With my birthday approaching I’m reflecting back on all that has happened in the last 29 years of my life.  The older I get, the more I think birthdays should be less about celebrating the person’s actual birthday and more about celebrating the people who “birthed” them.  The never-ending encouragement, love, and support I have received from my parents, my family, my friends, my husband, and the people in my life; for them I am forever grateful for “birthing” me year after year. 

I’ve Never Been Told “You Can’t” Therefore I Continue to Try
From what I can recall, there was never a single moment in my life that my mom or dad ever told me “Melisa, you can’t do that.” Sure, they may have told me I couldn’t date before the age of sixteen, or I couldn’t stay out past a certain time, or that I couldn’t skip school.  Those to me are words of caution; not words of doubt. 

I truly believe that my desire to continue to challenge myself, to try new things and to take risks is because there has never been a seed of doubt planted in my mind since I was young. 

If I wanted to play a sport they didn’t say, “Oh, what if you get hurt?”

When I wanted to play the clarinet in the band they didn’t say, 
“What if you aren’t good at it?”

When I told them I wanted to go to college and then to grad school they never said, “You can’t do that; we can’t afford it.” Instead they helped me apply for scholarships, student loans, and contributed as much as they could.

When I told them I wanted to train for a marathon, triathlon, travel the world to compete, they never expressed a doubt that it couldn’t be done.

When I told them that Rick and I wanted to open a gym, again there were words of caution, advice, but never words of doubt.  They were there to help, to invest, to encourage, and support us. Both my mom and dad wash the towels, go to the gym when the alarm goes off in the middle of the night, fix broken toilets….you name it, they’re on it!

So why am I writing all of this? What does it matter? 
To me, it’s about returning the favor; lending support, words of encouragement, telling people “You CAN” in a world that continually tells them the opposite.  Returning the favor to my family, my friends, my clients, my co-workers….

I am so thankful to be surrounded by people encourage, inspire, and motivate me to be a better person and teaching me to believe in myself every day.  Therefore, it is my responsibility to do the same.  

“Your family and your true friends are in your life for a reason”

 – Andy Andrews (The Noticer)

So, if you’re in my life you’re in it for a reason and thank you for making my 29 years and many more to come more than I could ever imagine.