Today is my birthday, which I love (along with the whole month of August). It’s also Independence Day in India, the Feast of the Assumption for Catholics, Ben Affleck’s birthday, ditto Napoleon, Julia Child, and Jennifer Lawrence. Just a few fun facts for you…
As I mentioned yesterday, the past year was a big one. I learned and grew. That’s how a year goes, right? I still love large watches and bright dresses (see above), but I’m different, too. I made big changes and found hard-won discoveries. There were breakthroughs, a therapist might say.
I went into my 33rd year hearing that it carried some gravitas. The year the Buddha attained enlightenment and Jesus was crucified, people told me. My Larry Bird Year my friends in Boston said. Race Menu even Photoshopped my head onto Bird’s body, which was a favorite social media moment as far as birthdays go. I’ll be damned if I can find it now… Here’s a photo of my actual head on my actual body sent by my mom this week. Also entertaining.
33 was big in every way, and it would be absurdly hard to narrow down what I learned into a pithy post, but I’ll try. After all, it was the year I embraced the mantra: Done is better than perfect, and I kid you not, this rippled through my life in the best of ways.
Because, ultimately, what I learned was how to be more daring, how to stop tripping over myself trying to do it right, and better cope with people who are addicted to telling everybody else they’re doing it wrong. I fully realized that the closest people to any of us should be our biggest champions, brightest inspirations, and most trusted confidantes. This doesn’t mean our inner circle at work or play shouldn’t challenge and confront us. They should. But they should also ultimately help illuminate our best and be tender with our worst.
I came to the conclusion that it’s best not to argue with your feelings. They know what they’re talking about. I embraced the Buddhist teaching that, “In the end, only three things matter: how well we have lived, how well we have loved, and how well we have learned to let go.” I let go of a lot of things. I let go of TV. But I did discover Friday Night Lights and Downton Abbey on Hulu. (Holy crap, they’re awesome. Of all these life lessons, why did getting on the wagon to watch these shows take me so long?). I watch about an hour or two of TV a week now, compared to a night in recent years, falling into the familiar trap of turning it on while doing other things or to avoid doing other things out of habit. I made new friends, and I let the trusted old ones see me at my worst. I did my best everywhere I could and got bold enough to share it. I wrote what I wanted to read. I dressed as crazy as I liked. I went to Asia. I learned how fast a group of yogis can bond when they want to, have the time, and jet lag strips away anything resembling pretense. I gave myself permission to steer clear of yoga pretense.
I let you, readers, see me angry. I let my heart break and shatter and crack in half, and then, I figured out how to put it back together again. I exposed myself more– to risk, readers, feelings, and failure. In many ways, I grew up, and in other ways, I let loose. I went to concerts. I studied writing by being in the audience of musicians who concentrate so much feeling into so few words– one line or lyric. My life, in the past year, was messy and miraculous together, and, at the risk of sounding like Bill Belichick, I got slightly better at saying, “It is what it is.”
And I want to thank you for being part of it. Thank you for spending your time on OG. Thank you for spending it examining your life, health, and yoga– since that’s what we do here. You are a gift, even if we’ve never met.
Now, it’s time to put on your party dress, favorite crazy accessories, yoga pants, or running shoes, and do something to celebrate. Don’t celebrate me. Celebrate you. Celebrate life. Don’t worry so much about how, just do something wholehearted or healthy, fun or fierce. Take a deep breathe (or 34 of them). Make a wish. Be a wish. Say a prayer. Do a dance. Repeat a mantra. Turn off the TV. Call an old friend. Email a new friend. Make a cake or write a chapter, and share it boldly. Practice living, loving, and letting go. And remember, done is better than perfect.
Much love & gratitude,