In 2007, when I turned 19, I started the tradition of writing myself a letter on my birthday. That year I experienced some events that made me question if I would live to be 19, so when my birthday arrived it seemed worth reflecting on and celebrating.
Over time, this letter became a review of the year and expectations of the year to come. This year, as it’s the 10th anniversary of that day, I have decided to share it with you (with minimal edits). Enjoy! – Jenn
Happy Birthday, Jenn!
Wow, 29?! Can you imagine? 10 years ago you wondered if you would reach 19. I am so proud of you. Not just living, but look how much you have changed!
You were size 18/20 last year and now you are wearing 12’s and 10’s! Your HiMSS uniform last year was too small at 2XL and this year the L you ordered is too big. You fought through some injuries and yet came out on the other side still shrinking.
Physically, 28 was a dramatic year for you. And it’s amazing how you “sealed” the year with a Whole30. Almost as if to say “I can do more.”
But I am not just proud of your physical changes… honestly those are shallow compared to your other step-changes. Let’s just go straight to the heart: you destroyed a 20-year stronghold! Honestly, I think that behavior was the broken wheel that has been derailing all your other attempts at life-changing progress.
Your 2016 word was Core Strength and, while the physical strength is awesome, the core identity strength is way more important to me. You just don’t get rocked so easily.
Remember how you decided to start praying and believing your fear of men would go away? Did you notice that you didn’t turn to steel when guys touch you anymore?
No one likes to appear materialistic, and I don’t believe you are materialistic, but you killed it financially this year. I know for 2016 you decided to give as if you were already at the next level financially but could you even imagine how much God was going to promote you? Sure, you worked hard and I am proud of you. But you also won a lot of prizes and money that were “chance.” And I believe that if you keep living with open hands, God will keep blessing you beyond what you can imagine.
Birthdays are a time of celebration and you deserve to be celebrated! But I must admit, not everything in 28 was sunshine and rainbows. Jenn, you fell asleep… and didn’t wake up… for a long, long time. Where did your passion go? Why no fire in your eyes?
You became caught in the rut of routine and let it suck the life right out of you. In that low place, you made a terrible decision: you cut off your sources of inspiration and correction. You pulled back from mentors, stopped reading, and switched off your motivational audios.
And you let your Dream whither.
And you almost let it die.
But you kept a pilot light on … you kept strings of connection … and that was your rescue. As January dawned, you have begun to right the ship. You are reading, listening, associating, and communicating again. You are dreaming again.
And that time of darkness will make you so much stronger. Because that zombie-like living death is exactly the kind of person you feel called to impact. As you wake yourself up from your slumber, you awaken with new insight and empathy for those who are living without purpose.
28 was a year of transformation. New body. New identity. New mindset. New wisdom. And your transformation is just the beginning. You have laid the foundation.
2i will be a year of explosive growth:
- Your body will continue to strengthen and tone as you invest in your food and fitness plan. It will be a visual symbol of your identity continuing to crystallize.
- Your finances will continue to excel as long as you give irrationally and spend responsibly.
- Your Dream will expand beyond where it’s ever been before. No longer based on who you are, you will dream based on who God is and what He is capable of.
Jenn, I love you and I am so proud of how far you have come. Don’t stop. Don’t look back. Don’t slow down. Don’t let historical results limit your expectations; you are a completely different person.
28 was awesome but 29 is your year and it will be better than you can imagine as long as you stay committed to the Slight Edge.