The past few days in Brazil have been a whirlwind. Walking the lively shores of Copacabana, cheering on Olympic athletes along with thousands of spectators from across the globe, exploring colorful street markets, dining on mouthwatering local dishes, and partaking in Brazil’s one of a kind nightlife. There is a tangible feeling of joy and celebration in the air; a lighthearted togetherness that is contagious. And now, here I sit in the courtyard of the Villa Teresa Bed & Breakfast high above the rooftops of Rio. It’s a pinch me moment. I am in Brazil, during the Olympics, on my birthday.
There will be plenty of packing tips and listicles to share from this trip upon my return, but today I am choosing to take in the magic of this moment and reflect.
This past year hasn’t been the greatest. I went through significant changes that shook me to my core. They made me question my self-worth and even my very existence. I spent many nights alone in the dark crying myself to sleep, overwhelmed by anger, frustration, disappointment, helplessness and self-doubt.
The roller coaster of emotions over the past year has taught me a lot – That I’m stronger than I realize, that obsessing over things I have no control over and cannot change is a waste of time, that worrying about what others think of me is paralyzing and unproductive. All of that energy is toxic to growth, creativity, and progress.
I’ve also spent a lot of time pondering the meaning of success and have concluded that there is more to it than simply having a respectable career and making a good living. For me, it’s more about being content with myself. Looking in the mirror and feeling good about the person looking back. Making my relationships with family and friends a priority. Following my passions and pursuing endeavors that truly motivate and inspire me regardless of whether they result in a fat paycheck.
In celebrating becoming a year older, I am making a conscious effort to focus on the positive and accept that my life may look different than how I pictured, but it’s still beautiful and OK and I’m more than a lucky girl. I know I will still struggle with self-doubt and face setbacks and disappointments. But as I look out over Rio from the balcony of my hotel at this real life post card I can’t help but smile. Today there is no room for anything less than sheer joy and gratitude.