It’s my birthday week. This weekend is a significant one—I guess that in reality, they’re all somewhat significant. Another year of breathing. Another year of being. Another year of loving. Another year of learning and growing.
This one somehow feels different.
I remember being an older child and being anxious and restless to finally hit sixteen because Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield from the Sweet Valley High books (that I checked out ten at a time from the Bookmobile) were sixteen. They seemed so glamorous and grown up.
I remember getting excited about turning twenty on the twentieth because I once saw a Baywatch episode (appropriate since I was in California last weekend) about a boy whose family took each child on a trip of their choice on their “golden” birthday (that’s when the age that you become is the same number as the day that your birthday falls on). The boy almost drowned… or his brother did… needless to say, I stayed away from water on my golden birthday (as I do most days anyway).
I feel like I should have been more excited about turning twenty-one. Although I was finally old enough to go to grown-up parties with my friends (who were all older than I was), because I had procrastinated on a term paper, I spent the evening making final edits on a paper about the strengths and weaknesses of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (I think that I’m remembering correctly… I know it was something about CBT). Thinking back on those circumstances, they probably worked in my favor. From the stories I’ve heard, most people don’t come out of their twenty-first birthday night unscathed.
Now I’m days away from thirty. I’m remarkably calm for what seems to me like a pivotal day in one’s life. Keep in mind that I’m the champion of ascribing unmerited significance to very ordinary things. My friend Joyce would say that it’s because I was born under the sign of Scorpio: “You are a textbook Scorpio—drama queen!! “ It might just be any other day. But for the sake of having something to say in this blog post, let’s pretend that turning thirty is actually kind of a big deal.
Early Tuesday morning, I met Jaye (Charlie’s wife) at our favorite coffee shop and we chatted until the sun came up and she had to move on to her water aerobics class (where Mitch Buchanan has retired since they cancelled Baywatch). She asked me about my upcoming birthday, bracing herself against the table for the expected onslaught of self-indulgent pity-talk. In spite of my strong dramatic tendencies, it didn’t come.
I think that this year of making a concerted effort to live grateful has done some good stuff for my heart. Although I frequently revert back to brattiness and searing bouts of anxious fidgets, I think that those moments where I’m able to realign my vision are more and more often these days. And with the realignment of my vision to see the good around me instead of the lack thereof, my head, heart and spirit follow. In addition to spending my plane time last week thinking through Sarah Mac Band stuff, I also spent a lot of time thinking on my life—where it’s been, where it is and where I want it to go.
I still have things that I need to forgive myself for and things that I’ve identified as places for growth, but as I was talking to Jaye about my epic coming of age event, I realized that I like myself and I’m happy. I’m not sure that I’ll go so far as to say content, because I’m still a Scorpio and we don’t do “content” so well (at least from what I’ve read online), but I’m in a great place and I’m comfortable being there. Although there are still things that I want—like Amy Sedaris’s new book and to run thirty-one miles next year on my thirty-first birthday (Not kidding about this one folks… you have to believe in me because I’m not sure if I do myself, and Claire and Charlie already shot me down and scoffed!!)—I’m okay.
I’ll leave you with this: Unseen Stories has a program called Birthdays for Benin. If you’re into gift giving (or gift wrapping, as I am) and you don’t think that you can swing a personal trainer to help me with the thirty-one miles, then I would totally encourage you to visit Unseen Stories’s online store and buy a chicken or a goat or a scholarship to trade school in honor of my big day on Saturday when I’ll be ushered into adulthood—or at least finally be of an age where there’s no arguing that I should be an adult (whether it plays out that way or not).
And in other news… we’re working on our Christmas show material. Keep checking back to get details!!!