Tomorrow is my birthday! And guess what? I love getting older! I used to get depressed for weeks before my birthday (during my teens and 20's) because I anticipated that the day would just be a disappointment. The older I get, though, the more I really value the passage of time and what it brings with it: perspective, self-acceptance, contentment, maturity. That, and I am unabashedly committed to being happy as soon as I wake up each August 7th. (Even if I don't do everything I want to do, I tell myself that I can!)
This year, I'm turning 34, which is one of those murky, nothing-special ages. I don't really remember what I did the past 3 years, but I do remember the BIG fiesta we had when I turned 30. That will tide me over until 40, I think. For those birthdays in between, including tomorrow, I just want a little time alone, a little time being pampered, and the rest of the time with my family. And really yummy chocolate cake!
I do feel extremely blessed, though, with or without the chocolate cake. I have two extraordinary little girls, an extended family that loves us, and a husband who still thinks I'm HOT, even though I have this weird thing growing on my nose, warts on my feet, and not enough energy to shave my legs. I can leave the house without brushing my hair, and wearing the same wrinkled clothes I've worn all week, and still feel good about myself. That is something that has only come with the passage of time, (and an incredibly affirmative husband.) Thank goodness, because I definitely don't want to spend two hours a day curling my hair anymore, just to pump up my self-esteem!
I'm also feeling that life has more possibilities, instead of less, the older I get. I'm confident there will be time to play the piano again, when my kids are older and Mike is out of school. I'm starting to feel wanderlust again, after finally, FINALLY, being settled in one place for a good amount of time. And if Obama wins the presidency, I will feel much more optimistic about the direction of our country!
From time to time, I do flinch a little when I see someone 10 years younger doing grand and glorious things with their life or careers, and it's then that I start to feel old. I realize there are paths I didn't follow because of lack of maturity and confidence. There are skills I didn't attain because of inexperience or laziness. But another benefit of growing older is gaining the acceptance that we are all on different paths, and at different points on our paths, and for better or worse, this is where I am. I'm not fluent in French; I'm not playing in Carnegie Hall; (heck, I'm not even playing in church!) BUT I am happily married; I am crazy about being a mom; I am paying all of our bills on time; and I am looking forward to what the next 34 years have in store.