An Open Letter to 25 years of Being Alive

I am writing this exactly 6 hours before my 25th year on this planet called earth is fulfilled. How can I be so sure? I was born at 4am on August 9th, 1987 in a German town called Offenburg and I am currently in a hotel room in the beautiful town of Saint Tropez in the South of France.

It is August 8th, 2012. 10:11pm. The clock may turn as I continue to write this piece, but my sentiments and thoughts will stay the same.

It is a beautiful, summery evening. The sound of music coming from popular, trendy bars is filling the air and the olympics are airing in the background with a – for me- hardly understandable French commentary.

I have just returned from a nice stroll around the town and a delicious dinner in one of the many trendy restaurants that Saint Tropez has to offer.

It seems to be a night filled with energy, fun and hope. A night full of positivity. A night to remember.

It is a night of ambiguous feelings for me. A night full of amazing, sentimental memories, but also a night that reminds me of lost hopes and dreams.

I am mere hours away from a milestone in my life and I could share a lot about those last 25 years.

I could choose to write about my lost youth due to anorexia and my psychopath brother.

I could choose to write about my failures including no college degree and no thriving career.

I could choose to write about how I believed that baring my soul on one of the biggest blogs in the world would be my breakthrough and how it blew up right in my face.

But I don’t.

Instead, I choose to write about how lucky I was during those 25 years.

Instead, I choose to write about the glorious gifts that I was given.

I want to highlight an early childhood that has been full of fun, freedom and self-expression. I’ve played, danced and roamed around freely in the safety of our village.

I want to highlight all the people that have been there cheering for me, helping me and influencing me.

There’s been my sister, my shining star. There’s been my mom and dad, doing the best they could under the circumstances of life.

There’s been my piano teacher, my mentor and accidental counselor. There’ve been my grandparents, lovingly embracing me whenever I needed them. There’s been my “Mama Reini”, giving me security when I felt like I was in a free fall.

There’s been my husband, loving me unconditionally when I felt like I was dead inside.

More recently, there’ve bee my “imaginary” internet friends. There’s been YOU. And many, many more.

I want to highlight my incredible fortune of being able to travel the world- just like I am doing now. I’ve been to places that many people only dream of all of their lives. Traveling fulfills me, energizes me, keeps me going and never ever leaves me feeling empty. Traveling has been my first love and I’ll never ever go without it.

I want to highlight the wisdom and strength I was able to gather in the last 25 years because of all my struggles. I would not be where I am today without experiencing these hardships and that is OK. No, it’s more than that. It’s the reason I’ve uncovered my self-worth and the knowledge that I am a treasure and an invaluable addition to this world.

I want to highlight my strength in recovering from anorexia and finally feeling at peace with my body. Though my upper arms could be leaner… ;0

I want to highlight finding my life’s purpose and the fulfillment I derive from it is greater than anything I could have ever wished for. I’ve finally put all the pieces together and know that empowering others to reconnect with their self-worth is what I am here for to do.

And last but not least, I want to highlight my excitement about the next 25 years. I am looking forward to every single new day because I know that I will only get stronger, healthier and better at living, breathing and being.

I am going to wake up to a delicious French birthday breakfast in one of my most favorite cities in the entire world – my Saint Tropez -, a place that is filled with many of my fondest memories. And despite the fact that I am in a state of extreme transition, how could I not choose to see how amazing my life has been so far, is and will be?

How about you? Which milestones have you celebrated and how did you choose to look at them?

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/karinhoegh Karin Høgh

    Happy Birtday Anne-Sophie – I hope more people like you would find their passion and share with their niche in a podcast :-)

    • amindmedia

      Thank you, Karin! I share your hope and as long as we keep putting these thoughts and actions out there, we inspire and move people to head in their “right” direction. :)

  • http://twitter.com/anca1268 Anca Dumitru

    Well, wishing you a happy birthday, dear fellow Leo! :) Mine is in three days.

    Thanks for sharing your positive thoughts while reaching such a wonderful milestone. Honestly, I don’t remember my 25th birthday. It’s way too long ago. But much later I started to do the same kind of exercise, mentally not in writing, unfortunately, i.e. focusing on the good things that happened to me along the time.

    There’s been both good and bad obviously, but the good ones outweigh the bad ones. I can’t complain. I will most probably do the same thing on Sunday, this time putting words on digital paper.

    I always read your posts and admire your positive angle. Not only is it inspiring, but rejuvenating, too. Keep up the good work and enjoy your birthday with your friends and loved ones!

    • amindmedia

      Anca, thank you for your birthday wishes and I wish you a Happy Birthday too (unfortunately a bit late!). I hope you had a fantastic day.

      Yes, focusing on the good is the best way to keep moving forward and living at peace, isn’t it? The good memories should be the only ones in our minds. Sure, we can learn from bad situations and we often get out of a bad place with a stronger mind and a better perspective, but in the end, we should really zone in on what was GREAT about our life in the past.

      Yay for traveling. We really are kindred spirits then, aren’t we? It’s the best gift you can give yourself. :) I really hope you enjoy your time in Birmingham. I’ve never been there, so it’d be awesome if you shared your experiences with us.

      Thank you for your encouragement, Anca. It means more to me than you will ever know.

      Again, I wish you a happy (belated) birthday and I am sending you love and happiness.

  • http://www.geoffgentry.org/ xforce11

    Anne,
    It has truly wonderful to see all that the Lord has done in your life in the few years I have been one of your “imaginary” friends. I know that He is using you in mighty ways to help others have hope and peace. I pray that you and Andreas would continue to grow in grace in your marriage. Have a wonderful birthday trip!

    • Luiseisok

      Yes, God is great and HE never forsakes us.

    • amindmedia

      Thank you, Geoff. Thank you for being such an amazing friend. I am truly blessed to have you in my life!

  • http://www.facebook.com/fbahram Farnoosh Brock

    Bon anniversaire a toi, chere Anne-Sophie. Je te souhaite une tres bonne journee xoxo!!

    • amindmedia

      Merci beaucoup, Farnoosh. C’était un inoubliable jour. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nick.rosaci Nick Rosaci

    No college degree? No big deal! You’re smarter than most people I know with a masters degree! I’m thankful for my education, but learned a few years ago that it’s only a piece of paper, and I could have gotten all that education on my own; it just might have taken a little longer. And that piece of paper hasn’t earned me any more money than my colleagues around town.

    And your career might not be “thriving,” but it has allowed you to travel much more. Not many of us have thriving careers right now, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    You’re doing amazing work, and you should keep it up.

    Anyhow, happy birthday, and here’s to many, many more.

    • amindmedia

      Nick, thanks for stopping by here! :)

      I know you are right about having a degree and having a thriving career, but sometimes I ask myself “What if…” and the doubts just keep coming back to me. I guess that’s normal and I know that I will be able to accumulate all the knowledge I need to know in order to build my business without a degree. I know all of that and still, maybe because my family is so BIG on degrees, I doubt myself…

      Thanks for your encouragement and the kind words.

      • http://www.facebook.com/nick.rosaci Nick Rosaci

        I’ll tell you what a professor told me when I couldn’t decide if I wanted a performance or education degree:

        “With a degree in music performance, a cup of coffee will cost you 50 cents. With a degree in music education, that same cup of coffee will cost you 50 cents.”

        Granted, that was a few years ago,

        If you have a degree in business, a cup of coffee will cost you a euro. If you don’t have a degree, that same cup of coffee will cost you a euro.

        You know what’s great about studying a subject outside of college? You can buy books that are a few years old, but still have the same information as the new, expensive publications; and you might only spend a few euros tops!

        And it seems your family and mine are opposite. I come from a family that values hard, blue collar labor over education. I was the first person in my family to get a college degree. And that goes back many generations.

        Hope you had a great birthday! You’re going to do great. :)

        • amindmedia

          Your professor was very wise! :)

          Yes, it really sounds like our families are the total oppositie. For me, it was a not even an option not to think about going to university and getting a degree. It was simply a fact from early on. It’s the whole abundance and scarcity mindset, I think.

          I guess, our families could learn a lot from each other. There’s great value in both education and hard, blue collar labor. :)

          But ultimately, it’s up to us to decide what we want to do with our lives, right?

          We have to determine our own way, otherwise we’ll only end up bitter and empty.

          I had a great birthday, thanks. It was a super relaxed day at the beach and later we had a delicious dinner. Nothing spectacular, but perfect as it was. :)

  • Colleen Glatfelter

    Happy Birthday, beautiful! We’re very lucky to get to have you on this earth <3

    • amindmedia

      Thank you so much, Colleen. Love you

  • Luiseisok

    Dear Girlfriend,
    I need to tell you something. You are one of the most tremendous human beings I have ever met. Not only are you beautiful on the outside, but you have this amazing ability to allow your inner beauty to shine through and magnify all of your gifts.

    You are a friend, a sister, wife and daughter
    You are a motivator
    You are standing strong
    You are tenacious
    You are relentless in fighting the disease
    You are a role model (yes, you are)
    You are so much more than your own eyes see –but rather what we see when we look at you with love and adoration.
    Anne, you are the total package! You are one of the greatest blessings in so many life’s you’ve touched already with your blog, website and all of the other media you use to reach the lost and the lonely.
    Because the middle name of Anorexia is just that.
    I look at your travels and the impact you have made in so many lives already, and all I can think is …WOW…how rich it all has been.
    Thank you for being my friend from that first day I’ve met you on your blog.
    Thank you for every single conversation we had. Thank you for listening to me ramble on and on…endlessly …about my past.
    More importantly, thank you for supporting me and others by keeping hope alive.
    This is what we like about you; the true act of friendship and the love you so willingly give to everybody on here.
    Please don’t ever waste your time with people who say they love you, but treat you as if they don’t. The people who critique you and the ones that disapprove. Let me tell you that those people do not represent the important demographic; those people will always be there. It’s up to us to love them – nevertheless.
    Often it’s just jealousy about their own inequities. Don’t worry about those voices but rather concentrate on those who appreciate a woman of your caliber.
    I know for a fact that those are many. Your friends, family, and husband are watching you. They watch how you accept a compliment. They also watch how you accept criticism. They pay attention to what you buy into and they will follow your example. Think about who is watching you and act on their behalf, which I know you always do. You are shining example of so much goodness, talent and beauty and so much inner joy. Your work and dedication, even though you‘re working through your own pain, is truly permeating and reflecting what you’re all about. I know we all have our tribulations and life has its ups and downs. But the downs do let us appreciate when we’re up again. You have inspired thousands and will continually do so as they see you as a shining star by your devotion in shedding light into this disease.
    I would like to wish you a wonderful birthday and a successful year by continuously representing the luminosity for so many that are lost in the darkness of the Dis-ease
    Happy Birthday girl and I LOVE YOU FOREVER…………Luise

    PS: In regard to that missing degree you often mention. I like you to know that it is “””Depth-over a degree”””…..always, in Gods economy. Life is not measured on a stale degree, but rather on the abundance you leave behind.
    .

    .

    • amindmedia

      Luise, I have no words. I am sitting here with tears rolling down my eyes. I am humbled, honored and a million other emotional states that I cannot describe right now.

      You have no idea how much joy and hope YOU have brought to my life and how much you have influenced me in everything that I have been doing. Thank you for being there, Luise. Thank you for being YOU.

      I LOVE your opinion on degrees and share it 100%. Sometimes, although not willingly, those old beliefs creep in and tell me otherwise. Thank you for reminding me of what is really important.

      I love you, my friend, and I feel like the luckiest girl having gotten to know you. :)

      Love always

  • http://twitter.com/PilotFire David Delp

    Darling, you give a new meaning to the word, ‘alive.’ I’m so happy we got to meet and share our stories with each other. You have a fan, a friend, and an advocate, a kindred spirit on the other side of this giant planet. Love to you.

    To answer your questions, I celebrate my latest divorce. I tell people I’m not so great at marriage, but I’m great at divorce. My daughter and my exes and I know how to look out for each other, better than ever before, it seems. That’s a big deal for me.

    -David

    • amindmedia

      David, it’s awesome to see you here. I am just as happy as you that we’ve gotten to know each other and I know we both will go places. :) I canNOT wait to see what you are up to.

      Being great at divorce is something that not a lot of people can say about themselves. It takes a lot of grace and wisdom to handle such a delicate situation in a respectful way. I am super proud of you for knowing the importance of remaining peaceful and being able to look each other in the eyes even after a divorce is finalized. Go you. :)

  • http://twitter.com/jsteinklauber John Steinklauber

    Happy Birthday Anne! Here’s to many more!

    • amindmedia

      Thank you so much, John!

  • Be Inspired! – Susa

    Hi dear!

    I will follow you over to this site from Fighting Anorexia. You have survived and want to move on. I feel exactly the same. I just realized… you and I were born on the same day!!! How cool is that:) Me a bit earlier though;) Hugs dear cyber friend! (I have always been blogging, lately I have just more concentrated on my own posting and not commenting that much, but reading you and others all the same.)
    Be Inspired! – Susa
    http://www.makinen.fr/susa/wordpress/

    • http://aMINDmedia.com Anne-Sophie

      Hi Susa,

      it’s so good to hear from you. How cool that we were born on the same day. Happy belated Birthday. :) I’ve missed you and thought often of you, but I knew you were doing your thing. Thanks for sticking with me. :)

      xoxo

  • http://twitter.com/ArielleLeeBair Arielle Lee Bair

    Keep living your beautiful life and a very happy belated birthday! :-)

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Thank you so much, Arielle. xoxo