Today is my 34th birthday and I’m pretty excited about it. I left year 33 with a bang and I have high hopes for what year 34 has to offer. I haven’t always been big on celebrating birthdays because I’m so use to being out-shined by something much bigger. November 28th typically falls during the Thanksgiving week, occasionally on Thanksgiving day. That means I grew up hearing people say “I’ll give you your birthday gift on Christmas”. Others would wish me a happy birthday in passing as they helped themselves to another serving turkey and dressing (holiday babies understand my pain). I didn’t want to make a fuss over my birthday so I just made the best of it…until I turned 30!
My 30th birthday was a big deal because it was a coming of age of sorts. I endured an entire decade of major transitions. During my 20s, I managed to pass from college, to marriage, to motherhood, to financial devastation, to divorce alongside plenty of emotional, relational, and spiritual changes. At 30 years old, I felt I had finally reached a place of stability. Nothing was wavering. I wasn’t entering or exiting anything and I wanted to celebrate the fact that I was maintaining. Plus, I wanted to say goodbye and good ridden to my 20s. So I spent the day with some great friends and enjoyed the evening at a cool Japanese restaurant. We had such a great time that we did it again when I turned 31. My 32nd birthday landed on Thanksgiving Day. Though I enjoyed another adventure at Benihana (it became my birthday tradition), my mom had greater plans in store. She refused to let me go unrecognized so she treated me to a trip to Las Vegas. Did I mention that I have the best mom ever? My 30s were treating me well and she wanted to keep up the momentum by doing something special for her baby girl. I can’t tell you how much her thoughtfulness impacted my life. She went out of her way to escape everything and everyone else in the world that needed her attention to be with me. For the 1st time ever, I was able to just hang out with my mom as my friend. She’s still mom, but she’s a really fun woman too. Let me pause and encourage you to invest in a quality relationship with your parent(s) if possible. There’s nothing better than mommy/daddy-daughter/son time when the relationship is healthy.
For my 34th birthday party, I took the time to do something different and meaningful. I realize that life doesn’t always go as planned, but I have found great value in the cliché about making lemonade when life hands you lemons. I chose to make lemonade this year. Instead of Benihana, I planned a fabulous party at a great Italian restaurant (I love Italian food) with my closest friends. It was very fancy because…I wore my wedding dress! I just feel like every girl should have a little white dress in her repertoire. I intentionally planned an occasion where I could play dress up and be a princess for the day. Of course I looked crazy walking around in a wedding dress but I’m so glad I did. For one, I paid for the dress so why not wear it again. Secondly, I got to take pictures in my dress with the people who said “I do”, and did it. My celebrants have all played a vital role in comforting me during hard times. I am glad I was able to capture such fun and lasting moments with them. Remember when I went to Las Vegas by myself in July? Though I had a blast, I wanted to repurpose the setting. I went with the person who introduced me to both the Vegas splendor, and this thing called life! Yes, my mom and I went to Las Vegas again and had an amazing time. We had great walks, great talks, great food, and visited some very “swanky” lounges. I soaked in every single moment and loved it.
The fact still remains that my birthday falls around the holiday festivities. For my 34th birthday, however, I would like to take the time to embrace Thanksgiving and share what I am thankful for. I am thankful for the amazing people who have proven their love for me. Ten years ago, I don’t think I had the capacity to appreciate them the way I do now. Perhaps that is why I didn’t cross paths with some of them until much later. God preserved them for a time when circumstances wouldn’t hinder the quality of the friendship we can enjoy today. I am also thankful for my friends and family who have been with me all along. They allowed our differences and “heated fellowship” to make us closer while others crumbled under the pressure of being tried and true. It feels great to see a few consistent faces as I look at pictures from my 19th, 30th, and current birthday celebrations. One of them in particular was there for my actual birth day (I love you mommy)!
For this post I think my message is pretty simple. Keep calm, it’s my birthday! No but truthfully, I would borrow the keep calm mantra and add…relax. I have experienced some highs and lows in 2015 but I am not at all disoriented like I was in my 20s. I have no idea what the next ten years will bring, but if history repeats itself, everything will be just fine. Ten years ago, I worried about everything. At 34, I have learned to deal with the present because I just might enjoy the moment; tomorrow will take care of itself. Take the time to enjoy the moment. Do something new and exciting for yourself to replace those painful recollections with precious memories. By all means plan for tomorrow, but don’t forget to live for today. With that being said, Happy Thanksgiving to you and Happy Birthday To Me!
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