Tomorrow I celebrate twenty-nine years on this planet. I celebrate the last year of my twenties. I celebrate my waning youth. I celebrate the approach of full-fledged adulthood. (These days, it seems like you almost HAVE to be thirty to be taken seriously as an adult.) I celebrate the longevity of my youthful appearance — and I sure hope I keep getting the people who think I’m five to ten years younger than I really am.
Over the nearly-three decades of my life, I’ve watched as people either “outgrow” their birthdays or continue to embrace that one special day that marks a whole other trip around the shining sun. I have decided I want to be in the latter group. For every year I make it through a complete orbit, I want to celebrate with cake, good meals, and good company. I want to embrace the day as a day of gratitude for the life I’ve lived, the life I’m living, and the life I will live. Life is a very precious gift that doesn’t last very long in the grand scheme of things. Each passing day is an opportunity to grow and change as an individual.
I’m setting an intention for this 30th year ahead of my: to grow as an individual and come into my own as a respected adult member of the community; to continue cultivating myself, my relationships, my sense of community, and my dreams. I fully intent to continue my Cultivate project that I started in January. As I’ve said in the past, it was really meant to help me start living my life instead of simply muddling through my days. I’d love for some others to share the experience and be blessed by my project, too, but I do understand that this isn’t a project for everyone. And I’m comfortable with that because I need this transformation now more than ever. The old methods are outdated. It’s time for change. It’s time to grow up and grow wiser.
After a night of vivid dreaming, I felt compelled to search for the meanings of the dreams. Now of course, I’m not sure I want to bother searching dream dictionaries — I’m pretty sure my dreams were specifically meant for me to decipher based on my own unique situation. The recurring theme? I’m living with far too much regret and taking on way too much stress. I’m quite certain that my subconscious is trying to tell me to let go of the regret, much like I let go of guilt. I very easily deleted drafts for the past Thankful Thursday and Foodie Friday posts. I need to translate that simplicity to regrets. So what if I didn’t know things would have worked out just fine had we stayed in Gainesville! I’m supposed to be learning lessons right now. I’m supposed to be meeting certain people right now. There’s no reason to regret this move anymore, even if I find that I’m unhappy with the overall big picture. I’ve learned that happiness is a practice more than a state of being during this time frame. I’ve met wonderful people during this time frame. I’ve thought about where I’d like to be and what I’d like to do during this time frame. It wasn’t a regrettable mistake — it was a necessary step for growth and change.
I’d love to hear about what your dreams have been trying to tell you. What messages are you receiving?
Everywhere I look there are signs that I need to be more patient — that I need to cultivate my dreams a little more before they can come to life. I need to learn to enjoy the here and now — to LIVE in the here and now — before I can get to the next steps. I’m rather impatient, though. I want my dreams, and I want them now. Days pass by so fast that I feel like my time’s running out faster than it actually is. Truth be told, that scares me. I’m afraid that I’ll never reach my goals, that I’ll never live my dreams. I don’t know if I’m more scared of failure than I am of stagnation. The thought of being stuck in this rut for the rest of my life terrifies me, but I know that my projects aren’t ready yet. They’re like my babies in a way — they need gestation. They need love, nurturing, and growth before I can release them to the world. And much like a baby, my dream will fail if I throw it out too soon. So, I need to cultivate more patience. I need to be comfortable with here and now. I need to be comfortable waiting. Waiting for everything to fall into place isn’t a sign of failure, weakness, or lack of ambition — it’s a sign that I’m confident enough with myself and with my dreams to give myself and my dreams the time and space needed to fulfill potential.
Today we went to the Chattanooga Zoo with my grandparents. We spent a lot of time together looking at all the animals — leopards, peacocks, various primates, and of course the capybara. I’ve grown a fondness for the adorable 3.5′ tall creature that resembles a guinea pig. And this little guy at the zoo was more than cooperative today. He seemed ready for a photo-shoot, which was good — I was itching to capture his cuteness. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera and had to improvise with my phone’s camera. I’m just extremely grateful I had a means of taking his picture and got to spend quality time with my family. We had a lot of fun looking at all the animals and petting the goats in the petting zoo. I also enjoyed having lunch with my grandparents at a great local restaurant (The Terminal Brewhouse has some gluten free options and wonderful homemade root beer). I hope your Thursday was filled with many things to be thankful for!
I’ve been asked about Cultivate 2012 after unveiling the mailing list, and I realized that maybe my #Reverb11 audience didn’t stick around to find out about the Cultivate series in January. So, I’d like to recap the Cultivate series a bit:
Cultivate is about growing as an individual and pursuing that which brings us happiness. It’s about taking the time to care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our environment (on both a micro and macro scale). Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the word “cultivate:”
- to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops; also : to loosen or break up the soil about (growing plants)
- a : to foster the growth of (cultivate vegetables) b : culture 2a c : to improve by labor, care, or study : refine (cultivate the mind)
- further, encourage (cultivate the arts)
- to seek the society of : make friends with
Cultivate will consist of monthly prompts that involve checking in with ourselves and our intentions, as well as planning ahead. Cultivate will culminate in a month-long evaluation and planning phase each December, incorporating prompts and suggestions. There’s no pressure to complete each prompt, and there aren’t any rules — except to have fun and be kind to ourselves. Use the hashtags #cultivate, #cultivate12, and #cultivate2012 to share your responses if you choose to share them publicly.
When I began the Cultivate series in January, I wanted to share the experience with my readers — to encourage my readers to follow along with me on their own personal journeys of cultivation. By June I realized I wasn’t being a very good leader-by-example. I was practically ignoring my own aspirations to cultivate a life in which I’m thriving instead of simply surviving. I decided to name my personal Cultivate journey “Operation Summer Vacation” — a plan to cultivate a life everyday feels like summer vacation from those magical years of childhood. By the end of the summer, I found that I was putting too much pressure on myself to make leaps in my life. I’m recovering from a very difficult period in my life. I need gentleness and kindness,not impatience and rushing. I need moments of silence and solitude, focusing on the breath, releasing the thoughts and words — healing from within.
This has been my personal journey. Starting in December, I’ll begin a month-long evaluation and planning period. I invite you to join me. Sign up for the email list to receive the prompts.
I’m contemplating assuming the Burmese position to meditate. Today started the 40 Days of Thankfulness challenge, encouraging participants to find (at least) one thing to be grateful for each day. I’m thankful that we enjoyed a delicious pot of chili on a chilly day.
Today happens to be another one of those days of which I brainstorm brilliant, thoughtful material and end up blank in front of my keyboard. I don’t understand how this happens nearly every time I attempt to release the flow of thoughts from my mind, but somehow it always does. By the time I sit down to write, though, I’ve spent my day and my energy. How often does that happen to you?
Signs have been jumping out in front of me, flailing about for my attention. I can’t seem to go through a day without signs telling me to follow my path and pursue my dreams. Even though I question myself regularly, I know that this path is the right path. I’m afraid of failing, but I’m even more afraid of letting fear hinder my success. I know what I need to do, and I know where I need to be. I know that there are many changes around the corner, and I need to prepare myself for those changes. Most of all, however, I need to let the signs encourage me instead of making the same revelation over and over again. I need to reach the epiphany already and make the transformation.