Countdown to 37. Thirty-friggin-seven.
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this, and kinda understand why most women would have stopped the clock 12 years ago. Don't get me wrong-- I am absolutely stoked that it's my birthday! But 37??
When I was a kid, on my birthday, I was always asked, "Well, do you feel older yet?" And truth be told, I still don't feel any older. I still have the heart and spirit that I did 20 years ago. So why am I freaking out about a number?? I have never done that before. It didn't happen when I turned 30, I am not freaked out about being 40..... why now?
Well, it could be because I realize that the average life expectancy is between 75-85 yrs old. (At least in my family it is). I realized a couple weeks ago that my life is about half over now. What the crap have I done in the first half of my life? I have 3 fantastic kids that could drain the sanity out of any normal mother and a beautiful and fantastic husband that finishes off the sanity that was left after the kids. (I love each of them with every breath in my body.) But I don't really have much to show for the first 37 years of my life and I think that is what has me a bit freaked out.
I'm not really one to get caught up in monetary items or keeping up appearances. I'm not concerned that I don't have the newest car or the biggest house. I am just thankful that I have a roof over my head and a way to get from point A to point B. Those are not the things that make me the person I am.
So what do I have to show for 37 years of life?? After contemplating (for the last 6+ hours) this is the conclusion I have come to.
1. I have lots of gray hair; The first of which I found at age 26. This is a result of stress that has been survived. Each one of these pigment-challenged hairs have been earned. They are my badge of honor (that I keep hidden away in a box of hair color. Hey!! If military men can hide their medals away in a box, so can I!)
2. My spirit is strong and stubborn. I'm not saying this to say, "Oh look at me", or "Oh poor me" or downplay anyone else's burdens but seriously folks-- I have been through hell and back-- multiple times. (Refer to #1) I have survived crap that would make some people down some "Judy Garland Trailmix" or slit their wrists... But, I am still here and I am still fighting. Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" is my theme song.
3. I have ah-maz-ing friends and boy could we tell some stories! I wouldn't trade one of them for anything in the world. And some of them, for all intents and purposes, really shouldn't even be friends with me. My ex-husbands wife?? One of my best friends... Ex-boyfriend's family (from 20 some years ago)??? Some of my closest and best friends. Our friendships defy the odds and I am amazed every time I think about them.
4. I have a post pregnancy belly (multiplied by 3) and stretch marks that could put the Pennsylvania Railroad to shame. These are earned as well, but unfortunately I cannot hide them away in a box. Each one of them represents 120 weeks of kicks, turns, flips, punches, etc. while housing the life of 3 children.
Really the list could go on and on about what I have to show for the first half of my life. When God finally calls me home, I will not die rich nor will I be famous. But each year that I live I gain a little more wisdom, I love and am loved a little bit more.
I can live with this.
So celebrate your life. It's not about the money, cars, clothes, jewelry-- it's about who you are, what you have overcome and who you love! Happy St. Patrick's Day!