As I reflect on turning 30, there's a lot that goes through my mind; sometimes more than I believe I can actually capture in words. About a week ago, I was driving back to Binghamton from New York City and found myself reflecting, which for me, can sometimes be dangerous. I found myself thinking about what I thought I would have accomplished by the time I was 30 and where I thought I'd be.
Totally not there yet!!
I then started thinking about the people around me whom I admire, where they are, and what they've accomplished at the age of 30. That's where the real danger came in. As I traveled on Interstate 380W and thought about these things, I could feel myself sink into a pit. A really dark pit that can be extremely hard to climb out of if you go too far down. A pit of comparison. I began comparing myself and felt like I was 10 steps behind everyone else. Turning 30 is such a milestone and I would have thought that I'd be so much further along in my life. I began to question myself, my future, and my worth. Like I said, it's a really dark pit to fall into.
I immediately recognized where I was headed mentally, and the need to shift my thoughts. I said to myself, "I really don't need to travel down that road. I been there before. And, it ain't pretty!" Next, I thought, "Why don't I just think about the things that I do have, am grateful for, and focus on that?" I figured that would help redirect my thoughts and stop me from diving further into this pit. I started to make a list in my head: my parents, my brothers, my nephews, my extension family, my friends......... As I made this list I then thought, "Oh wait! What if I wrote about 30 things I'm grateful for at 30?! Sort of like my own 30 for 30! That would make a really cool post for my website!" I was excited. "It's been sooooo long since I posted anything. This would be perfect!! Plus, most people say Dirty 30, but I wanna switch it up and do something different." So, I started to make a physical list on my phone (Side note: I don't advise making lists of any kind while you're driving. Especially between 65 and 80 mph on a highway! Just saying).
A few days later, I sat down to write. I started with some of the items I remembered off the top of my head, without looking at the list on my phone. I started with my parents, then my brothers, then my nephews. As I wrote, I felt like I was onto something. But as I continued writing and got further down the list, I could feel myself getting stuck and overthinking. I became so concerned with my word choice and "What would they think about it, if they read it?" I scratched out words, thoughts, sentences, and emotions all because I suspected that it might not be well received. I was no longer writing from the heart.
I put the pen down, took a break, and figured I'd come back to it another time. Then, I shared the idea with my girlfriend. I shared the concept and my struggles with it, figuring she might have some insight. After a few suggestions and a couple questions, she helped me to realize that I was stuck because I entered into a cycle that I far too often subject myself to. A cycle that often propels me into a spiral of thinking, which usually leads to doubt, second guessing, and the devaluing of my own thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I began placing other people's thoughts, feelings, and opinions before my own. Getting stuck in my writing was just another manifestation of an internal struggle I've been battling for quite some time now.
Don't get me wrong, it's ok to put others first sometimes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being selfless. However, it is mentally, physically, and spiritually unhealthy to always place the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others before your own so much, that you no longer acknowledge, honor, respect, or even know your own. It's a disservice to yourself to place others before you to the point that you forget about your own value and worth.
I found myself so overly concerned with what my parents, my friends, my family, and anyone who read it would think. I was trying to write in a way that would appease them. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I didn't want to leave anyone out. I didn't want to gloat, boast, or throw anything in anyone's face. I didn't want to rub anyone wrong. But, what about my thoughts? What about my feelings? What about my opinions? The writing was no longer about me. It became about everyone else. I had totally tossed those aside. But, it was supposed to be about me. It was supposed to be my reflection.
As JAY Z recently said, "You can't heal what you don't reveal." So, as I reflect on my 30 years of life, where I am, and what I've accomplished, I acknowledge that of them all, I am thankful and grateful to have recognized the need to acknowledge, establish, and accept my own worth. I am thankful and grateful to have grown in soooo many ways, with the help of so many people, and plenty of experiences. But, I am thankful to accept my journey. I realize that it's really important for me to remind myself that I am enough. Perhaps you, like me, need to remind yourself that you are enough. Because no matter what we do or don't do; no matter what we say, or don't say, we are worthy. We are worthy of happiness. We are worthy of love. We are worthy of life.
There will be people and circumstances that will try to convince us otherwise. There will be moments that will challenge this notion and make us question it. It's up to us to set boundaries and parameters for ourselves, that will protect our worth and our value. If we don't, no one else will. And, if you don't place value upon yourself, no one else will. As I began my 30 journey, I look to remind myself more and more of my worth. I am worthy. I am worthy of my own thoughts. I am worthy of my own feelings. I am worthy of happiness. I am worthy of love. I am worthy of life.
This is my #Worthy30.