I received so many gifts in my 43rd year of life and none of them were bought in a store.  Confidence, toughness, resilience and calm were the winners this year over fear, timidity and frantic movement and for that I am so grateful.  Parts of me still feel twenty-two and other parts fifty-five, luckily I am still somewhere in the middle of those two.  Twenty-two because I know I have so much more to experience and so much I want to do.  Twenty-two because I neglected parts of me trying to tell a story that my life wasn't meant to tell.  Fifty-five because I feel so much wiser and equipped for what I have experienced.  I know now how freedom and vulnerability can lead to such rapid growth. My commitment to myself is to move gracefully through both the simple and hard things, to let the traditions and lessons I am meant to pass down to my kids settle out and become clear.  These lessons and traditions are not meant to be chores or things that wear me out, but derived from the wisdom, calm and joy I gain from life experience. If they happen that way, they should be celebrated and if in my new state of calm the elf on the shelf got lost...well, maybe he just went to dad's house and he watches you when you are over there;) 


Another beautiful thing about getting older are the layers of ourselves that we get the chance to develop. Sometimes I get so excited about the hybrid of a person that I am, one that can have a deeply traditional soul but a free spirit too.  One that knows where she came from but also appreciates so much were she is today.  I have lived on a farm 40 miles from the nearest city and have such a deep appreciation for people who sustain that way of life. I am a girl who loves the feeling of her toes in the sand and the sound of the ocean in the not so far off distance. Between these two experiences  I became the girl who rarely turns off country music but can confidently navigate the 405 (and I truly never thought that would happen!) My confidence is rising, my mind is becoming clear and my perspective has a thicker silver lining than I ever would have thought possible.  Why? Because I know I can sustain and it has taken me this far into my life to know that for certain.