I'm not one of those women who dread their birthday. I'm the woman who instead counts down the days. The woman who pretty much the
Because I do. I could insert many a cliche here...'aging is a privilege denied to many'...'it beats the alternative'...and so on, but hey cliches are cliche for a reason. There's some truth in the oft spoken word.
I don't hate getting older. I certainly don't love everything about it, and in fact there's nothing that makes me feel older here lately than my eyesight or lack thereof, but do I honestly wish I were still 35?
It's a passing thought every now and then I suppose, how much fun it would be to go back for a day or a minute, or when I'm trying to read my phone without my glasses, but certainly not permanently. I was me only less so at age 35, and I imagine I'll say the same was true of this age when I'm 70.
For one thing I love my kids at this age. I've loved every age, but adult children bring richness and complexity and layers of depth into my life that's taken all the years of growing up and older together to build. At age 35 I had little girls who were positively adorable, who needed help with homework, and a car ride to ballet and those pesky school lunches packed every day.
Little girls who filled my heart to overflowing with their sweetness, their innocence, and their curiosity about everything under the sun, but you know what? Twenty years later I've got that and more, without doing algebra or making tuna fish sandwiches at 6 AM on a Monday.
I look forward to all the ways my girls grow our family, not just with the boys they've chosen to share their lives, but also with the experiences they bring to the table as adults, the places they live and travel, and their perspective on the world we live in which is sometimes from a vantage point I hadn't considered.
Marriage becomes richer with age too, at least I think so, and of course not without pouring lots in as the years roll by. At age 35 hubs and I were busy with jobs and small children, paying bills, syncing schedules and calendars, figuring out who's going where when, and trying to find spaces of time for adult conversation about important matters like should we take this job? or make that move? and what does this or that mean for the future and for our family?
We're there now. The future we planned for and sometimes worried about at age 35, and it's good. Is it all good? No, but 35 wasn't all rainbows and unicorns either.
While there are lots of challenges in this season we're now living...health, family, and resources to name a few, it occurs to me that none of those challenges are completely new or particular to aging. They're the very same issues we've always dealt with, changing in shape and urgency depending on a whole host of factors, not just whatever age I happen to be.
There's so much in this world we can't control, but I do think we always have a choice as to how we'll view this life we've been given. Every year on my birthday I make the choice to be grateful.
I think of all the people I love who've loved me right back. I think of the family I grew up in, the one I married into, and the one I helped make, and I'm grateful. I think of all the people whose paths have crossed mine, who've blessed me with their friendship or wisdom or faithfulness and I'm grateful. Not as easy to say, but no less true are the hard circumstances I've encountered, the things that didn't go my way, and even those people who were not so easy to deal with, but who taught me something and have also helped shape who I am at 35 or 55 or 75. Life is so not boring.
As I was writing this post the lyrics to an old John Michael Montgomery song popped into my head...'life's a dance, you learn as you go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow...'
On my birthday it's good to remember how much I love to dance.