Today I turn 36. It is a year without glamour, without any additional privileges by itself, and simply is. 

My previous year on this planet, in this life, was an amazing one. I learned an incredible amount. I fucked up a lot. I succeeded. I started to allow me to be me. I was scared, happy, thrilled, excited, bored, tired, loved, loving, hated, disrespected, respected, admired, disgusted, disillusioned, befriended, comforted. All of that, and millions more things, billions. 

And I want to share 36 things with you. These are things that I currently believe. I may not believe them next year, and probably didn't 2 or 5 or 10 years ago. I love lists. Indulge me.

  1. I am way too big to be defined by labels applied by myself or others.
  2. Being present in every moment is supremely important and incredibly challenging. 
  3. Life is too fucking short to be in a job filled with fighting. 
  4. I'm very privileged, and I want to use that privilege to truly help others. 
  5. Often I say things before I truly feel them and believe them.
  6. I have to inspire myself, be my own hero, be my own best advocate - always.
  7. The past is fixed but the way we interact with it can be changed.
  8. Everything, everyone is always changing.
  9. Guilty pleasures are bullshit. Love what you love. 
  10. No one is keeping score in any way.
  11. Exercise has been empowering and transformative in ways I could not have ever predicted. 
  12. Every single person I encounter in a day, and every single person I do not encounter, is fully formed with her own dreams, wishes, beliefs, concerns, joys, suffering, and love.
  13. Self-awareness is power.
  14. The struggles of parenting are outweighed, significantly, by the inspiration and beauty of seeing my son live his life. 
  15. Nearly everything I thought was important is not really that important.
  16. Not choosing something is actually choosing something; non-decision is a decision.
  17. All of the things I thought I couldn't do are things I actually can do.
  18. I care about aesthetics in myself, others, and objects. 
  19. I now have a good sense of what makes a good boss and what does not make a good boss; I've worked for both and all types in between.
  20. I am an introvert but love talking with people. 
  21. Dismissing ideas and people out of hand is foolish.
  22. Ask, ask, ask.
  23. Compassion rules.
  24. I am hard on myself, really hard.
  25. My body knows what's up.
  26. Gender is not binary. 
  27. Thinking something is very different than feeling it, which in turn is very different than acting on it. 
  28. There have been some people close to me all this time and I have caused them pain and hurt. 
  29. Death only changes a relationship with a person; that relationship carries on. 
  30. I can and should surprise myself more often.
  31. I can and should surprise others more often. It's fun. 
  32. Some things pass and some things stay; this doesn't mean the things that are here will always be here. 
  33. I drink a lot of water.
  34. Everything is going to be okay, and everything is okay.
  35. Death may come at any moment, and I will strive to always be ready for it. 
  36. People are not machines. 

May these 36 thoughts spread and bloom and fly away from me.