Twenty-six was the first Birthday that I clearly remember having that sense of ugh, I’m getting old. Which is absolutely crazy now that I think about it because really I was just a babe. I’m sure that in 10 years I’ll be thinking the same thing about where I’m at now. As this birthday approaches, I have a swirl of emotions; confusion about how this last year possibly went by so fast, excitement for what could lie ahead, some dread at getting even older, but the biggest emotion on this birthday is gratefulness.
I recently learned that a co-worker of mine has passed away. She’s only one year older than me but with two beautiful daughters. Melissa was one of the most vivacious people I have ever met; her zest for life was contagious and cervical cancer took her away way too soon. This post was going to be about how I wanted to live this next year with boldness, and quite literally in the middle of writing it I learned about her passing.
So yes, this is a fashion post about my birthday musings, but it has taken a deeper shape. Celebrating life and living boldly has taken on a much different meaning this year.
When I look back at the last year, I see a year that brought growth. Small, subtle growth. Through blogging, I put myself out there and had experiences that I couldn’t have imagined having five years ago. I watched inwardly as my confidence grew, amazed that learning about yourself and changing never truly ends. In some ways, the last year was one of my best years yet, and in other ways, it was one of the hardest. In some ways, I still feel 26, and in other ways, I feel like I’ve lived 3 lifetimes.
The struggles I have today aren’t the struggles I had when I was 26, and they’re not the struggles I had when I was 30 (thank God). They are, however, real and palpable and sometimes I get stuck in that place of wondering how the unchangeable can ever change. But here’s the thing, I am lucky and blessed to still be in the fight. I am grateful. Every day, I can choose to have a mindset of hope and appreciate the little and big things that life throws at me because it means that I am living.
That, in a nutshell, is what Melissa taught me during the couple of years that I was lucky enough to know her. She was adventurous and intelligent and didn’t care what others thought of her because she was too busy enjoying being herself. She had a boisterous laugh and an extremely quick wit, which in my opinion is one of the best combinations . Just last summer, on a work trip to California, we were out with another co-worker friend laughing and climbing tall elephant statues late at night because they seemed made to climb. Even in our thirties, even with our boss shaking his head in disapproval :). She lived a fearless life.
That is what I want to take with me into this new age. To be bold and fearless regardless of what challenges I will face this year because it means that I am alive to face them. Alive to experience all the good along with the bad because there is still so much good to be had. Alive to be bold in my dreams and my decisions, and when it comes down to it, alive to just be myself.
Getting older, I’m learning, is partly a state of mind. I can’t (completely) control laugh lines or added inches but I can control how I view life and how I live it. I can choose to wear the five-inch heels when I’m already six feet tall, not because I need the height but because they look amazing. I think the moment I truly throw off all my insecurities will be the moment I’m my best age and I’m slowly but surely getting there.
This outfit is one of my current favorites and because of the understated colors, it forces boldness like accessories or shoes. I’m also in love with suede, (see here) even though I’m not so sure I can be trusted with it, and even if it’s faux:) However, today I’m talking about boldness and birthdays, and that calls for fearless fashion choices. You can’t help but add a little swag to your step when wearing something like this (thanks, BCBG)!
Life is short so wear the suede :).
So thank you, Lis, for your shining spirit and example of a beautiful life lived well. I will laugh a little louder and live a little bolder, and celebrate my new age this year instead of dreading it because of you. And I will wear the tall shoes :).
Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs Francesca Purse/ similar
Shoes: BCBG Next Generation “Carissa” / Similar
Necklace: Anthropologie Here
Ring: Stella And Dot Here
What outfit or accessory do you have that makes you feel bolder?
Photography/ Michelle Dorman
Makeup/ Mimi Banasik