Twenty-five years ago on this very day, I emerged into this world. I would show you a picture of baby Jen, but I actually don’t have any available to me. So, just imagine me, except tiny and baby-like with blue eyes and blonde hair, because those are the traits I had for the first few months of my life according to my family.
I pondered on what one writes about on their blog for their birthday. I thought about just posting nothing as a birthday gift to myself, but I like posting, so I decided against it. I thought I’d write 25 things about myself, but that seemed like cheating. Then I considered what this blog is really all about and I thought I’d write some of the things I’ve learned about my life in the last 25 years. Especially in the last 3 or so years. I’ve done a lot of growing both personally and professionally and I really want to look back on this day and remember the person I was, so here I go.
1. I am a good person. I have value in this world and I have a lot to offer.
2. On a related note, if someone finds me wanting, it has a lot more to do with their own stuff and a whole lot less to do with my stuff. What matters is that I love me (see #1)
3. If I think positively about things and look at my life through a filter of positivity, I will be a generally happy person.
4. I am responsible for how I feel and think about something. No one is responsible for making me feel a certain way.
5. There are things in my past that have hurt me. This does not give me a right to feel victimized, entitled, or angry. It gives me the power to understand who I am, what I need, and how I can heal myself. I am responsible for taking care of myself.
6. There are people I have wronged, hurt, and been unkind to in my past. It is senseless and counterproductive to continue to beat myself up or shame myself for these transgressions. I can not change what I did, I can only control what I do in the future and the forgiveness and compassion I choose to show myself.
7. I have learned to be kind because I am not the only person who is struggling. We are all fighting a hard battle.
8. When I want something to change, I am responsible for being my own advocate. I must identify and understand how I feel and think, before I expect anyone else to understand me.
9. Throwing myself a pity party is the worst way I can handle a problem.
10. The world is a lovely place.
11. I am in a perpetual state of self-improvement.
12. I require friends who support me, encourage me, and accept me. If I cannot find these people, I am better off without them.
13. Move. Just keep moving.
14. The only person I can change is myself.
15. The last thing I should do when I’m sad is listen to sad music and talk to another sad person. It’s the worst idea ever, every time.
16. Cooking is by far the best thing I can do to practice mindfulness and clear the garbage out of my skull.
17. I want to change the face of mental health in America. I want to be a direct influence on how we choose to seek health services. I want to provide an alternative to the healthcare we have in this country. I want the world to see there is another way.
18. All of the “bad” things that happened to me have shaped the person I have become. I would not trade that person for anything in the world.
19. Always carry a bottle of water.
20. Drink in moderation.
21. I must nurture my spirituality. It is the way I conceptualize the things in my life I cannot control. It is how I apply meaning to my existence.
22. In the words of Kanye, “If you love somebody, you should go ahead and tell them. People never get their flowers while they can still smell ’em.”
24. Laugh as often and as much as possible.
25. Before I do anything, I must love myself first.