been able to strengthen my marriage, which was so important during this major transition.
So, even though I experienced a few unconventional twists and turns as I got older, I believe that they have made me a better person. I feel that my experiences have given rise to someone who is eager to live life and recognizes each and every blessing. Perhaps the most important blessing of my getting older is that I have learned that I am happy. And, that is all that matters.