Today is my 38th birthday.
For what it’s worth, turning 38 feels an awful like turning 28 did. There’s just something about the “8” birthdays (18, 28, 38) that seem to be the hard ones for me to swallow – I have a little freak-out, major introspection, life talks with myself, and feel my mortality the most on the “8” birthdays. They’ve been the birthdays where I wonder if I’m where I should be in life – or worry that I haven’t accomplished enough. I have to chuckle at how serious turning 28 felt, but how glorious and freeing turn 30 was – I anticipate that 40 will be similar. I was explaining to someone this morning that as a decade ends I feel like I should be so much wiser and more knowledgeable, but as a new decade begins, I'm "allowed" to be "young and dumb" once again, because, obviously, I have no life experience in that new decade...strange, I know!
A lot went on as a 37 year old. A LOT.
I fell even deeper in love with my husband. I know, super mushy gushy, but what can I say – he’s a great guy. Being introverts, there can often be periods of quiet in our home, but despite the quiet his presence is what brings me comfort. This last year he started traveling for work, and I have missed him something awful during those times. It may sound silly, but missing him so much when he’s gone has come as a welcome and pleasant surprise. I’ve always been someone who has valued and needed my alone time, but not since he has entered the picture. The alone time I need has changed, and is easily satisfied simply sipping coffee in the morning before he’s up. He completes me.
I struggled with staying healthy more at 37 than I can remember at any other time. I think it was my body’s way of screaming at me, “Taking care of me is something you need to take seriously!"
I was reminded many, many times how lucky I am to have the friends I do. I don't tell them enough how much they mean to me, but I am lucky to have them in my life, and blessed that they love me just as I am, flaws and all!
Thirty-seven was my first full year without my mom. The moments missing her were when I felt the most vulnerable and child-like. Those moments were intense and tears of sorrow, anger, and hurt flowed uncontrollably. But there also began to be moments of remembrance. Those moments were warm and embracing, tears were gentle, and smiles were abundant…and gradually the remembrance moments started to become more frequent than the missing moments.
Thirty-seven was also a momentous year – I found and met my birth mother. I’ve kept this event very close to my heart, but trust me when I say it’s been life impacting and the most amazing experience. There were things…feelings I discovered that I didn’t know were missing – a blood connection to this world. It was something that had I chosen not to look, I would have lived my life not knowing it was missing, and it would have been ok. But knowing is almost like having another sense…a crazy unexplainable connection to the world and to people that I’m unable to put in to words. As amazing as this whole experience has been, what makes it momentous is the fact that I have the love and support, and blessing of my family – the family who raised me and loved me, the family who influenced and helped mold me into the woman I am today. What makes me feel like I won the lottery, is knowing that the family I didn’t grow up knowing is equally as loving and supportive.
So…what’s ahead? There are already some amazing adventures in place for the next year. As I begin my venture through 38, inching my way closer to 40, I can only hope that the year ahead is full of more momentous events, growth opportunities as a person, more smiles than tears, and remembering that the most important things in life are actually not things, they are the people you love.