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27 lessons from my 27th year

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically.
 We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly.
 We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another.
 The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present.
 We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

Anais Nin  

Happy birthday to me! Today I turn a ripe old age of 27 and, as much as I'm not thrilled to be inching toward thirty, I'm pretty excited to look back on the past year and reflect on what an amazing, positive experience it was. There were, as there always will be, some tough times, but over all, I'd have to say that my 27th year was pretty darn awesome. One of the reasons it was so awesome is because I learned so much about life. Every year I learn more and more and, in my opinion, that's one of the best highs life has to offer -- looking back and realizing just how far you've come because of all that you've learned. I could spend hours and hours writing about this year and all of the ups and downs it's brought, but today I've narrowed the post down to 27 lessons I learned during my 27th year. With each of these lessons listed, I've linked to a post that will show you exactly when I was learning that lesson.

This Year, I've Learned... 

... when love is real, when the person is right, you really do just know. 
... change, scary as it is, can be just what you need to free yourself. 
... sometimes you have to let go of what you know and face the unknown
... letting people in and opening up to them can be surprisingly rewarding. 
... if you really, really want something, you have to take action
... you are usually quite a bit braver than you think you are
... if you screw up, you have the power to proactively make the present better
... you always know, deep down in your heart, what you really want.
... the people you want in your life aren't always the ones you need in your life. 
... it is never, ever too late to reclaim your muchness
... whatever you focus on in your life, that's what you'll get more of. 
... being positive is really hard sometimes, but it's always worth it in the end. 
... you have to know what you want and go after it because no one else will. 
... the support of other people is amazingly, astoundingly invaluable. 
... moments you fear the most are often the least likely to be worthy of fear. 
... sometimes you just have to be your own hero
... when you love, you must not forget to love yourself
... no matter how hard it seems, you can let go of your past
... the future can have some huge surprises in store for you. 
... living your life your way is important (even if other people don't understand it). 
... you can continue to love others without liking their choices.  
... everyone -- even you! -- deserves to experience happiness
... you will learn more from other people than you ever thought possible. 
... the person you were can become only a fraction of what you are
... if you are unhappy with something in your life, you can change it.
... inspiration is everywhere, but you will only find it if you're looking. 
... the present moment really is all you have; experience it wisely. 


As I clicked through the posts I wrote over the past year, I reflected on how far I've come since my 26th birthday. So much has happened over the past twelve months. So much has changed, but, in many ways, so much of the good in my life has remained. The past year has taught me a great deal about myself and about the world around me. Every day I'm learning more and more about the person I am and the person I want to be. Every day I'm striving to live a life that is both positive and present. It isn't always easy, but every effort I make ends of being worth it. Thank you all for continuing to read the posts I write and for following me as I embark on another year of my life. I'm not sure how or why, but I somehow already know that this year will be an amazing one...


This post will be featured in a segment on fellow blogger Abubakar Jamil's "
Life Lessons Series". This year, as you can tell from this post, I've learned a great deal about life, and I'm hoping that, by participating in Abubakar's awesome series of posts featuring life lessons from other bloggers, I'll be able to spread the word of what I've learned even further. If you have a few minutes today, stop by Abubakar's site and check out all of the great life lessons in the series. 

30 lessons i learned from love: part II

"Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself."

Jean Anouilh  


As you may have read in Part I of this post, I have been fortunate enough to have been given the gift of love, the gift of oneself, from one incredible, amazing guy (who, by the way, turned the big 3-0 the other day!). In the first part of this post, I wrote about how amazing it is that the simple act of love can teach us so much. Recently I have learned so much about myself (and about life) just from experiencing love.

It's become clear to me that there are so many ways we can grow and learn from the love in our lives. The lessons we can learn are countless, but I've chosen to focus two posts on some of the lessons I've learned personally and share with you how these lessons have impacted my life.

I've been so fortunate to share love with others and I can't say enough how grateful I am for the opportunities I've had to be in and share in love. Not everyone is as fortunate as I have been and I hope these two posts will make it clear that I am incredibly grateful to have love in my life. I'm thankful for it every day and I do what I can never to take it for granted. As you read these lessons, and my recent experiences with them, take some time to think about how love has impacted your life and give some thought to what your life would be like without the presence of love.


Because of Love, I Now Know...: Lessons 15-30

Love can sneak up on you like a summer storm.

You've heard it a million times I'm sure and you might be growing tired with the cliche, but it's often so true: love appears when you least expect it. That's exactly what happened to me about nine months ago. I wasn't looking for love at all, but, suddenly, out of nowhere, there was, like a summer thunderstorm. One minute the sky was dull and monotonous and, in a flash, it was alive with lightning and thunder, movement and excitement. It was unanticipated, but it was amazing, a shower of the most wonderful rain, leaving puddles that I've been joyfully splashing in ever since.
It really means something if you can do nothing and still have a great time.

So often in life we're looking for the rush, for the next event or activities to fill us with excitement. But, I've learned that, when it comes to love, you can find yourself doing absolutely nothing and realize that you're having the most amazing time. When you're spending time with someone you love, you don't need constant entertainment. You don't need to distract yourself or find ways to make something fun because, when you're near someone you love fiercely, things just become fun. There is no forcing it. There is no battle to make up things to do. Whatever you do, there you are, having a great time. That, I've learned, is a sure sign of love.

A person who can make you laugh so hard you cry is priceless.

There are so many amazing aspects of being in love, but having someone who makes you laugh so hard that you cry is one of the best features in my opinion. Something about laughing incredibly hard is so satisfying, such a great release and I've learned that there is nothing quite like having a person around that can make you laugh and laugh and laugh. A day without laughter, I've read, is a waste of a day and I couldn't agree with that more. I've been so fortunate to have found love and I'm even more fortunate to have found love with someone who can crack me up to the point that I find myself just thinking about what he said and laughing just as hard at the memory of it.

Love requires effort, but it should never seem too hard.

Like most who have been in love, I know that I love is hard work. It starts off easy and carefree until reality sets in and then there you find that there are just two people who are alike in some ways and different in others and who have to find ways to interact with and love one another in spite of their differences. Love is work. But, I've learned, the work you have to do for the one you love shouldn't be a complete drain on you, making you question or wonder if all of the stress and strain is worth it. No, the kind of work you do for love should come naturally and should be worth it. When I look back at the work I've put into my current relationship, I don't begrudge any of it for a second because I believe that any effort I've put in has been returned to me. Love will be hard, but it should never be too hard. I've discovered that, if you're hurt more than you're happy, you're not with the right one.

With true love also comes respect, trust, honesty, and forgiveness.

I've uncovered a universal truth about love: it can stand alone. There can be love without the other elements I've mentioned above. That love can be real and it can be meaningful, but it is not the kind of love you want to give your whole heart and soul to. True love, the real kind that both gets your blood pumping with excitement and has the ability to stand the test of time, comes not alone but hand-in-hand with respect, trust, honesty, and forgiveness. If you don't have those things in your relationship, then you don't have true love and you're missing out on some of the vital elements that make being in love worthwhile. Love alone can be wonderful, intoxicating, but it alone cannot stand the test of time. It's taken me quite awhile to learn this, but it's something I now know for sure.

Even on the worst days, the one you love can make you smile.

Over the past nine months, I've had some pretty tough days. I've had days when I felt like I couldn't get up and go to work because I was so unhappy, but you know what? Through it all, there was one person who could, no matter how low I felt, help me rise above whatever I was facing and encourage me to see the sun peaking its head through the clouds. There was one person who reinforced the idea of positivity and reminded me that I would get through even the toughest of times. And you know that? I did. I made it through some rough spots because he was beside me, making me smile and reminding me that, even when things were bad, there was always something good and amazing in my life: his love.

There's nothing like knowing that someone believes in you 100%.

One of the absolute greatest lessons love has taught me over the past few months is that there is nothing -- and I do mean nothing -- like having someone (who isn't a blood relative) believe in you with his whole heart and soul. I'm a pretty big believer in myself and it's always been amazing to have family and friends who believe in me, but, until recently, I had never before seen the kind of true, lasting belief in me that moved me from thinking I should believe in myself to knowing I should believe in myself. Nothing is more inspiring to be around someone who you have inspired, someone who loves you so much that they believe you could do -- and succeed in -- anything. That, my friends, is honest to goodness love, the kind of love most people only have the privilege of receiving from their mothers. That's the kind of love that will lift you up and make you a better you.

Love means focusing on others' strengths, not weaknesses.

The more you get to know someone, the easier it can be to pick on their weaknesses and forget about the strengths you loved so much in the first place. Just look around at couples you know. How many of them are bringing each other up, focusing on one another's strengths? How many of them are picking up on the negative qualities and focusing on those instead? One of the greatest things I've learned about true love is that is shrouded in positivity. When you truly love someone, you focus on what you love about them, not on what you don't. It's taken me awhile to realize that negativity is bad news, and it took me even longer to realize that there was no place for it when it came to love.

If it's really love, you will learn to let go of the past.

One of the reasons I started Positively Present was because I had a very difficult time letting go of the past. I always seemed to cling to it with an unnecessary (and unhealthy) grip and only recently have I learned that, when it's really, truly love, you will let the past go. As I talked about in Part I, you'll find that addressing your past is important, but it's never more important than the love you're experiencing in your life right now. Letting go of the past can be hard, painful even, but it's something you will do, fully and completely, when you find the one you are meant to love. Nothing, not even the past, can hold you back from experiencing true love fully and in the present moment.

You will get the love you think you deserve (aim high!).

You've heard this love-related cliche before too, I'm sure, but honest to god, it's true. If you expect to be treated badly and if you treat yourself badly, you will find someone who will treat you just the way you think you deserve to be treated. But, on the flip-side, if you believe that you should be treated with the utmost respect and decency and if you believe you deserve to be loved in a way that is pretty damn close to magical, believe me, that's the love you'll receive. Whether or not you want to buy into the whole Law of Attraction concept, I can tell you that I've learned that the love you expect to get is the love you will get. So, whether you're looking for love or you're already in a relationship, remember to aim high when it comes to the love you think you deserve.

Love is both freedom and safety, inspiration and comfort.

Though some might portray love in an either-or light, love is one of those amazing concepts that has the power to be so many different things at once. I've discovered that the right kind of love will make you feel both free and safe at the same time. It will let you loose to be the person you want to be, all by yourself, and it will hold you close so that you never feel as if you are all alone. This is one of the things I never really believed was possible when it came to love. Until now, I never knew that love could be so liberating and so comforting all at once and it's one of the most miraculous things about falling in, and being in, love with the right person.

Listen to yourself; if it feels different, if it feels right, it is.

So many times, I've been in love and had this feeling, deep in my gut, that something wasn't right. I can remember literally thinking to myself, "I have to get out of this situation." Feeling panicked and trapped is not what love is about. Love, as I mentioned in the previous point, is about setting yourself free and about feeling at home in the very same moment. If there is a voice in your head telling you something isn't right, listen to that voice. And, conversely, if there's a voice in your head telling ou that something is right, don't ignore that voice no matter how scared your little heart might be. Be open to the idea that you know yourself better than you think you do and, deep down, you will always know when love is real.

Love is gravity, bringing you home, bringing you to yourself.

I used to think that love was about someone else, about giving up a part of who you were so that you could then become part of a unit. I thought love was about going from "me" to "we." But now I know that isn't what love's about at all. In fact, real love is the opposite of that. Instead of taking a part of you, love gives a part of you back to yourself -- a part you didn't even know you were missing. With a great love, you become more like yourself; you become the very best version of you. You don't move further away from the "me," but, instead, move closer to what you somehow always knew you should be. Love should be just like gravity, bringing you closer so that you touch down on the reality of who you are.

The best person for you is the one who makes you the best you.

The world is filled with great people, some of which will be right for you at certain times in your life, but I've learned that one of the most important things to know about love is that the right person for you is the one who makes you better. Someone once told me to think not about what the other person is or does, but how that person makes me feel and act. When you look at who you become in someone else's presence, you learn a great deal about your relationship with that person. If, when you're around him or her, you become better, happier, more like yourself, then that's the person for you. If you want to know one of the greatest things I've learned about love, it's this: if someone loves you with his whole heart and soul, he will make you a better person simply by being himself.

True happiness is making someone you love happy.

Though I've recently learned so many valuable lessons because of love, one of my favorites (and one I think is of the utmost importance) is realizing that true happiness comes from making those you love happy. There are many ways to achieve happiness, but I've learned that one of the greatest types of happiness comes from taking the time to make someone else happy and that happiness is doubled if that someone else happens to be someone you love. Love can make you do crazy, wild, unthinkable things, but it also has the power to make you into one of the kindest, most generous people in the world. I am incredibly fortunate to have someone who loves me so much and who does what he can to make me happy. I'm not sure if he knows it or not, but his presence alone is enough to brighten my day and every single kind thing he does for me makes me happier and happier. 

I know there's been a lot to read when it comes to these 30 lessons I've shared with you here, but I hope that what I've written goes to show you that true love is possible and that it does so much more than simply making you feel good. True love has the power to transform lives, to make people better versions of themselves, and, ultimately, to make the world a much happier place. If given the time, I could probably write 30,000 lessons I've learned from love -- it's that great of a teacher -- but, for now, I'll leave you with these 30 lessons and the knowledge that someone you know (or, at the very least, have read about on the internet) is experiencing, learning, and growing because of the love of one single person. You might think you are one person and that one person's love doesn't mean all that much, but I hope this post will help you to see that every bit of love, every drop of love you sprinkle down on the lives of others, has an impact. Love is mysterious, amazing, heartbreaking, and wonderful. It can mean so many things to so many people but, no matter who you are or what you think of love, I hope you can see that, at the very least, it is provides us with invaluable knowledge and it is this gift of lessons that we should always strive to share with one another.

There are so many things love can teach us.
What lessons have you learned from the love in your life?


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30 lessons i learned from love: part I

"Everything that I understand,
 I understand only because I love." 

Leo Tolstoy  

Today someone I love, someone who I have learned so much from and who has helped me understand the world in a new way, is celebrating his thirtieth birthday. One of the people who has changed my life more than he could ever know came into the world thirty years ago today. Now, three decades later, I am sitting here thinking about how incredibly grateful I am to have him in my life and to know that someone else's existence has impacted my own in such a profound and meaningful way. 

Because I am always writing about how we must create our own positive lives, it seems cliche and wrong to write about how someone else has brought so much positivity in my life, but I cannot deny the reality... He has changed me. He has changed my life. He has taught me things I never would have thought (even at my most positive) I could learn: to be open, to be honest, to be willing to let go of the past and live fully in the present moment. Over the past nine months of knowing him, my life has changed considerably. I've moved. I've changed jobs. I've changed habits. I am, in so many ways, a different person. A better person. And so much of that has to do with his positive influence on my life. 

I'm not the type to willingly admit others have an such a big impact on me, but in this case it's undeniable. Like it or not, he has made (and continues to make) me better. Not different, mind you, but better. He has done what I imagine all great people should do: he has come into my life and made me more me. He hasn't changed who I was before; he's made me more of who I have always been meant to be. With his love, his encouragement, and his belief in me, the puzzle pieces of my life that always seemed to be getting lost or pushed into the wrong spaces are now fitting together perfectly, snapping into place and creating this complete and beautiful picture of who I am.

There are many people who have helped me to become the person I am today (a person, admittedly, who is still a work in progress!), but there are few that have had quite the impact he has had on my life. I feel, at times, like I was always waiting for him, like I knew he was out there and it was that knowledge tickling the recesses of my brain that hinted and suggested and prodded until I moved forward in the right direction, closer to him. I feel as if I have been moving towards him for some time, or maybe he was moving towards me, but without knowing it was coming, we crashed into each other on a night when the sky was filled with shooting stars and our hearts, tired as they were, were still brimming with hope.  

Since that fateful day when our hearts collided and everything began falling into place, I have learned so much -- about him, about myself, and about love. Today, I'm going to share some of those lessons with you (and stay tuned for Part II coming soon!). These are the things I wish I'd always known and the things I am so grateful to know today. As grateful as I am for these lessons, I am even more thankful for him, the one who came into my life so unexpectedly and changed it, and me, for the better. And now, here I am, able to sit here and share with you some of the lessons I've learned... 

Because of Love, I Now Know...: Lessons 1-14





You attract what you want to attract. 


Some might knock the Law of Attraction, but I can't help but see some truth in the idea that we bring to us what we focus on the most. Nearly a year ago, I read a book that recommended I create a list of any and all attributes I wanted in a partner. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I came up with 146 things. After we'd been seeing each other for awhile, I dug out the list and grabbed a pink highlighter to highlight the traits he had. At the end of my highlighting, I flipped through the pages of the notebook and realized they were covered in pink. Almost every single thing was highlighted. Odd as it might sound, I do believe in some weird way, that I attracted what I really, truly wanted. 

There really is a moment when you just know

It might seem like a total cliche, but the moment I met him there was a spark. It was years ago and we were both in completely different places in our lives, but, for whatever reason, something sparked between us. Neither one of us ever forgot the other and, when I met him again for the second time, I swear my heart stopped beating for just a second. I knew something was different about him, important and essential to the very core of my being, but I didn't know then what it was. I've been in love before but, with him, it has always been different. I always thought the "you just know" line was a bullshit excuse for people who couldn't really remember why they'd fallen in love, but now I believe it with my whole heart. When you know, you know

The right one will always, always bring you up, not down.  

I've had my fair share of relationships and I can't say that they all left me feeling as if I was an awesomely talented, wonderful person. In fact, some of the people I'd been with in the past made me feel as if I was worthless, pointless, useless. Some people made me feel as if I could do no right and that whatever I did would probably result in a big mess of mistakes (which may or may not have been true at the time...). Now I see that the right person, the best person, will always bring you up. No matter what you love to do, the right person for you will be supportive of it. They don't have to do it too, they don't even have to understand it sometimes, but they will always loving and respectfully support you. They will bring you up as high as they can and never will they try to push you down. 

Love will inspire you, will make you believe you can do anything. 

Deep down I've always had a sparkling belief that I could do anything I wanted to do. I come from a family that believes in me and, generally speaking, I've done a pretty good job of surrounding myself with people who believe in me. But nothing is quite as inspiring as love and someone who loves you and believes in you. The right kind of honest, true love will make you realize you really can do what you want to do with your life, and that you, and only you, have the ability to transform your world and turn your dreams into realities. Before I met him, I believed, but after I met him I started to take serious action. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or maybe it's the amazing power of love and it's ability to transform not only the way we see the world, but the way we see ourselves. 

Your actions always affect others; choose them wisely. 

I am not perfect. I have made mistakes in the past and I continue to make mistakes because I am human and that's what we humans do. There are times when I have been selfish and haven't stopped to think about the consequences of my actions. In the past, I didn't care. I thought to myself, "Hey, I gotta live my life!" and I didn't really care what might happen if someone didn't like my choices. Now I've learned that what I choose to do can have a significant impact on the people who love me and, as a result, I must consider them when I make choices. Love has a way of teaching us that what we do matters not only to us, but also (and sometimes more importantly) to those who love us. 

A tight, loving hug can sometimes be the best response.

Earlier this year, I was very unhappy with my employment situation. There was one day in particular where I just sat down on floor and cried, working myself up into a pitiful state at the thought of going to work the next day. I wanted a change (which I eventually got) and I felt incredibly trapped. There wasn't much he could do or say, but he came home and sat down on the floor with me and just hugged me. As I cried into his shoulder, I realized it was one of those moments when really all I needed was a hug from someone who loved me. The work situation still sucked, but I was happy to be there with him, to feel so incredibly loved, and I knew that love would help me get to a place where I was much happier.

Your past is important, but not more important than right now.

With all of my focusing on the present, I sometimes feel as if I'm running a bit from the past, trying to pretend as if it didn't happen. But, as anyone who has tried this tactic knows, it never works for very long. The past, like it or not, can creep into the present when you least expect it (and sometimes when you do!), so I've learned that it's best to deal with it head on. It's sometimes painful and uncomfortable, but it's necessary and important if you want to move forward with your present. I've learned that, while dealing with the past is important, but nothing is ultimately more important than the life you're living right now. I used to find myself dragged back into the past, but, because of love, I've learned that the present is where I need to be and that's where I continue to stay -- living, enjoying, and being a part of every moment of my life right now.

When you give a lot of love, you get a lot of love.

Now, this statement might not always be true, but when you're dealing with real love, I believe it is. There have been times in my life where I've given love and received nothing in return. The reverse situation has also been true; I have been given love and had nothing to offer up in return. However, I've come to believe that the right kind of love makes the give and take obvious. It makes it unthinkable to even consider not giving and getting lots and lots of love. For the first time, I don't have to question whether or not what I'm giving is being given back to me. I feel it, know it, see it. When I love -- really, truly love -- I see it come back to me and I know, deep down, that I am getting exactly what I'm giving.

Gratitude is essential; even a "thank you" can express love.

Often, when things become routine, it can be hard to remember the little things, those "thank yous" can really mean so much, even if said in passing. I've learned that expressing gratitude -- and having gratitude expressed when I've done something -- can mean so much. For example, I am incredibly grateful for the delicious dinners cooked for me every night. I'm more grateful than I could ever really say because I really do hate to cook, and it's so wonderful to enjoy eating dinner. A simple "thank you" could be forgotten, but I try my best to show how grateful I am, no matter how many nights go by, because each and every one of those meals is awesome and I'm so lucky to have someone who makes the effort every night to make me happy.

You don't need grand gestures to show you care.

When you feel as if you love someone so much you could just squeeze him (or her), it can be hard to hold back on grandiose expressions of love. But this year I've learned that love doesn't have to be some excessive, expensive display. Expressions of love come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, big grand gestures are nice, but some of the most loving things I've experienced don't have to do with grandness, but instead have to do with him going out of his way to make me happy. Sometimes something small, like taking the pup for a walk when it's cold outside, can mean more than the most lavish gift in the world. If I were given the choice between a million small acts of kindness or one grand gesture, I'd take the kindness every single time. That, to me, is true love.

Love can be seen in a single look.

It might sound completely and utterly cheesy, but you really can tell love by a single look. You can look at couples and you can see how they feel about one another just by the way they look at each other. And you can really tell how someone feels about you when they look at you with that certain look of adoration in their eyes. There's no denying that look because, when you're in the midst of that loving emotion, there's no faking that feeling. You can also feel it yourself when you're giving that look to someone else. It's more than eyes and seeing; it's deeper than that. When he says to me, "I love the way you look at me," I can honestly say I know exactly how he's feeling because nothing feels as good as when he looks at me with love in his eyes. 

The greatest love can make you cry with happiness. 

It was somewhere in the middle of the first or second month we were together. He was on vacation and I was at home, propped up on my bed like a teenager, chatting on the phone with him for hours. Neither one of us wanted to hang up, though it was nearly 1:00am. We laughed and told each other stories for hours, and when we finally did say good night, I flopped back on my bed and thought about him. I thought about how much fun I had just talking to him and, then, much to my own surprise, I started crying through my big, cheeseball smile. I was so happy that I was crying. I'd heard of tears of joy, but I'd never before experienced them. This is when I learned that a great love really can make you cry with joy and fill your heart with an surprisingly tear-jerking happiness. 

Don't be afraid to open up your heart, even if you're scared. 

This has been the hardest, and yet the best, lesson for me to learn. In the past, I've opened up my heart, but it's always been hesitantly, with great care, and always holding just a little bit more in than I should. It was with him that I finally felt loved to a degree in which I could fully and completely open up my heart and let him in. To tell you the truth, this was terrifying for me. I always liked to keep other people at an arm's length and to pull someone close to me was an act I was unfamiliar with. Despite my fear, the choice to let him close to me has been surprisingly rewarding, leading me to feel things and share things I never thought I would. Love is amazing in that way; it can inspire us to let go of our fears and fall headfirst into the parts of ourselves that scare us the most. 

Thoughtfulness is at the heart of every great gift.

I know, I know, love shouldn't be about gifts. And, really, it's not. But when I think of love and how it can impact the gift-giving process, it's pretty amazing to see just what thoughtfulness can do when it comes to giving a loved one a gift. There are so many great ways to give a gift and I'm a huge fan of gift giving, but there's nothing quite like a gift from someone who really loves you, who has clearly put time and effort into creating the perfect thing for you. Over the years, I've had my fair share of great gift moments, but nothing compares to the moment last December when I opened up a gift from him that had clearly taken so much effort and demonstrated so much thoughtfulness (both from him and his family, which was an extra loving bonus). Love will do that -- turn a good gift into the perfect moment. 

You can change more than you realize when you're in love.

Personally, I'm of the mindset that you shouldn't have to change a great deal for someone you love. Love is about acceptance and, therefore, the person who loves you most should accept you for who you are. However, love is also about compromise, which means you do have to be open to changing some things in order to coexist in a relationship with someone you love. The thing I've found with real love is that you won't mind changing nearly as much as you might have thought when it comes to doing it for someone you care about (and someone who is also making an effort to change for you too). Love, real love, really is about compromising and meeting the other person half-way and I've learned that, much to my surprise, it's a lot easier to change when you want to do it for the sake of someone who means the world to you.

Though I'm only half-way through these thirty lessons, you can see there is a LOT to be learned from love. It's such an abstract concept at times, but it has powerfully changed me in so many concrete ways, especially over the past nine months of knowing today's birthday boy. It's taught me things I thought I might never fully understand and it's helped me to become more of the person I've always wanted to be. I am fortunate to experience a lot of love in my life, from a variety of different people and in a variety of different ways, but today I have to focus my attention on that special person who has recently come into my life and transformed it. Today I just had to tell not only him but all of you, readers, just how much love has changed me, helped me, and made me better. I'm so thankful that thirty years ago today, this amazing person came into the world and I'm even more thankful that, twenty-nine years later, we found each other. So, to him, today I must say: Happy, happy 30th birthday! You are the shooting star in my sky, lighting up the dark and filling my heart with constant inspiration. I love you






Stay tuned...coming soon is Part II of this post,
in which I'll share with you the other 15 lessons I've learned from love!


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