A Year in Review, From a Year Ago

I wrote this on my 26th birthday, May 24th, 2012. I just celebrated my 27th birthday, last Friday and took a moment to reflect on how far I have come in two years. Though this was written almost exactly a year ago: I find it to be motivating and impressive:

A Year in Review

Today I turn 26. I’ve been pretty excited about my birthday for the last couple of weeks. I’m excited every year, but this year is a little different and here’s why.

May is a month of activity. It’s no different for anyone and can get chaotic trying to fit in all the activities one is invited to and all the summer adventures one wants to take. 
It’s a month of renewal for me, I pick up with an evening porch sit, resume my strenuous hiking regime, and also reflect and relax and find time to be grateful – more so than usual. 
As I was planning my birthday celebration, I though back on the events of my birthday last year. 
Just a little context: I moved back from Hawaii in March of 2011.  On May 1st, my lucky break came when I had a fantastic interview at Leisure Publishing, in Roanoke, Virginia. With in two days I was offered the position of Editorial Designer. I accepted and moved to Roanoke on May 21st. Unfortunately, on May 22nd my boyfriend of 5 years and I mutually decided to break up – he was still living in Hawaii at the time. I started work for Leisure on the 23rd. 
I was alone, in a new town, with a new job, and had a looming quarter century birthday. I headed home from work on May 24th, 2011 to grab sushi at the local health food store and cracked open a beer. I set down and watched a TV on my computer. I was content. I ate what I wanted. Watched what I wanted. Did what I wanted. 
While this birthday may seem dull or perhaps insignificant for turning 25 – those couldn’t be descriptions further from the truth. I had made choices that were hard in the past few months that set me up to be alone on my birthday in a new town, but I knew that it was a transformative period. I was doing this for ME. I was taking an uncomfortable step to walk in happiness for the rest of my life. 
I changed my mind set in the coming year. I accepted myself. I worked (and continue to each day) to be more confident, more understanding, more educated, and more compassionate. I read more, I watch less TV. I walk more and drive less. I see my family more and pine for them less. I force myself to grow more and shy away from uncomfortable situations less. I listen more and judge less. I take care of my skin, I’ve learned how to do new hair styles, I lift weights all the time, I’ve picked up backpacking, and I am excelling in my professional and personal life. 
On August 27th, Chad came to Roanoke and we talked just an hour before deciding to get back together. It was an informed choice and it was the right decision. I am more aware of my actions, more accepting of his personality, and more excited then ever to have a best friend as a mate. 
I’ve seen my niece and nephew more than a half dozen times in the past year – that’s more than triple what I’ve enjoyed for the past three! My brother and I attended our third U2 concert. My Dad and I attended the first West Virginia State Girl’s Basketball Tournament this past March that I was not an athlete on the floor. We had a blast as spectators. My Mom and I bonded when she visited and slept on my couch – one that she gave me. I visited my extended family in Ohio for the first time in 4 years. I’ve seen my best friend twice in the same year, unheard of since college. Chad and I have walked countless miles through Roanoke’s neighborhoods and parks, with Griz lobbying for just a little bit longer walk. I was promoted in November and have received two raises in my job.  I’ve become involved in the Roanoke Arts community and am working to become a part of the youth sports community. 
I’ve put down roots. But more importantly I’ve done everything that is aligned with my passions and goals. I am happy. I am inspired. Motivated. Enthusiastic. And extremely grateful for that quiet 25th birthday that set me on a path paved in gold.

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