When I was a little girl, my family bought a lot of our books at yard sales (tag sales!) and flea markets. I still love a good used book! One of the most influential books I’ve ever read came from one of these days of shopping – Born Free, by Joy Adamson. My copy is so old, a corner of the cover crumbled this morning when I picked it up. I remember reading it over and over – flipping through to see the pictures of majestic lions and people of a culture unfamiliar to my own. I had forgotten the main lion’s name was Elsa and can’t wait to tell my little one who is still obsessed with Frozen.
This book opened me up to a world of a powerful woman standing up for creatures without a voice of their own. It showed me that a woman can change the world, and she can do so by being caring, kind, and strong-willed. Adamson, and later an admiration for Jane Goodall, led me to grad school to learn how to write legislation that would protect animals – pets & farm creatures – from cruelty. I haven’t finished grad school yet, and my life took me in another direction career-wise, but I am still inspired by women like Adamson & Goodall every day.
I was reminded of the importance of their influences on me as a young person today when this video of Portia giving Ellen her 60th birthday present. I sat there crying for a few minutes because of how wonderful this is. Not only because it’s so thoughtful and makes the world a better place, but because Ellen, too, makes the world a better place by being caring, kind, and strong-willed. Just over 20 years ago, Ellen found the bravery to announce to the world she was gay on TV! At the time 68% of people polled said gay marriage shouldn’t be legal. Ellen didn’t let that get in her way.
My birthday is coming up – in just ten days. It’s a big exciting one – I’m turning 35! I’m entering a new stage in my life – MID 30s! It’s a perfect time to sit and reflect on all the things I’ve accomplished and all the things I hope to do as an official person in my MID 30s! I’m so proud of the friends I’ve surrounded myself with, my education and my career, by beautiful home with an incredible husband and my sweet, wild child. It’s most definitely not the life I planned or the life I expected, but my heart feels warm knowing it’s mine, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m going to head into my birthday remembering to be caring, kind, and strong-willed, and remember that though life tosses us curve balls (often), things will always fall into place when the time is right.