37 Gifts Of My 37th Year

37 Gifts Of My 37th Year
Words by Laura Quick

Last year as I approached my birthday I started this new tradition—writing down all the gifts this year of life gave me. Sometimes they were silly epiphanies, but sometimes they were deep and profound things that changed the way I lived. 

As I am only days away from celebrating another wild ride around the sun, I thought I would share what 37 taught me. She was kind to me. She was a door opener and a capacity stretcher, and I’ve never been more thankful to be alive and celebrate it.

  1. I am strong enough and smart enough and resilient enough to navigate a lot of new normals and keep a smile on my face most of the time.
  2. Everyone navigates those new normals differently—choose grace with others when you don’t understand their reactions or responses.
  3. I am still a risk taker and the one that says YES.
  4. There is no expiration date on forgiveness—if it’s been 5 minutes or 20 years you can choose forgiveness.
  5. Grief also has no expiration date, and it manifests in the physical when untreated—feeling it is like literally losing weight.
  6. Gratitude journaling is still one of the most powerful tools in my tool belt.
  7. When I’m navigating something hard or uncertain, my “lash out” is normally contemplating doing something really dumb to my hair. Praise God no bangs were cut in my 37th year!
  8. JOY is a posture and a choice. JOY is the deep knowing that even in the midst of the deepest, darkest moments, I can recall in vivid detail gorgeous views, crisp wind in my hair, and the sun shining on my face on the mountains.
  9. My marriage is a gift, and when I treat it like one of the most precious ones I’ve been given—treat it with care and respect and keep it in its rightful place—it keeps me laughing and smiling and dancing and overflowing with love (cheers to you SQ).
  10. I do not know how to cook for 2 people.
  11. Although I was ill-prepared, I successfully (with a ton of help) graduated a son from high school. And although I am VERY confused as to how we transition from “Hey, wake up or you’re going to be late!” to “Good luck traveling the country on your own.” I am PROUD of the young man he is. And for that, I’m so proud of the mom I finally became—praise God.
  12. I am what I CONSUME. Not some of it, not only part of the people, not only some of the social content, or only a portion of _______________… Nope—I’m all of it. If I am consistently choosing to consume it, I become it.
  13. Long walks on purpose with no agenda, alone or with company, are always a great choice.
  14. The Bible NEVER GETS OLD. Jesus never stops surprising me.
  15. MRI’s are TERRIBLE. Like, they do not really warn you—so here it is; if you have to have one, it’s going to be loud, and not just because of the machine, but because of all the sounds they play to try to make you lose your mind.
  16. I have an abnormally low heart rate—like resting around 48—which is like an athlete.
  17. I am not an “athlete.”
  18. Heart pain can literally happen because you have a broken heart.
  19. I actually don’t really even like coffee, but I’ve been drinking it almost every day for 8 years.
  20. Self care to me is: talking to myself like I LOVE HER, having a housekeeper, getting a massage when I need it and when I want it, saying no to things that push me over my limit, laughing a lot, buying and drinking great wine with my husband or with people I love, having long calls with my best friend, getting away from work enough that I stay in love with it…the list goes on. Just want to make it clear— “having a bath” isn’t on here, because you need to do that.
  21. Personal boundaries are a gift to me and others, and it is ok to add some or amend or remove some as we move through different seasons of life.
  22. I pretty much only lose my sh*t in two places these days. (I’m looking at you Office Max—and of course also when I'm in the confinement of my office.)
  23. I love making people feel like a hero.
  24. My work lets me make people feel like a hero every day.
  25. Traveling is something I love with my soul. It wakes up sleeping parts of me.
  26. Reading fiction helps me rest.
  27. Taking CBD with melatonin is the best, and it also helps me rest.
  28. I say yes at least once a week to a person who wants to pick my brain or grab coffee or lunch or whatever—not because I think I’m so, so smart and have so much to teach or offer, but because I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the amazing humans who said yes when I asked.
  29. I wear glasses when I think it makes my outfit look better, but I actually need glasses every day—like all the time, regardless of the outfit.
  30. My sister is a beautiful angel—like a Disney Princess—but she CANNOT, under any circumstances, be in charge of planning “leisurely hikes” on vacations.
  31. Gentle is my favorite kind of strong.
  32. Vitamins are important, but not as important as drinking 100 ounces of water every day.
  33. Dogs are children. Even when they smell terrible, I still let them on the bed in the morning.
  34. If I am in a room and find myself with the most power, I talk the least. If I am in a room and find myself with the least power, I talk the most.
  35. Empty is my favorite way to end the day.
  36. Cooking and writing are my favorite forms of unpaid therapy.
  37. My heart longs for the world to know me by how I show up consistently in this life—treating everybody like a somebody, always having an extra seat at my table, and recklessly loving myself and others.