Happy birthday to me – a new goal!


Throughout my career, I’ve had goals. Some big, some small, some achieved, and some, well, not. I was told early on that if you write down your goals, you will achieve them. There were times that I had pictures taped to my mirror in hopes of achieving a certain look and there were other times my computer was decorated with post it notes that were more task specific – like get a job earning $x.

Back at the end of May, I had a milestone birthday (gulp). My husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate because he felt it was very important that we do something special. I was in the middle of working 60+ hour weeks planning a big event and there were some other significant celebrations going on, so I asked my husband to table my celebration. I’ve never been the one to celebrate me, but, I always celebrate others.

In the back of my mind, I started thinking I wanted to get a tattoo. I have no idea where it came from or why I wanted it, but it was nagging at me. However, I was too busy to think about it, so my birthday came and went quietly which was completely fine.

Late last week, a friend suggested I meet someone, so, I looked him up on LinkedIn. I saw that he had written several articles. As I read them all, my admiration for this person grew and I realized that there was one article that stood out. It was called “Make Your Mother Happy. Be Happy.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/make-your-mother-happy-mark-freid/

"set goals that are loftier, harder to define and yet infinitely more satisfying. And … stop thinking of happiness as a reward for achieving some other goal and instead, make it the goal itself."

Then, it hit me. I knew exactly why I wanted a tattoo, I knew what I wanted, and I made it happen – happy birthday to me! I designed a heart, shaped to look like a person caring for another. At the base of the heart is a semicolon, but the circle in the semicolon is shaped as a heart.

This piece of art represents several things. First, I want to remind myself of the need to create joy and happiness. I’ve got to focus on doing things that make me and the most important people in my life happy. I want to be present in the lives of my husband and our children and for them to know I love them unconditionally. I want to cherish my friendships and know that they cherish me. This reminds me to do something that brings joy every day.

Next, my passion to pay it forward and give back. Ten years ago, our son attempted suicide for the third time. With the help of our entire family, he took negative energy and turned it into a movement for tolerance and acceptance and today, he is thriving! This reminds me we can move mountains.

My tattoo represents the lessons I learned along that journey to continue to let people know they matter and that I care. I’ve made myself available to talk with anyone facing intolerance, who feels different, or who thinks they don’t matter enough to live. Hence, the semicolon. I want others to pause and really think about the impact of their actions, and, I want myself to pause before making judgements and decisions.

Finally, the heart is colored in teal which represents the beauty in people living with Tourette Syndrome – a medical condition our son lives with every day and that has opened our world to many incredible people and to greatness.

I’m infinitely proud of my new tattoo which reminds me all day, every day of my life’s mission:. bring caring passion to everything I do and to encourage people to pause before taking negative actions.

I’m not suggesting you get a tattoo, but, when you set your next goal, think about your true purpose and find a way to remind yourself of it every day.

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