(Following a friend's example, in honor of my 30th birthday I have decided to post 30 things I have accomplished in my life in 30 years. So for the remaining 20 days leading up to my birthday watch for a new post each day celebrating these 30 things.)
No pictures for this one... that would seem a little odd. Because this time I am writing about love. In my 30 years I have had the privilege of falling in love, having my heart broken both my myself and by others, and I have gotten back up again, moving on to a brighter and clearer future, more hopeful than I ever could have imagined.
I can still remember my first love and still have a good friendship with him. He taught me what it means to be in a relationship and how to love someone else for exactly who they are without wanting to change them because you embrace all those things that are different between you two. Simultaneously, our differences ultimately led to our not being together anymore, and it was the right step, but it was still one of the best relationships I have had; I learned so much about myself, about love, and about what I want in a partner.
I've also been in a relationship that was toxic and ended up breaking my heart. I've been in a relationship that I gave up too much of myself and drowned myself in the other person because of the hope I had for the future. I've been in a relationship in which I was deceived over and over again, lied to and betrayed, but I dismissed so much because I wanted to forgive beyond reason for the sake of love.
I've been in relationships that were based on friendships that taught me to love myself first and to find someone that was first proud of who I am without them, and even more proud to be together because we bring out the best in one another. I've been in relationships that were WORK and in relationships that were tons of fun, learning that the greatest relationships are both.
In my 30 years I have loved intensely, felt incredibly broken, and felt incredibly whole again. I stand tall today thankful for all that I have learned, especially about myself in my 30 years.