birthday reflection

March 25, 2014

funfetti cupcakes

As much as each New Year is a time for reflection, it’s my birthday when I find myself really evaluating. It’s a date I define as the separation between the old and new me. Most of you know my story by now. If not, this story pretty much sums it up. Do you have a turning point that defines two parts of your life? Perhaps a baby, becoming a mrs., scoring a major life-changing job, major weight loss or something similar can do it.

I randomly looked around my office last Friday. I was exhausted, ready for the weekend, and honestly, just ready for this coming weekend where I head to NYC to a great friend’s bachelorette. I stopped for a moment. Less than four years years ago, I would have never envisioned my life where it is today. Absolutely never, on so many levels.

As busy as my schedule can get, I often feel like I’m running in a circle, in this grind and wondering if I’m really making any progress. There are days, months, probably years when many of us feel that way. But, if we keep trying, and are determined, trust that you are making progress. During a week that just felt frustrating and slightly defeating I was reminded of four years of work. There’s nearly 1,000-sq. ft. of  office space with my company’s name on the door. I get to go to work with four employees who I’m grateful to have on this team. We work with some fantastic clients. I’m really lucky.

Then there’s this blog. This outlet I never imaged. I’ve learned how to blog on my own. Photoshop Elements. Affiliate networking. The most random stuff that has helped me in a myriad of ways. I’ve gotten to speak and meet so many of you (my favorite!). Yeah, I’m honestly a little burnt out from this right now — it’s a challenge with with the addition of another babe — but I’m insanely grateful for this platform and the invaluable people and experiences its afforded me. Oh wait, did I mention that new babe?

I haven’t spoken much about our little guy because the paperwork isn’t finalized; hopefully in April, and then I’m excited to introduce you to him in a bigger way. To share his story and how he became ours. While our first adoption story did not have a happy conclusion, this one is the stuff of fairy tales. He’s so good, so sweet, with these cuddly cheeks, blue eyes and smile that can melt the universe.

Four years ago, instead of celebrating my 30th birthday with friends the doctor was telling me she wasn’t sure I’d walk again. Not well at least. My neurologist issued me a handicap decal. I wasn’t allowed to walk and carry my four-month old little girl. I didn’t focus on any of it. I’m not sure why, I just didn’t. Yeah there were plenty of hard, crap days, but I don’t know, time went on. I’m walking — hell, I’m finally running under a 12:00 minute mile again. And, I’m here now celebrating milestones while thinking what’s next — even if it feels like I’m still in the grind.

So, what’s next? I’m realizing it has to be a little bit more for me. Sounds so selfish, right? I mean as it relates to a few key things: my family. my husband. spending quality time — I don’t have the quantity so ensuring that the moments together are good and where I’m ‘present.’ Cherishing friends who push me to be the best version of me and are as excited about my successes as I am about theirs. Being healthy. Really stepping back, evaluating what I’m eating, how I’m taking care of myself  and making sure to regularly exercise. These are the things that matter. There’s more I’m sure, and I do feel like the sky is the limit, however for today, I’m feeling pretty blessed for the gifts I’ve been given until now.  Thank you for being part of this journey with me.

{ps: this post I pray doesn’t sound boastful, nor is it a happy birthday request. just a fairly emotional time for me each year and it’s helpful for me to put it out there}

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  • Tara

    Alyson, you are such an inspiring person :) I hope you have a great time celebrating your birthday!

  • Kimberly

    I couldn’t agree with you more - your story is book worthy and it is truly amazing to see how far you have come since being given your diagnosis. I have never met someone who is stronger, more determined or more compassionate than you…and your history proves this! I remember looking at that first picture of Evan with tears rolling down my cheeks because no one deserved that happiness more than you. I couldn’t be prouder to know you & you have blessed me in so many ways over the years with our friendship. Here’s to another amazing year - happy birthday!! xoxox

  • KP

    Happy Birthday Alyson! Your blog is awesome and you are such neat girl! FAR FAR FAR beyond “average” I get it we are all an average gal at heart, but you really are a step above! XO

  • Kayla Wallace Gilbert

    Awww Alyson I love you so much! You are so inspiring and you truly have the gift of relating to people and being so personable that we feel like we know you without ‘knowing’ you! Such an amazing quality you possess! I hope you enjoy your birthday to the fullest and don’t forget - we ARE going to NYC together SOON! ; )

  • Samantha Tananbaum

    Birthdays are a mile marker for me too. I think it’s so important to look both backward and ahead so we have perspective and really make the most of our time on this Earth. You’ve been dealt some difficult obstacles, but you have come out on top. That’s something you should totally celebrate! Have an amazing birthday with your beautiful family!


  • Grit & Glamour™

    It’s always good to reflect…remembering that major health scare makes your current blessings even sweeter!

    I think my life change/second chapter was when I decided to divorce my first husband after nine years. I changed so much mentally, physically, emotionally, and I am absolutely happier than ever. That decision helped lead me to my true love and partner, and it allowed me to spread my wings and fly a bit, even if I ultimately returned home.

    Happy birthday, and have fun in NYC!

  • Andrea Darst

    Happy Birthday! I truly believe everything - good and bad - happens for a reason. I’ve had such a rough last few years, but I’m insanely thankful for all I have and know that it’s all for a reason! :)

  • ashleigh

    Happy Birthday! Again, congrats on your little guy. I can’t wait to “meet” him! If you feel like maybe you could use a break, by all means, take one! We aren’t going anywhere. You’re a new Mom. You need rest too!

  • Andi Perullo de Ledesma

    Happy Birthday! What an incredible story!!!!

  • Lyddiegal

    I always think of my birthday as the time when I’m starting a new year as well, and kind of all the important parts of holidays rolled into one. To reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going, to be grateful for the wonderful things you have in life, and to celebrate like crazy, because it’s a day just for you, and you’ve made it another year.

    I think you are such an inspiration, and I marvel at how you can balance your family, your business, and your blog.

    I hope you do celebrate in a big way, and have a very happy birthday!

    • Alyson

      Thanks so much, lady, and glad we’re on the same page… always helpful to have those points in our life/year when we can evaluate. Wishing you a wonderful year, too!

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