I turned thirty seven last week. We celebrated by going to Disney World like any adult would do.
Actually, the truth is more like it was fall break and we were traveling and it just happened to be my birthday, but pretending it was on purpose sounds fun.
When it’s your birthday and you’re at a Disney park, they give you a pin that announces to everyone it’s your birthday. I lost count of the crew members who wished me a happy birthday, but I would say it was at least thirty of them.
Happy Birthday, Mary!
As someone who enjoys not always being seen, it was a little overwhelming. Especially when half the time, my family doesn’t even get me birthday cards and, more than likely, I have bought my own birthday present (a new green jacket, thanks for asking). I like celebrating others’ birthdays but don’t really care too much to get a lot of attention on my own.
My kid self would be so disappointed in my adult self.
But then my adult self would tell my kid self sometimes I eat candy for dinner, and we’d be cool.
At what point do we as adults get to give up the charade that it was a hard year and instead admit being an adult IN GENERAL is really hard?
Is it thirty seven?
I think it’s thirty seven.
Not that the past year was all bad. There was a lot of magical, beautiful, wonderful things that happened on my last trip around the sun. If I want the good, I have to accept the bad too.
Give and take.
Learn and grow.
Break and heal.
What did I learn this past year? Thanks for asking, lemme tell you.
-I learned that sometimes all you need is a drink of water and a walk around the block to get out of a funk. I learned that sometimes medicine is necessary to shake the funk and that neither of those are bad.
-I learned it’s good to keep a standing appointment with your therapist because just when you think things are calm, just when things feel manageable, BOOM, life says not so fast.
-I saw what happens when your kids get older and they develop personalities and sense of humors independent of you, and it’s just the most enjoyable thing to experience and witness.
-I remembered there’s nothing wrong with mindless, frivolous stories that keep you up all night reading just because they can. Sleep is important, but skipping it occasionally is too.
-I learned that friendships can end and you can grieve them without wanting them back. The end can make you sad but also really, really peaceful.
-I was taught again and again I’m not in charge, I control very little, and I am going to be okay without either of those things.
-I was reminded that my home filled with people I love is still the best place to be.
-I learned forgiving others is right but sometimes it’s about my freedom too.
-I learned that unbalanced relationships–with one person always taking and one person always giving–will eventually topple.
-I’m (still) learning that maybe you can have too many books. Maybe. Check back at thirty eight.
-I learned that boundaries are hard but good. How others react to boundaries tells you how healthy or unhealthy they are; this isn’t yours to change, but you can take note.
-I learned if you don’t know the answer, grace is a good place to start.
-I’m learning that character counts, and it doesn’t lie. We don’t need to fight what others think or say about us because actions always speak louder than words.
-I learned that God is close to the brokenhearted, and His comfort is better than anything else I can find.
-I realized this world is more painful and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
-I learned the more grateful you are, the more you have to be grateful for. Gratitude gives you new, better eyes.
-I remembered what deep, peaceful, safe sleep feels like. I didn’t realize it was missing, but I’m glad it’s returned.
-I learned when friends let you in on their healing and hurting, it is the most sacred gift. I was taught how to do this well by others and getting to be on the other side feels holy.
-I learned that to-do lists are comforting, but so is ignoring them.
-I realized a queen-size bed can hold two adults, a seven year old, a nine year old, and a medium-sized dog even though it feels impossible.
September was hard in unexpected ways so as October slowly made its way here, I anticipated it more than normal. Let the leaves turn colors. Bring on the cooler temperature. Usher in the shorter days. Something about the slow dying, the scheduled end to summer and growing felt right to my soul.
I’m walking away from a lot as I begin another year: jobs, security, relationships, routines, answers, comfort for the sake of comfort. I’m excited and expectant of thirty seven. It will be hard and good, sad and beautiful. I hope it includes traveling, writing, my family, new and old friends, lots of laughter, really good food, piles of books, less stuff, and more experiences. I pray it is wrapped in obedience, humility, patience, love, grace, and mercy.
For my family.
Photography by Huff Photography
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