As I turn the page to 42, I’ve come to realize this simple truth:

My birthday wish days are behind me.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I closed my eyes and really “wished” for anything. My recent birthdays seem to represent one continual gratitude fest, filled with thoughts of all the ways I have been blessed by people, experiences, and limitless grace.

In honor of another birthday on 9-9, here are 9 reasons I’m just happy to be here. I could share 42, but I know you don’t have all day. To be honest, neither do I – I have celebrating to do!

I finally know who I am at my best.

I may not always live up to the hype, but for me, recognizing my version of great brings clarity to the journey.

I’m surrounded by love.

My husband, my children, my family, my friends, my colleagues – I’m surrounded by deep, abiding love…the kind I don’t have to make excuses for.

I never run out of ideas.

I may run out of answers, but never ideas. When I get stuck, I just ask a new question. Creativity is truly abundant. Few truths have meant more to me and my career.

Doors will open.

I’ve been on this faith walk long enough to know that if I keep my eyes, ears, and heart open, the universe will provide. New opportunities will present themselves, and  the path will emerge.

I found my courage.

My life is the culmination of countless leaps of faith. Have you ever heard the saying, “the will of God won’t take you where the grace of God can’t keep you?” YES. I just step out now…no more hiding behind the curtain.

Life is a learning journey.

I make mistakes all the time, but I have come to understand that I am not my mistakes. I am pure possibility, and every day is new.

I’m free.

Free to be happy or sad. Free to sit or stand…or fly. Free to be where I’m needed, even I’m the one doing the needing. Freedom is a gift.

I’m healthy.

Enough said.

What’s before me is greater than what’s behind me.

And what’s behind me is pretty amazing.

I’m ready for what the future holds and, at the same time, exceedingly grateful for the NOW. The now includes you. Thank you for sharing my space, my ideas, and my passion for unleashing the potential in all of us. This list is not exclusive to me. These are gifts available to each of us. All we have to do is open our arms to receive them, and step out and up with intention.

Let’s all look for more reasons to be thankful.

Blessings, and Happy Birthday to me! And you…whenever that is!

Tara Jaye Frank is CEO of TJF Career Modeling, Corporate Culture Advisor for Hallmark Cards, Inc., and the author of Say Yes: A Woman’s Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose, written to help women from all cultural backgrounds chart a career course they can believe in and achieve. Tara consults and speaks on women’s leadership and diversity and inclusion. Follow her on Twitter @tarajfrank, Instagram @tarajayefrank, Facebook at Facebook/tarajayefrank, or visit her at

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