I turned 38 last week.
I wasn’t really excited about my birthday this year. I haven’t really been excited about a birthday in a long time. There is just something about being reminded that I’m growing older that is difficult for me. I’m well aware that there are many joys that come with age and experience. And, of course, I’d prefer growing older to the alternative. But I still couldn’t shake the dull sadness of impending age leading up to January 22.
What I forgot- what I forget every year- is that my birthday isn’t about how old I am. It’s about the people that love me. It’s about loving myself. It’s about gratitude. Every year I dread my birthday and then I fall in love with it again.
This year was no different. I was celebrated by loved ones near and far. I got incredible gifts from both sets of parents (mine, and the ones I inherited through Drew). I was sent cards, texts, and phone calls. My coworkers decorated my office and treated me to breakfast, lunch, dessert, and drinks. The kids hand picked hilarious presents for me (a set of grill tongs housed in a light saber from Griff and a Sophia the First necklace from Evvie) and sang me happy birthday. I went to my favorite restaurant for breakfast the day after my birthday and then an awesome mountain hike.
And I loved every second. I overcame my fear of growing older and embraced the joy and love of that weekend. I was (and am) so very grateful for the people in my life- the people that made sure I felt special on my birthday (I did feel VERY special). I even felt vibrant, strong…young.
And then Sunday night I messed everything up. I was walking down the basement stairs with a full, heavy laundry basket and the dog tried to get under my feet. I moved awkwardly to avoid tripping and I immediately felt it in my back. Since then, I have spent the week in various forms of pain- from stabbing and excruciating to dull throbbing and everything in between- never completely gone. I know in the grand scheme of things it’s minor. Probably a torn muscle or sprained ligament. But I am hobbling around, unable to do the things I normally do, and I feel so… old.
Two years ago, to make myself feel better about growing older, I wrote a list of things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 40. I revisited the list and was happy to note that I was able to cross several of those things off, and I have definite plans to do others. I still have two more years before then- plenty of time.
And, honestly, 40 is young.