Birthday Reflections: 365 days of accomplishments

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Many of you have heard the above quote often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. It remains one of my favorite sayings whether it was written by him or not. In honor of my 22nd birthday tomorrow I decided to honor my favorite quote and measure how close I am to reaching that level of success in my own life.

To laugh often and much Laughing is something I have certainly done this year. Whether with J, my friends, or at ridiculous incidents where certain individuals say 2010 repeatedly, I have had my fair share of laughs.

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children While everyone has their own standard of what intelligent entails, my writing mentor told me recently that he was very proud of my literary accomplishments and that I would find answers to all of my questions and achieve all of my goals in the future. That conversation in itself was an accomplishment. As far as children go, my former Robindel campers who are not kids anymore (they are 13 now) and my little CeCe who is in 1st grade this year all made me beautiful cards for my birthday so I think that aspect is moving along well!

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends While I am still working on turning my “critics” (their level of honesty is debatable) around I have certainly faced the betrayal of false friends this year. While this experience never gets easier, it has taught me so much about myself and my nature to accept people for who they are. As a paranoid perfectionist, betrayal is something that does not sit well with me. The second of the serious disappointments was a recent development and I am still working on reconciling the how and why of this. I feel that I may always wonder how I was so devastatingly wrong about the goodness of these individuals hearts.

To find the best in others While I hate to be angry, I have an amazing memory and have a very hard time letting things go. This year was momentous for me in accomplishing this goal. For many years I was unable to see the best in people that had hurt me, finally I am able to accept some of these people for who they are and forge new relationships that bask in the positive instead of the negative.

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition This is a lifelong work in progress that I strive daily to accomplish. I do not have any children, I live in a postage stamp of an apartment; so negative on the garden, but I have tried my best to be as active in standing up for the social inequalities and injustices that I recognize.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived I hope I have helped members of my family and friends breathe easier, but this goal is also a life long work in progress.

All in all, it has been a big 21st year of life. I was able to legally drink in the US, I graduated from College, I became an Alpha Delta Pi alumna, I was hired for my first real full time job before I had even graduated college, I started this blog, I finally trained my dog to behave (most of the time), I made some amazing new friends and rid myself of several negative people. All in all I think this year has been a great success. Here is to the continued goal of reaching Emerson’s theory of success in year 22!

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