I’ve officially been an adult for half of my life.

This month I turn 44 years old. At 22 I graduated from college and officially went off to live on my own. I took my car (and car payment), my school loans, and as many of my belongings as could fit in my Ford Escort and I moved to a new city, not knowing anyone, looking to start my life anew–on my own terms. I was completely financially independent of my parents and had decided that my friendships back home weren’t exactly what I thought they were, or at least weren’t the quality of relationships that I deserved.

I was pretty good at the old model of success. You know, that one that measures with grades, dollars, and pounds. I knew how to score pretty high on that spectrum which ranged from {failure/loser} to {success/rockstar} that existed out in the world as I knew it. I was a performer; a high achiever.

I’m a different woman now.

I love my life. I am more connected to my Spirit than I have ever been on this human adventure. I have so much knowledge about how to take good care of my body (and I use it most of the time!). Since having 3 babies in 3 years back in the early 2000s, I feel I’ve gained back a large percentage of my brain cells. I have devoted my life to raising my children from a strong foundation of values and intention. My life purpose–to listen, guide, and love–is woven into my life work as a Mentor.

I started a business that is rooted in integrity, offering life coaching, essential oil therapy, and energy work for the home and the human condition. I’m teaching myself to be an entrepreneur, and everything about the first half of my life would tell me that I can nail this.

But I’m a different woman now.

I’m a stand for the new paradigm of success, and I’m still teaching myself what that means. As a mother and an entrepreneur, I don’t have a teacher or a boss telling me I’m doing a good job, giving me constructive criticism (which honestly, I was never awesome at receiving anyway), and giving me a grade or a pay raise to reward my hard work and my brilliance.

I have moody teenagers, and a never-ending flood of ideas and tasks that sometimes make it out of my brain and into the world. There are not old-paradigm measures for success here. I need to find it within myself. And THAT is the nature of the new paradigm.

My 44 year old body is so very different than my 22 year old body. It does not serve my spirit to measure it’s value by pounds or inches–it just doesn’t. This strong and resilient body holds my limitless and perfect spirit. I won’t minimize it by criticism or shame.

Yet, I desire beauty. As a woman, I want the reflection in the mirror to match the beauty I feel inside of me. I love the feeling of clothes that skim by body. I have fun with make up, jewelry, and styling my hair–adorning my body is creative play for me. As a human, my ego loves a compliment and to draw some positive attention.

This new model for a fulfilling and abundant life requires consistent mental recalibration. The pull to partake in our society’s age-old ways is strong. I find myself needing to sequester myself in the safety of nature regularly. The natural world doesn’t survive in an adrenaline-cortisol, caffeinated state. She follows a rhythm. She cycles through phases of creation and destruction, birth and death, ebbs and flows. This is LIFE.

So today, on my 44th birthday, I take pause. I see my life as imperfectly perfect, because I believe that everything is happening for me. I believe I am guided by a magnificent infinite love, and I believe that my life today is the result of a million choices I have made leading up to this day. I’m willing to own the bad ones and learn from them. I can celebrate the good ones and strengthen my standards for myself.

Do I wish I had less debt, more money in the bank, 10 less pounds, half a dozen more stamps on my passport, and a bathroom that makes me feel like a Queen? The human Cristin says, shit ya, I do. But in granting myself the serenity to tune in to the pure essence that is the spark of the Divine within me, I feel whole. That worldly stuff doesn’t matter because I am loved. I am doing authentic and meaningful work in the world. Kindness comes easy. I get another day to make choices that align with that spark and to grow into a better human because of the cracks in this veneer. The cracks are where the light can come in.

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