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Growth and Gratitude: Turning 31 (That Means, I'm Old—Right?)

Growth and Gratitude: Turning 31 (That Means, I'm Old—Right?)

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Growth and Gratitude: Turning 31 (That Means, I'm Old—Right?)

I started last year with an existential crisis about turning 30 years old. Turning three-decades-old made me feel as if my youth had passed me by and all my chances at being a successful man were over. However, the dread of being 30 motivated me to reassess my life and helped me boost my writing career in ways that I had never before imagine. Had it never been for the lows with which I began 2020, I would have never been crazy enough to attempt a writing project that I thought I was doomed to fail — writing 30 articles in 30 days

Some people told me that failing at this large project was only going to make my depression worse. They told me that it was better to do nothing than to do something and fail. In my heart, I knew they were wrong. Many times in my life, the fear of failure had set me back in worse ways than failure itself. It was finally time to get comfortable with the idea of failing. Long story short, I never thought that I would be able to write 30 articles in 30 days. So, of course, I was surprised when I was able to write one article every single day in June of 2020. 

I have already written about the lessons that I learned from my 30-day writing challenge, so I will not repeat myself. But one aspect that I did not write about was the aftermath of completing a big goal. Obviously, I was very happy to have met my goal, but when I found myself at the top of the proverbial mountain I was lost. The last lesson I learned was that challenges help us grow, but if we do nothing with that growth it is like being stuck at the bottom all over again.

I think it is fair to say that 2020 was a difficult year for many people. But, if there was one silver lining in 2020, it is that the chaotic year made me learn to value the little things in my life that matter. I know it sounds cliche to say this, but perhaps there is a reason why for so many years countless authors, songwriters, etc. have been telling us infinite variations of "seize the day." 

I do not have a list of 2021 New Year's Resolutions (although I am almost certain that another writing challenge is in the works — 31 articles in 31 days perhaps?). If anything, I have only one true goal for this year — to be more grateful.

Maybe, I have struggled taking care of my health in the past, but now I realize that this was because I was never fully grateful that I had moderately good health. Instead of promising that in 2021 I will get in better shape, I want to commit myself to not take my body for granted. I want to treat this body that has done so much for me with love and care. Equally, I want to value my mental health by appreciating how amazing my life is, by being more present and aware of my surroundings, and by enjoying the highs and learning from the lows.

Last year was the first year in my life that I did not get to see my family. My family has always been an important part of my life, so not being able to see them was a debilitating blow. But, I am also eternally grateful that they are happy and healthy and that despite everything that 2020 threw at the world, our love is still as strong as ever — even if it is only expressed via text messages, emojis, and the occasional video call.

I am also grateful to all the other people who were a part of my life in 2020. I am thankful to all the people who showed me kindness and love, to all the friends who shared stories and smiles with me, to all the awesome people who gave me a platform to earn a living, and even to all the people who challenged me (and even broke my heart); without these people, my wonderful life would not be the same. In 2021, I want to make sure that the people I love know how much I appreciate having them in my life and that I stop taking them for granted because I never know when they, or maybe even me, might be gone.

As with the first few days in any new year, I am still struggling to understand that this year is now 2021. My small lizard brain fails to process that a date that seems to be the setting of a sci-fi story is actually the year I am currently living through. Even worse, I am now 31, an age that as a child seemed ancient and impossible. And yet, this is reality — it is 2021 and I am 31-years-old. I am not quite sure what to expect of this next year, but here's my advice for myself (feel free to apply it to yourself as well): remember if things ever start looking really bad, "you could be in the belly of a saber-tooth tiger, dead with dysentery, or perished by pirates, but instead you are online reading this article" — and in the history of humankind that means you are pretty special.

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