Yep. It’s true. Today’s my birthday. And what is it they say? I’m older and wiser?
Well… the older part is definitely true. Hopefully the wiser will keep coming with time. :)
There’s something about being younger… you want to get older so badly because you think you’ll be settled. You’ll finally have the job and the house and the husband and the kids. You assume that as life goes on things will become clearer and you’ll be more settled and everything will fall into place.
And then life happens. And you shake your head and laugh at the younger version of yourself for believing life would turn out just as you imagined it. And you look back on the road you’ve traveled and marvel at how, at every turn, you were upheld and loved. You were provided for. You were sustained through every change and every challenge.
The reality of how different my life is was brought home to me in the oddest way recently. A good friend of mine asked me if there was a magazine I would like to have a subscription to. My first thought… you know, being mature and all… was a celebrity tabloid. But since I check People.com everyday already, it seemed like a waste to duplicate. :)
But as I thought of magazines I’ve had in the past, I realized they didn’t fit me anymore. I used to love working out. I had Shape magazine and Self magazine, and was always investing in some workout video or another. That wouldn’t work for me now.
Getting magazines about sprucing up my house or the latest clothing trends and jewelry didn’t make my heart go pitter pat anymore. It still interests me, but there’s a part of me that just doesn’t want to feel the envy of watching people flitting about in their cute clothes while going to a movie or lounging in the park. It’s just not my life anymore. I can admire it, I can appreciate it when other people are experiencing it… but it’s no longer me.
That’s when I realized, for sure, that something had changed inside of me. All those years of people proclaiming that it’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are… I finally, really, fully understand that. I had to lose my job, my health, my abilities and my hobbies… all the things that made me “who I was” to see who I am.
There’s not a magazine that can define me anymore. There’s not a magazine that can tell me how to dress, or how to decorate. Not one can tell me how to workout to achieve my best body or how to find the man of my dreams. What I have can’t be found in the pages between covers.
What I’ve found is that I’m resilient. I’ve found I have fortitude and faith. I’ve found that I care more about your feelings than mine. I’ve found there is nothing that cannot be redeemed and there is no one that doesn’t need encouragement. I’ve found I don’t need to be who the world wants me to be, because all the world really needs is who I already am.
The truth is that life at 36 is no better or worse than I wanted… it’s just completely and utterly different. The wisdom comes in knowing that it is exactly as it should be. The joy comes in learning to love it, not despite all I’ve lost, but because of all that it has brought to me.
Now, since it’s my birthday today, I’m giving a present to one of you. :)
To win today’s canvas, leave a comment telling me the most memorable birthday gift you’ve ever received. Leave your comment before midnight CST, and I’ll let you know the winner tomorrow. [Only one comment per person, please!]