Today is my birthday ... my thirtieth birthday. The approach of this milestone has stirred up a lot of emotions in me, but today it has me feeling absolutely grateful. I love my life and feel blessed with where I'm at and what I've been given. So I'd like to reflect on the best parts and the things I've appreciated most, in no particular order, of my first thirty years of life:
1. That I was born at this point in history. I think the turn of the twentieth century is a fascinating time. So much is changing and there's such incredible creativity and talent around us.
2. My childhood. I was truly given a childhood. I was loved, encouraged, protected and sheltered from having to grow up too quickly. This was absolutely a gift.
3. Travel. My parents instilled a love of travel -- of visiting new places, going on adventures, seeing how others live, opening one's mind -- in my sister and me at a young age. I've gotten to visit nearly forty countries on six continents. And I can't wait to see more!
4. Being a girl. I love being a girl. We rock.
5. Art. Painting, drawing, sculpting, designing, visiting museums, experiencing other people's art -- these are some of my favorite things.
6. My mom. I'm convinced she's the best mother in the world. She's absolute love.
7. School. I've always loved school and I've been able to study at some great places. I miss the experience but am so grateful for the education I received.
8. Laughing. I try not to take myself too seriously and I relish seeing the humor in something, especially when I can laugh about it with someone else.
9. Books I've read. There's nothing like being taken away into a story.
10. My health. It's one of the most important things one can have and I want to always protect it.
11. The beach. Walking on a beach in the Caribbean, the sun above and water at my feet, is bliss.
12. My dad. He's the most real and truthful person I know and he's shown me the freedom that can be found in seeing things the way they really are and being true to oneself.
13. Home. It's more than just shelter; it's my own little corner of the world where everything is comfortable and good.
14. Awareness. I've always been sort of an observer. I'd rather take everything in than have everyone looking at me. But I've been able to see some pretty beautiful things because of it.
15. Faith. My beliefs, spirituality and religion are my foundation.
16. My sister. She's utterly amazing and the friendship I have with her is unlike any other.
17. Moving. Running, dancing, skiing, whatever -- I am grateful to have a body that allows me to move and push myself.
18. Style. It's a joy to be able to express myself through the way I dress. And I have some pretty great shoes.
19. Him. I met the love of my life when I was nineteen. He's wonderful and a true partner. I still can't believe I'm living out my own love story with him.
20. Family. I adore my crazy mix of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and siblings who love each other ferociously and unconditionally.
21. The pup. When we got our dog nearly five years ago, my heart opened up wider than I thought possible.
22. Simple food. Fruit, fresh bread, cheese, yum.
23. My girlfriends. Whether we met in third grade, middle school or college, I love the layers of bonds, experiences, inside jokes, support and love that have built over the years.
24. Growing. Every year I'm alive, I get to know myself better and learn to trust myself more. I'm grateful for this.
25. Seasons. Maybe it's growing up in the Midwest but I love experiencing the changes throughout the year. I'm attuned to it somehow.
26. My career. Not many people can say they like their job, but I can honestly say I love mine. It's challenging, creative and rewarding.
27. Wine. I always look forward to a glass of wine and the conversations that accompany it.
28. Morning. Waking up and seeing my husband next to me and pup curled at my knees is one of the happiest parts of my day.
29. Now. Having the opportunity to reflect on what I've been given.
30. Next. Looking forward to what's to come!
Photo from here.