I started this blog on the morning of my 38th birthday it is now the day before my 39th birthday so I have edited this and added some more to what I did in my 38th year related to compassion and dignity.
I woke up with the words Compassion and Dignity running through my head early on my birthday 365 days ago. I immediately pulled up my dictionary app on my phone to look up the words for their definitions. Compassion is defined as – a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress and together with a desire to alleviate it. Dignity is defined as a way of appearing and behaving that suggests seriousness and self-control; the quality of being worthy of honor or respect.
What is significant about that set of words or the fact that I woke up on my 38th birthday at an unreasonably early hour. That really is par for the course for me as I always seem to wake up early. I don’t sleep well and I hadn’t been sleeping well for over a year at my 38th birthday. I thought if I started to prioritize myself maybe I could change this bad pattern of horrible sleep. The words compassion and dignity kept running through my head that early morning and I decided I wasn’t going to fall back to sleep so I may as well just get up and get something done…
I don’t know yet why but I turned on Ted Talks when I woke up way too early as that seemed like a good thing to do to while away a bit of time. I searched for the word compassion in the Ted Talk app on our Roku. The phrase “Treat others as you would treat yourself…” was said in one of the speeches I listened to in the early hours of my 38th birthday.
Why that particular saying stuck in my head seemed off to me… It seemed I needed to fix something there. Often I feel like I am kinder to others than I am to myself. How do I turn this around? Again with the I didn’t know yet how to correct this but I know I am working on it and myself. Forgiving myself for bad decisions isn’t something I do well and I still don’t quite know how to do this still to this day… something more to work on a different year perhaps?
So how do I turn around and work on compassion and dignity for myself at 38? Well maybe I’ll figugre it out in this next year and the trip around the sun I was about to embark on. If I could focus on compassion and dignity for myself. Since I don’t really roll with setting new year resolutions maybe I could make this my mantra for my 38th year, compassion and dignity for myself this next year. It is worth a shot…
Queue a year later and my additional thoughts on this matter… of compassion and dignity.
I would say that my 38th year has been one of the rougher rides for myself… still couldn’t explain all the answers for why it was harder for me. And now even though I am just hours from the next year and trip around the sun and I reflect backwards I don’t think I completely nailed either word.
I realize I have done some really good things for myself in this last year though… I would say sometimes I am too compassionate for other’s plights. Why when I heard bad news for someone else did I internalize that and it makes me sad. Sometimes extremely sad… so sad that this past year I sought help from a therapist and my doctor. They both mentioned that I needed to take care of myself so I would be available to take care of others. Why did I not make myself a priority – I worked hard in the last year to remember to take care of myself and see the dentist, doctor and therapist when I needed to do better things for me. It is still a work in progress but I have made strides forward in taking care of myself… Good thing I have friends that remind me often to continue to do so as I often forget how important these things are for me.
In this last year I took time away from others and I read books… lots of them… I had no idea I had been unable to read a book until I was able to pick up a book again and plow through it like it was going to be gone if I tried to sleep… I have so enjoyed the time reading and getting back into that habit of mine that I love so much… this last year. In fact I may spend some of my last hours as a 38 year reading a book or two in my hammock as it is a beautiful day!
I have also found a way to laugh with those I love most… more movie time and cuddling on the couch or in our new giant king size bed… We bought one of those as a Christmas present to ourselves at the end of 2017. We love it so much to have bed like we would get whenever we booked a hotel room. In fact it is big but not so big to accommodate our family of 3 for an entire night of sleep. I believe that is why we are lucky to have a guest room to move to if Mackenzie decides she needs to sneak into bed with us. That is showing more than compassion to ourselves but just common sense… one of us better get a good night of sleep as the one Mackenzie is staying with isn’t going to get much sleep. That kid spins and makes more noise sleeping than anyone should have to endure on a regular basis. Good thing it isn’t frequent that she needs Mom or Dad… just a once in a while thing… and that too is good compassion for our kiddo.
Dignity I have found a lot of that for myself as I sought help and asked for what I needed for myself. Taking time to myself is important, reading a book, taking a nap… good things for my body and soul. I’ve also done quite a bit of volunteering so that I can share the compassion that I have inside me with others that need help. My passion for volunteering is a good thing for my soul as well. I will continue to find ways to show myself dignity as I am sure there is a ton more I can learn if I give myself some patience.
All in all I am so glad to be seeing another trip around the sun that starts tomorrow… Yep, this is probably the last official birthday I am likely to claim… hopefully 39 is a good age to get stuck at as I am not sure I will want to admit I am 40 in another calendar year. Also hopefully I can work on that sleeping thing as I still don’t sleep nearly long enough… longer than I was but I am still getting up way too early. I may just recycle this next age over and over again we shall see how fun 39 is as that starts tomorrow! And remember to hug the ones you love every day as you journey through life no matter your age!