I wasn’t going to write about my birthday today. I’m sitting in Panera with a dozen different topics to post about, but it’s all coming out gibberish. I’m not sure why I’m fighting the urge. Maybe I feel like these posts are self-indulgent enough already. But now that I’m writing, to resist it seems silly and futile. Apparently I need to write about my birthday. So here are my streaming thoughts.
I turned 36 today. I’m OK with that, although it does feel a bit odd to know that I am now closer to 40 than 30. (And also, as my friend LakeMom was so kind to point out, closer to 50 than 20.)
I remember looking at people who were in their 30s when I was in my teens and 20s, and I have to say, I had no idea what I was seeing. When I was 18, 36 seemed so far away. Almost like an alien planet. I assumed I would be like a whole different person by the time I was this age. But I was 18 yesterday. And though my life has changed so much, I don’t feel all that different inside. Wiser, yes. Clearer about who I am, yes. But at my core, I’m the same person I was at 18. I don’t know why I didn’t expect that.
When I was young, I thought there would be some magical arrival into adulthood, some moment when I’d say goodbye to my youth and officially be a grown-up. But life’s not that cut and dry. Growth is gradual, organic, messy, and unpredictable.
It’s also so, so beautiful. I wish I could go back to my 18-year-old self and tell her how much richer life becomes.
When you’re young, you tend to think that you’re in the prime of your life, that it’s pretty much all downhill after 25. You want to suck all the juice you can out of life before it dries up. But I’ve experienced no such shriveling, not inside anyway. That delicious, all-consuming freedom of young adulthood is not the best that life has to offer. It’s flashy and thrilling, but in many ways it’s not real. Fireworks are not fire. And it’s fire that provides true light and warmth in your life. That’s what I feel now, at a soul level. Not fireworks, but fire. And the older I get, the more I understand how to feed that fire. And that’s really something.
I remember talking to my grandmother on her 80th birthday. She laughed and said, “I don’t feel 80.” I get that. I don’t feel 36, at least not the way I pictured 36 feeling. Age really is just a number.
So I’m OK with this whole getting older thing. I’m happy and grateful to have older role models around me who seem to just get better with age. And as much as I love a good fireworks show, I’m glad to be past that stage of life. I really prefer the fire.
Thank you all, truly, for reading my random rants and disjointed ramblings. It helps me immensely to have someone to write to, so I really appreciate you being here. You’re helping me feed my fire, whether you know it or not. And I’d hate to think this was all for my own benefit, so I sincerely hope you find something here you can take in return. 🙂