I remember being a little girl and fantasizing about all of the "big" birthdays I would have growing up. You know the ones I'm talking about: 16, 18, 21, 30...I would usually stop there because I was young and dumb and figured that by age 30, I would have about lived all of the life I wanted to live.
For my sweet sixteen, I dreamed that I would cruise around town with my license in a brand new car. I actually did not get my license until I was 18. And I drove a 1994 Oldsmobile Bravada.
I imagined that by 18, I would be a mature adult who was ready to take on the world and leave the nest. Nearly a decade beyond that day, I still love to return to the refuge of home.
21 was supposed to be one big giant party. On my 21st birthday I was actually pregnant with my first child. And I must say, the cup of chocolate milk I had to celebrate was totally cray-cray.
I realized that I would turn 30 the year my little brother turned 16. That's probably why I stopped counting. And though I haven't actually gotten there yet, experience tells me that anything I would have dreamed up for 30 would have been so, so wrong.
28 is not one of those well-marked, milestone birthdays. I didn't really have any visions of what my life would look like now.
I definitely hoped I would be married and have children. I figured I would be working. And deep down, I probably really hoped I'd be fabulously rich and famous. You know, like all normal, not-at-all-unrealistic people...
But here I am. Married to a soldier. A stay-at-home mother of two kids. With a body that simultaneously amazes me and fails me. With hair that wants to be 80. And with skin that still thinks it's 13.
Age 27 was the first year that I actually felt old. Even as I write that, I know that 27 is not old, but man-did I feel old. I celebrated that birthday at the neighborhood Cracker Barrel, I made my birthday cheesecake, and I got a rocking chair for a present. And you know what? People can snark all they want, because I love that rocking chair...In fact, I think it was finally feeling old that gave me the "acceptance that comes with age."
This year, 28 still feels old. But I celebrated with my children by taking them to see The Lego Movie, I played a game of basketball on a Little Tikes hoop set, I blew bubbles in the backyard, and I ate some of my birthday cheesecake.
I realize these might not sound like the most noteworthy things to talk about, but they are the things that make my life. Mine. And I'm proud of it. All 28 years of it. All of the victories and failures that have come from it. Rocking chairs, bubbles, and all.
I don't know if I'm who I'm supposed to be today. And I'm not really sure what "self-identifiers" will mark me next year. But this much I know: I will love Jesus. I will love my family and friends. I will drink wine. I will crack a lot of silly jokes and laugh at a lot of inappropriate ones. I will overdress for almost every occasion. I will be hard on myself. I will be reflective. And I will eat a cheesecake when I turn 29...and probably write a blog about how old I feel the year before my life ends ;)
And so my challenge to you, my friends, (and to myself) for the next year is this: