It’s that day again- it happens once a year to everybody and today it’s my turn.
My birthday always makes me so self-reflective, it makes my heart look in the mirror and ask “What have I done with my life? Who have I become? Have I made a difference? Am I successful? Am I happy?”
Seriously, why I can’t just be carefree like I usually am, why can’t I take the day off emotionally? Instead it’s the opposite where I question everything about my life: who I have become, what impact I have made upon the world around, where my career is going, what does my future hold?
Some birthdays are filled with the most happiness I have ever felt, some are filled with tears and remorse. Very few are non-memorable in terms of emotion and self-reflection.
This year, my 34th, I have finally reconnected with that sense of indescribable joy that has slowly leaked out of my heart over the last year filled with work stress.
I am a giver. I give out all my energy to the outside world- mostly to strangers, but also to my coworkers and friends because I have this unending need to make everyone happy. I am only partially delusional- I know I can’t actually make people happy, but I want to do all I can to make everyone smile. Lately, it has taken its toll on me- I have nothing left for myself. Lately, after a full night of rest, I still feel drained, tired, empty. I need a lot of coffee, a daily personal pep talk, just to get a minimal sense of momentum to take on the day, to endure the tasks.
Something has got to give. This is a reality that has been weighting on my mind a lot in the past few months. And that in itself is tiring. Being mad, upset, questioning everything, unsure, making myself motivated every morning is so exhausting- on top of the long, hard days in a hot, demanding kitchen.
Today, though, after deep though and self-reflection, after a personal examination of what I have done, what I am doing, the people in my life, why I work so damn hard basically all the time- I feel so fucking joyful. I have wonderful people in my life that give a damn about me, about wanting me to smile, about wanting me to shine my energy with them.
I have spent so many years wanting a career I am proud of. Although it’s a lot of work, I have been given the chance to finally be a Chef. It’s way more work than I bargained for, but I am proud of everything I have created, and at the end of the day, that is really the most important thing to me.
So cheers, Marinara, to a new year. Cheers to not being stressed about work, cheers to having more to talk about then work, cheers to following my personal standards for health and happiness.
I have a wonderful people in my life, and at the end of the year- that’s all that matters. I am looking forward to focusing on the love in my heart, to keeping this joy so that I can shine it out. The most I can do to help increase the happiness of the friends, co-workers, and strangers is to concentrate on the love and joy that I create with relationships and art. And that is not hard, difficult, or draining- this is the easy part.