There I was, sitting amongst all of my closest friends and family under a well-lit tent and our current jams playing softly in the background. Of course, there was great food and drinks for everyone’s desires. Kids were laughing and dancing joyfully on the dance floor while the lights strung beautifully along the edges of the tent. We definitely lucked out with this August weather being absolutely perfect temps and no bugs! If you live in the Midwest, you know what a pest they can be!
My husband was never much of the surprising type so when he went above and beyond for my birthday, I was truly taken back. After all these years, he took the time and effort to make sure I had a great day. He took the time to book the DJ, gather up all our friends, reserve the tent, book me a nail appointment for the day with the girls so I wouldn’t see him and the kids scurrying around the house and let alone all the time to book the vendors and picking out the perfect cake. As time drew near, they lit the candles and started singing the infamous, Happy Birthday. I sat there and cried, ‘cause dang I’m just a crier and weep over even a sappy commercial still! As everyone raised their glasses and Travis said, Happy 50th Birthday honey, I knew I had built just the life I envisioned.
Wait a hot minute….. “girl, I just saw you say you turned 31 yesterday. What are you even talking about?”
Fast forward 19 years and I think of the day on my 50th birthday where we are all gathered around for a surprise birthday party for me. I however, didn’t tell you about the most important part of that night. Upon Travis telling me happy birthday, he took a moment to tell me what makes him proud to be my husband. He then passes the microphone over to Emery and Levi, whom are now 23 and 21 years respectively, while they’re holding their young naive drinks of choice at that age. They also begin to tell me what they remembered most about their childhood. Around the room they pass this microphone and those dearest to me tell stories about their memories and what impact I have made on their lives.
For anyone who’s a nerd like me and loves goal setting and reverse engineering, this is a common practice. Set the goal we have and then work our way backwards on how we can achieve it. So how can I set my actions to be reflective of those dear conversations in just 19 years today, instead of just hoping that they will transpire naturally? As much as I’d like to think my “angelic” self would just act so beautifully all the time that there would be no other words that people could think of instead only great and meaningful moments, I know on most days I’m lucky if I can even get anywhere on time. Like seriously, how am I always late?
I’ve heard this conversation brought up before but more so in respect of when people die and people are paying their respects. Practicing writing my eulogy is something I’m not prepared to do yet. That was a little somber mood for my Moscato drinking self tonight so we went with the birthday party because who doesn’t like a surprise birthday party and a toast! I wonder if my taste buds will have matured into something fancy by then….
We tell our kids to be nice and kind and to always help the kid that can’t stand up for themselves. We tell our spouses, we should act the way that we want our kids’ marriages to be. We tell our friends, girl don’t be so hard on yourself – you’re doing amazing and even though you haven’t showered in 3 days, you still look great! We tell our families of our big ideas and dreams we’re working on or dreaming of. We tell our teams and coworkers that they can really achieve what makes them happy and this spot in their lives is serving as a learning opportunity to push them into something greater. But are we still only just talking about it and not modeling it?
In my early 20’s, my New Year’s Resolution for quite a few years was always to “be a better person.” I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough to help lift up others and make their lives happier. Five years ago, personal development wasn’t nearly as praised as it is today. Thankfully, more men and women are taking the time to find ways to have more peace, give back to others and dive more into God’s reasoning for putting them right where He did. It’s really fun to talk with someone who has caught this same “bug” and talk about the books we’ve been reading or listening to and what we’re working on next. Like my fingers even type faster when I write about it because it excites me so much. Personal development was just the thing I had been missing to find that way to actually work on my yearly resolution. I’m really good at listening to the books and talking about them and will work on a new technique talked about in the book for a few weeks until I listen to the next book and the next technique catches my eye. Since I drive so much for work, I can easily listen to at least a book a week and with all the other things jumbling around in my brain it doesn’t surprise me that I have a hard time remaining focused on new techniques.
Leaving a financial legacy is important to me and my husband for our children. So it got me thinking I need to be just as intentional about the REST of my legacy with not only my children and husband but with anyone who came to know me over the years. This is not something I take lightly. Shoot, I can’t even take home décor lightly because I’m so indecisive on what I’m committing to putting on the walls so I definitely can’t take my legacy lightly. So I encourage you, what are your values? What do you want people to come up and thank you for on your birthday? What do you want them to say in their toasts?
Now, take action beautiful girl to make sure you’re leaving just the legacy you envision on your special day.
Here’s my toast to you love.
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