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So today I did more or less what I’ve been doing for a while now: Work a bit on the job search front, organize my stuff, and hang out chillin watching tv with my mom.

It’s not a bad life.

Not at all.

When I go, and I will because I will have a job, and maybe it will take me away from home, but certainly it will take me out of the house during the daytime, there are a lot of things that I will miss. Much as I wish I had a job, I’m actually excited that I’ll be able to be part of Thanksgiving prep and maybe even Christmas in a way I wouldn’t otherwise.  I love the gym I go to and the people there, my cozy routines, the way that in this still stressful but at least calmer, grounded, loving environment, so many of my worries have melted away and my philosophical meaning of life issues have  resolved themselves.

As I gain clarity, I gain appreciation for the things I do have, rather than just feeling incomplete because of what I don’t yet have. Life seems like less of a goal to be achieved or a trophy to be won, and more of just enjoying dinner with my family and breathing in and out.

I’m so grateful for this time. As much as I’ve felt like I “should” already have had a job offer and be working and maybe even be in another country by now, maybe this longer road has a lot better scenery. I’ve often asked myself about being on the fast track to who knows what, and Ithink I’m getting a better idea of the what of life.

Sometimes I’ve felt inadequate, thinking irrationally that everything good in my life has just been given to me and I’ve done nothing to deserve it. This has been particularly haunting when faced with poverty at home and abroad, and also in realizing my unique, innate talents.

What I realized today during yoga is

Yes, those good things are gifts. Life is a gift.

Life is a gift.

Didn’t do anything to deserve that, or a sunrise, or the ocean, or the moon. Or your mother or father’s unconditional love.

Or my healthy, amazing body. Or being able to see, hear, taste, smell, touch, and dream.

I went through a bunch of old things today- especially some old debate team trophies. No first place winners in there, and I remember going to those tournaments, where I rarely seemed to be in that winner’s bracket and was always on teams where people were pretty successful in that regard, and I remember the shame I felt.

But when I was looking at those trophies today, I just thought: Great memories. And even if I wasn’t always a “winner,” there, I can’t count the amount of things that have gone better for me in life because of doing it, because of what I learned there.  Not always about the trophies you earn, is it?

And the incredible stuff like my high school graduation gifts and cards. I thought I hadn’t done anything particularly special, but my parents were so proud. And now I see why. It’s not always about being special, and I was special for being able to do it and doing it. You can’t take those things for granted. And jeez, how much time did I waste feeling ashamed of myself when really  I was so magnificent in my way, and look at all the good things that were coming.

I happened to run into a note about boy drama and a math test I don’t even remember. Jeez, how much stress I must have put into that and it’s not even something I recall clearly today. Sure those individual things were important, but being a perfect A student was not. And at some point in high school, I for the most part stopped being an A student. In grad school, I was not an A student in many of my classes, and if anything I think it shows a form of growth.

NO, I don’t have to be perfect all the time.

I did just fine. And I learned so much, and it wasn’t just in the classroom.

I have stressed so much about my weight over the years. Over the course of grad school, particularly when I was feeling horribly in the dumps, I have gained a bunch of weight. Some of my clothes don’t fit. Actually, a good number don’t. And I was never “skinny,” never felt I was thin enough. Never was ok with the way I was, always just “settled,” for how I was and felt like I would never be good enough, at least not without dieting all the time being hungry and obsessing about my weight and weighing myself five times a day but that just didn’t seem worth it after a while.

Guess what? I was great. I would love to look the way I did in some of those, many of those “then,” pictures. I can’t believe I thought I was fat or anyone would dare to imply I needed to lose weight.

And an even bigger surprise, looking at myself in the mirror at yoga today for an hour and then at Zumba: I am absolutely lovely now. There is nothing wrong with me. I am healthy and beautiful. Sure, I could lose some weight, but even if I never did I would still be a gorgeous, functional person. More importantly, I could use some healthier thought processes and habits around food and exercise so I can continue to go in a positive direction, but for once, I really feel that I am PERFECT now. jst the way I am, certainly not “ideal,” “optimal,” or whatever “they” want to call it , and yes, I’d like to lose some weight. But really, there is nothing wrong with me. I can move, I am healthy, and I actually like the way I look. Much as the scale hasn’t seemed to budge, I tried on something that didn’t fit and now it does and I look and feel a lot better and more importantly, healthier than a few weeks ago. I KNOW I am healthier.

Today it seemed that new paths opened up before me, and they came from unexpected places.  I am so grateful, even before knowing where they’ll go.

SO grateful things in my life haven’t turned out as I expected or hoped.

This journey is more beautiful than anything I could have imagined, and I am well on my way to becoming the person I was born to be. A blessing to myself and the world.

Thank you for listening, and wishing you the absolute best.