30. Memento Mori.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

For the last 30 years, storms have played a significant role in my life and, specifically, tend to occur on the anniversary of my birth. The drop in pressure, the break in the clouds and the sky washing everything anew has always been pretty symbolic for me. This year has been no different. 2020’s storm came in the form of physical rain and emotional turmoil set to the backdrop of a global pandemic. How’s that for a 30th birthday?

Yet for every storm that blows my way, I am reminded of its cleansing power and the support system that shelters me. On today, of all days, under the very real health crisis and a state on the precipice of a full shutdown, I found rays of sunshine peeking through the looming clouds. I was reminded of the community that has embraced me. I was reminded of the friendships that have flourished and the love that has bloomed within me for the people in my life.

A dear friend gave me a card that soothed my battered soul. It started with,”You told me on the day you were born it was storming, and has stormed pretty much every birthday since. I think this is the universe’s way of celebrating you; a beautiful storm and force in our world.” How can you not feel the love and warmth in those words? I’ve reread the card countless times today in an effort to embody the person she sees.

To be quite honest, these last few months have been anything but easy. I have been thrusted into my 30’s more confused, frustrated, anxious, sad, exhausted, and scared than I was for much of my late-20’s. To read the aforementioned quote on the page, and the rest of the card accompanying it, reminded me that it’s okay to be a storm. It’s okay to have passion, to wear my heart on my sleeve, to be determined and driven to do more. I’ve spent the last few months worrying that I may be too much. I was plagued with unease about being intimidating, aggressively vocal, and off-putting. I felt myself closing off from the world and the people I love. But is that true to who I am?

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day…The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”

Seneca

Lately, I’ve renewed my interest in philosophy and have been pondering this concept of memento mori. Memento Mori roughly translates to “remember you are mortal (or remember you must die).” This idea of meditating on one’s death is not as morbid as one may think. Instead, it calls for us to live each day to the fullest and try to rest our heads each night with a balanced “book.”

I’ve had no problem with living each day to the fullest. My 20’s have been a wild ride. At this point, I could list off major accomplishments, but to be honest, I’ve found that doing such doesn’t bring me peace anymore. Instead, I will say that every decision I’ve made, especially those that impact others, I place upon the scale within my heart. Not all of them lead to a path that I desire, but those choices have always been true in the moment that I make them. And that, I’m okay with.

I suppose this is how I’m entering my 30’s: unsure and scared, but true to who I am. My life seems to mimic slow drying concrete. Some edges have begun to set while others seem to constantly take on a freshly poured state. And that’s okay.

Here’s to 30.

Thank you for reading,

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