Celebrate Your Life in All Seasons
Photography by the amazing Misty Jones Photography. I love you, sweet friend. Thanks for always encouraging me.
There was someone I met once as a child.
When she was a little girl, she was painfully shy and usually had her nose in a book to avoid talking to people. She started reading chapter books at age 4, and throughout her kindergarten and first-grade year, she discovered that people were happy when she performed well.
In the third grade, I remember her being the new girl in class, even though she wasn’t new to the school. Her parents and teachers had decided to have her skip second grade. Now she was shy and also out of place- like a bird sitting in the wrong nest. Her celebrated grades plummeted, and she overheard the teacher share with her parents that she “didn’t know what was wrong with her…She has so much potential.”
Over the years, when those around her believed in her, she soared. When she wasn’t achieving in very measurable ways or found struggle, she’d plummet.
We grew up together, and I watched her get married really young- she’d just turned 19. Then, promises were broken, and she was divorced by 22. Somehow she managed to work two or three jobs at a time and graduate college with a 4.0. Her mom couldn’t attend her graduation, but promised her she’d watch her graduate with her master’s degree. She meant to keep her promise, but cancer had other plans.
She finished her master’s degree, found a good career, and remarried six years later. She was sure this time, or so she’d say. He had the intelligence she craved to know, but her ongoing achievements threatened him. She started a business, and he’d somehow make her wins a punch in his face. After 12 years of relationship, he chose someone else. The details were very public and humiliating. 34 and twice divorced.
But she had her business. She had her friends and removed some from her social account for no other reason than she didn’t want to be seen until she was through the storm. She got back up, and then she shifted her business to what was best for her, closing a successful clinic and letting go of staff she loved, to take her practice on her own. It was painful, but it was right for where she was. It was the first time she had done something for herself and not for what was best for another. It took a lot for her to move forward for herself and by herself.
The girl I once knew was me.
I was ashamed of my story, my truth, for many years. I faced a deep rejection from someone I saw a life with when I told him my truth. Eventually, someone was ok with me, but what was more important is that I was ok with me. I remarried (third time’s a charm, right?) It’s not perfect, but we’re still standing! Now 44, I get asked all the customary questions one is asked at this age without children.
“Are you going to have them?”
“What about adoption? Have you guys talked about that?”
“There’s nothing like being a mother! Have you thought about kids?”
People are well-meaning, and I know nothing is meant to hurt, but the last 4 years especially have been a private time for me of much mourning what hasn’t been. Having been a speech-language pathologist for 19 years now, children are much a part of my world, and I adore them. The emotional pain and the physical pain sustained from two car accidents in 2014 and 2015 actually gave birth to something to celebrate.
In 2018, I began to fulfill a life-long dream of being a professional writer. I wanted to retain some work with children, but my emotional well-being needed something else for my time to fill as well. I found a whole new second and flourishing career, because all of me didn’t have to die just because a piece of my heart sometimes feels like it has.
I trust in plans God has orchestrated for me ever since he molded the shy but highly curious child I was. Life celebrations don’t only need to be marked by graduations, marriages, pregnancy announcements, and milestone birthdays.
I celebrate that I’m 44 and full of life.
I celebrate the tenacity that moves me to the next goal- not to attain it for someone’s approval, but because it’s mine to reach.
I celebrate my intelligence.
I celebrate that I’m a person who knows exactly who she is.
I celebrate that despite the loss of love and loved ones, I still have a huge capacity to love.
I celebrate the visions I have made realities and those yet to see their birth.
I rejoice in a faithful God who still has gifts to offer me to unwrap greater than anything I could dream for myself.
If you’re wildly talented at something, you don’t need to diminish your gifts. If you are a brainiac, it’s ok to know you’re smart, and it doesn’t mean you lack humility. How you use those gifts will show your humility and grace. I see through the eyes of an adult now that I was ashamed of my talents as a child. I hid behind myself to not be seen. Be seen! You were designed to shine as only you can!
If you’ve wondered when you’ll have something to celebrate, I’d challenge you to make that time now. Take imperfect action towards what you want, and remember that there is no one path to success. Most of all, remember to celebrate all you are in this present season.
Thank you again, Misty Jones Photography, for your amazing talent behind the camera and for your friendship! I’m grateful to have these beautiful snapshots that will remind me for years of exactly who I was today.