Now, I have had some pretty wonderful birthdays. When I turned 9 I was completely gobsmacked when my parents gave me a piano. How does one move a beautiful upright piano into a house completely unnoticed? Well, THEY did and I was blown away. When I turned 20, my best friend organized a party of people so near and dear to me to gather at my favorite bistro that I cried my mascara off within minutes. Twenty one? Car keys in a box. Turning 25 was shared with another September 22 baby who gave me a button to wear that said “Kiss Me, It’s My Birthday” and it kicked off a whole year of throwing ridiculously cool theme birthday parties for each person in my circle of friends. My mom, husband and best friend conspired to throw me a surprise party when I turned 30, which was THE thing to help me feel like I was getting my groove back after having had my son earlier that year. Thirty Nine was spent in Baltimore with several hundred of my favorite bloggers, teaching a Zumba master class, wearing a hat that said “It’s My F$*%ING Birthday”, and truly believing that we were able to get #effbomb38 to trend on Twitter, if only for a moment. Forty was equally epic, having a glow-party BASH at the studio, raising money for rescue dogs. And when I turned 41, Trophy Husband surprised me again by coordinating with friends from back home who drove all night long, showed up on my front porch and yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY while I blinked and cried in disbelief.
Every year, big celebration or small, I am always sure that THAT particular birthday was the best one yet.
2016 has brought its challenges. There have been times that I’ve felt pain, unease, sadness or sorrow. While I haven’t stayed stuck in any of the low moments, I still acknowledge they happened. It’s important, I think, to hold on to hard times for a while. To be still with them, and learn. Like LEARN learn – not the lesson “they” think you need, people, or gawkers or haters – but the lesson that comes from a place bigger than man. For me, that place is God, but for others it could be anything. The Universe.
That’s why I would argue that this year has actually been pretty great. Character building, yes. But great. Because for every craptastical situation that has happened, true GOOD that has emerged. REAL good. Adult, grown up good. Like knowing that when something bad happens, my family comes TOGETHER and rallies, regardless of past grudges or hurts or disagreements. Like sitting down face to face with somebody I wronged, and being given the opportunity to apologize. Or like seeing my daughter being carefree, confidently playing with friends without stress or worry.
Sometimes the people we love do unlovable things. Sometimes WE do unlovable things. When it happens, we will either be who we always were and act like we’ve always acted, or we will take the opportunity to learn, change and grow.
My 42nd year has taught me some big lessons. Some may just be human lessons, but I think some are GOD lessons. Like, MEME worthy lessons about people and loyalty and trust and family.
I’ve learned that true wisdom does not boast; if someone is telling you how wise they are, they are making an attempt to manipulate you. It’s up to you whether or not you fall for it.
I’ve learned that the act of making a mistake isn’t the big deal; it’s the response to the mistake that matters.
I’ve learned that BEING a good or positive person has nothing to do with SAYING you’re a good or positive person.
I think those lessons are some pretty wonderful gifts. Happy Birthday to me!
I had a spectacular birthday this year. Colorful bags full of carefully chosen gifts, thoughtful notes written in heartfelt hilarious cards, crepe paper streamers, dinner dates, surprise texts, phone calls, and more hugs and Happy Birthdays then I can even count. The celebration spilled over into a few days, but the ACTUAL one I quietly enjoyed with my husband, holding hands and sitting on the same side of the booth at lunch, and with my children, who skipped the traditional birthday cards and wrote me letters instead.
It was the best one yet.