Today I turn 40.
I’m not gonna lie. I really struggled with this birthday. Like many women, I’ve been inundated with messages that tell me I should be “rewinding” the clock, “fighting” age, and looking younger with miracle wrinkle/firming creams. I even bought into the notion for awhile. Then I looked around me. I saw beauty in all shapes and sizes. I watched truly beautiful friends turn 40. I decided it was time to turn toward gratitude. I took time to reflect on how I arrived at where I am today. It’s been a 40 year journey–one with much joy and laughter as well as heartache and pain. All along that journey, I met people who inspired, encouraged, supported, and even challenged me. They left a blueprint on my heart. They lifted me. Thus, an idea was born: OPERATION: SPREAD SUNSHINE
I drafted up a letter that I sent to 40 friends requesting that they each pick someone special to spread sunshine. I was deliberate in choosing people from all parts of my life–from family, my early years living in Pennsylvania, my high school and college years in Ohio, as well as the many places I lived beyond college. Once I started, I wished I could write more than 40–because there are so many amazing people that I’ve interacted with over 40 years! Along with the letter, I wrote out personal messages to each friend on a little piece of sunshine paper.
I wanted these delightful and exquisite individuals to know how much they matter to me and how important they are in this world. I don’t know why we wait until people’s funerals to share our feelings. People need to hear encouraging words and know they are loved. If we can focus on the many blessings we have in our lives, we might just change this world.
Now, my friends, 40 doesn’t just rock, 40 SHINES : )
FOLLOW UP: Click HERE if you’d like to see some of the responses from this mission. Kindness ripples everywhere! : )