by Anastasia Strgar
At the dawn of my 23rd year I find myself on a whole new life track. This does not have anything to do with going on a crazy cross country adventure or skydiving over the Grand Canyon or anything like that (although that’d be awesome); it rather, has more to do with finally freeing myself from old negative thinking patterns about life and even more so, myself.
The last half of my 22nd year has been dedicated to becoming more mindful through meditation, more positive through studying positive thinking and more grateful through writing lists of gratitude every night in my gratitude journal. Most recently, it has involved actually taking another step and learning how to be kind to myself and allowing myself to truly be who I am- everyone else be darned. Rather than being upset about people I may leave behind, I find that the people who hang on with me are truly people I want to be with and who truly love me for who I am. I find that when I am more authentically myself I am happier and better able to take on daily challenges.
In the last year, not only have I become more mindful and more aware of how I want to change my outlook on life, but I graduated with my undergraduate degree in journalism: Public Relations and now have a job as the Director of Public Relations at Good Clean Love. I moved in with my boyfriend of a year and a half and am happier with him than ever. I got another job teaching horseback riding lessons at the barn where my horse is kept and thus get to be around a great group of kids and my horse three days a week. It was out at this barn that I met a couple new friends and relearned my love of horses, not to mention figured out that I want to teach as a career for the rest of my life.
At twenty-three, I am dedicated to getting into a Master’s program for teaching and starting that program. I am learning to release knowing the details of how life is going to go- no matter how frustrating it may be from time to time. I am learning to trust the world to give me exactly what I need. I know that I will constantly be growing, but I relish the opportunities to come to learn more about myself and those I love, to learn to love myself as much as I love others and to continuously learn where to push my boundaries and where to respect them. I feel so grateful for my life.
The greatest thing about birthdays is that it gives one an opportunity for self reflection that has everything to do with you and nothing to do with the fact that everyone is making new resolutions (i.e. New Year). If lived as such, birthdays give us a chance once a year to celebrate ourselves by doing the things we love the most with the people we love the most. A new birthday is a chance to look back on what you learned and what you achieved and to make plans and have faith in the year yet to come. It is akin to turning over a new leaf.
Anastasia Strgar, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon with a B.A in journalism, has been writing about love and relationships for several years. She has written short stories and romance novels, penned the love and sex column in the school newspaper and wrote several blogs. As the eldest of founder Wendy Strgar’s four children, she has been inspired by watching her parents’ marriage and strives to put those lessons to use in her own relationship. She believes that teaching her peers early on about how to maintain healthy relationships is essential to creating a future generation of loving partnerships. She currently works as the Director of Public Relations and Magazine Editor at Good Clean Love.