By Sara McGlothlin

Yesterday I turned 38. I get very reflective around my birthday, as I have written about before. I skimmed last year’s post and just now realized while my calendar has majorly cleared up over the past year, I haven’t maintained my intention of having more work days that light me up. Even as I type that, I know it isn’t entirely true (a benefit of a regular mindfulness practice!). I have made progress: incorporating more Healthified article writing into my work flow, recipe testing for my Counting Colors book, creating Gratisfied baked goods, launching a new Gratisfied product – but it is eye-opening to realize that a whole year can pass you by, and time is easily taken up with various distractions. You find yourself asking Where has the time gone? and Why don’t I feel as if I am further ahead?

This year however, as I was journaling about another trip around the sun, it was the first year where I didn’t feel as if there was something to fix. As humans, I believe we are always a work in progress; we are constantly evolving and changing. But I have always had this habit of pinpointing something I didn’t like about myself just so I could fix it. A project if you will, simply to give my mind something to do. Through therapy and years of working with a life coach, I have done a lot of work on developing self-awareness, so I completely understand what I am doing (I talk more about this in my upcoming book Counting Colors). Sometimes when the emotional world is too hard and heavy, our minds look for a distraction to cope. This can take the shape of a numbing agent (drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, work etc), but for me, it has taken the form of “there is an ideal ‘me,’ which I have yet to attain, so let me look for the problem areas so I have something to solve.” The habit still exists, but now I refrain from attaching to it. That is not to say that I don’t have areas I want to improve upon – I have a brand called Healthified for a reason. I do still believe we can be better versions of ourselves. The difference is when the belief is rooted in self-love rather than loathing. To have a growth mindset rather than scarcity. There is also something that happens after becoming a mom that forces you to look outside of yourself for fulfillment. Coupled with getting older, I think it has led to more self-acceptance. That feels pretty good. My intention for this year is to wake up each day and feel like I can be myself. Authentic. Open. More go with the flow. Now on to a birthday recap!

I felt like I had been celebrating my birthday for a few days prior, so my actual birthday was very low-key. We all slept in, had a lazy morning, enjoyed some smoothie bowls and time in the backyard.

We had a two year old’s birthday party to attend that afternoon. Selfishly, I got to see some friends, and it was a couple of hours of good family fun.

We then dropped Mason off at his grandmother’s so Alex and I could go out to dinner. We tried Lost Letter for the first time, and it was great. The restaurant had an amazing ambiance, delicious food, and refreshing cocktails. If you are in the Richmond area, I highly recommend.

I started off with a spicy Mezcal margarita.

We ordered a couple of small plates to start: the gem lettuce salad with pea pesto, and the octopus appetizer. There is something about local lettuce. You can seriously taste a difference.

I got the tile fish entree as my main dish. So good!

I did not get around to baking my own birthday cake as I have in years past, so we stopped off at the local dessert shop Shyndigz for a take-home slice. Of course I went with the peanut butter pie! Anything with peanut butter is right up my alley. I enjoyed a couple of bites after blowing out some candles. It was a little too sweet for my taste, so I definitely want to Healthify it!

It was a great start to a new year!