It has been so long since my last post, and trust me when I say how much this bothers me. With oodles to catch up on (so many posts will be coming your way soon), I decided to do something a little different today. While today is just like any other day, at the same token, I was born today. Monday, August 19th, 1985 at 9:17 p.m. to be exact. And ever since I can remember, on my birthday and exactly at 9:17 p.m., my mom would call me to wish me a ‘Happy Birthday’ or, if I were in town we would celebrate with an ice cream cake (my absolute favorite).
Last year my mom was undergoing chemotherapy treatment and for the first time ever, she was too tired and weak to call me at 9:17 p.m. It’s funny how something I was so used to and, to be honest, took for granted, struck me when it didn’t happen. I remember have a mix of feelings that came rushing out in a collage of silence when the clock switched over and I turned 28. The first lesson I received when I turned 28 was to never take anything for granted.
Not to bore you with the details of the past 365 days, allow me to sum it up by saying that year 28? It was a tough, difficult book to swallow. The challenges, obstacles and hardships are all lessons I am learning to be thankful for, and truly would never wish upon my worst enemy. That said, as I sit here reflecting on year 28 (or book 28), I thought I would write down some of the greatest lessons I learned. Some may be a little more on the dark side compared to the smiling Meaghan you always see. Some are very much the Meaghan you know. Some are valuable lessons to learn. 28 facts and summaries from book 28… here we go:
1.) People come into your life like seasons. And yes, everything does happen for a reason. Not to quote Kanye West by any means, but nothing is promised tomorrow, today. I have lost a lot of friends in the past year. In the same sense, I have gained so many sweet, genuine souls to my life. People come and people go. Hold on to the ones that hold on to you.
2.) If you are vulnerable enough to open your heart up to someone, be prepared for your heart to have the possibility of breaking by that person. And learn to be vulnerable around those who prove to you that you matter, and that they want you in their life.
3.) Promises only matter if you have integrity.
4.) Not everyone has integrity.
5.) Gas stations do not accept Panera Bread cards. Watch out for the pump; it trips you every time. And falling on your car can add instant humor to those getting gas around you. Laugh along with them.
6.) The people who have known you longest in life? They are the ones to hold on to. They will never judge you for your honesty and they always know the ‘right’ thing to say to make you feel better.
7.) This one is a bit vulgar: Everyone has an opinion, like everyone has an asshole. I will never forget saying this to my mom while she was undergoing chemotherapy. It seems that when you look sick, people want to offer their two cents and advice. My mom and I had this tradition of grabbing a bite to eat prior to her chemo, and she could never eat her meal without being stared at by strangers. One particular time, a comment from a stranger brought her down and I said to her, “Mom- everyone has an opinion, like everyone has an asshole.” Perhaps not the most ladylike, and defiantly not something I would preach to my mom in any other circumstance, but she started cracking up. And quotes me on that to this day, along with reminding me of this charming little fact when life tries to get the best of me.
8.) You may surprise yourself with your own strength. When coming up with this list and reviewing the past 365 days? I am shocked I didn’t check into a hospital or stop getting out of bed. 28 most defiantly presented me with hardships I would never wish upon my worst enemy. But to get through them, to find hope and beauty in struggles? That’s the lesson, and purpose, of all pain.
9.) Watching someone fight for their life is a beautiful, powerful struggle. And it teaches you lessons you never expected to learn. It puts so much into perspective.
10.) Laughter IS the best medicine. So laugh always, laugh often and learn to laugh at yourself.
11.) Glitter is ALWAYS a great idea. And don’t get me started on confetti.
12.) Not being married, not having children, not owning a house is okay. Everyone has their own version of the “American Dream.” Work on your own. Do what makes you happy. And support others on their dreams rather than ridiculing them on their own happiness.
13.) It’s completely acceptable to be angry and to share your frustrations. Smiling, happy people with curls in their hair and three layers of mascara are allowed to fall apart from time to time (yes, I am speaking of myself… and I am sorry for those who saw me at my weakest moments).
14.) Sweat pants are the greatest comfort aside from a bear hug. Take what you can get, when you can get it.
15.) Sometimes in the darkest moments in your life, you find meaning and understanding. Knowing what I want to do with my life is thrilling. The next steps in making it happen? While frightening, are so exciting. “If your dreams don’t scare you? They aren’t big enough.” These dreams of mine? They are huge. Stay tuned…
16.) Take advantage of EVERY opportunity thrown your way. Even if it may add more to your plate. Regret is not fun. And opportunities may not always be around. So take that trip. Max out your credit cards. Do something that makes you afraid.
17.) Don’t try and define everything. Just live and let be.
18.) Consider the source. Consider the source. Consider the source.
19.) Hearts are everywhere. They sometimes find you.
20.) If someone cuts you off while driving, you simply have to take off your heart shaped sunnies when giving them angry gestures or the message gets mixed in love.
21.) When cleaning a one-bedroom rental, don’t place furniture on unstable elements. Because it WILL fall and it will likely fall directly on your face. This is a true story.
22.) Celebrate every milestone. Even if you feel it may be silly. You never know when you may not be able to do certain things in life, or when people will leave you. Remember to let those in your life know what they mean to you before it’s too late.
23.) Kate Spade is equal parts glorious and equal parts pure evil. I love her.
24.) I do declare that people bring others down to feel confident within themselves and their own insecurities. Don’t forget to love yourself every once in awhile.
25.) Never let a day go by without letting those in your life know what they mean to you. I say this a lot. In fact, I hinted at it during fact 22. But it’s such an important statement.
26.) When the CEO, Creative Director AND the Artistic Director all “like” your photo on Instagram AND regram another photo of yours? It’s like being hugged by hundreds of strangers, but in the good kind of way. I couldn’t stop smiling once that happened. I still can’t stop smiling over that. And I am obsessed with Shop Ban.do. Once you’re done reading this, head over to their site, shop, fall in love and thank me later 🙂
27.) One word: Resilience. I am resilient. It took me a long time to discover this, and I am still not 100% the Meaghan I was at 24 or 27. But you can bounce back from the impossible and learn to never look backwards… only forward.
28.) I’m human. I have made plenty of mistakes and I will likely continue to do so. The lessons I’ve learned in the mistakes I’ve made have taught me more than anything I have learned in any classroom (apologies to all teachers and professors in my life). I am flawed. But I am human. While 28 truly beat me up, I am looking forward to the lessons of 29. Cheers to you 28. And hello, 29.