It’s my birthday / week / month!
It’s always a good time to reflect. I’ve been thinking about where I’ve been each decade and I’ve noticed some things. This year is different in the best possible way.
Stroll down memory lane for a moment with me and you’ll see what I mean.
Age 9 which was (gasp!) 40 years ago. It was not a memorable birthday because kids didn’t get birthday palooza back then. We maybe got a cake and some new sneakers. If we were really lucky we had a friend sleep overnight. We definitely didn’t rent bounce houses and give goodie bags to our guests. There were no caterers or clowns or custom printed invitations for crying out loud.
(Honestly, the best thing I remember about my birthday is that strawberries were in season and we usually had strawberry shortcake instead of birthday cake. And that was just fine with me.)
Age 19. This one I remember for sure. My mom was away at her 20th High School Reunion. My Dad and I were just supposed to sit around quietly and celebrate Father’s Day and my birthday. Once I confirmed that I would be buying the beer, he agreed to the insanity that took over the machine shed and our 3 acre lawn. It’s a bit hazy now, but I remember at least 3 kegs, a live band and 200 of our closest friends. It still holds high status among the “parties to remember”.
Age 29. I was pregnant with my second child. I was in an extremely dysfunctional marriage but convinced that another baby would be the answer. Though she is a joy, she was not the answer. Before she was out of diapers, we were separated for good.
Age 39. I was 5 days away from getting married to husband #2. I was tired of raising the girls on my own and sleeping alone. I was convinced that a new husband would be the answer. He was not. After years of counseling, our last and final separation was 3 years ago.
So at age 19, I couldn’t wait to party it up. I wasn’t 21 yet, and surely being older would bring me happiness.
At age 29, I couldn’t wait for child #2 – who would surely save my failing marriage and that would bring me happiness.
At age 39, I was trying it again – because surely being married to the “right” guy would make my life better and bring me happiness.
But this year – age 49 – is SO very different! I am content and not pushing for the next thing. Finally.
I am content with where my life is. I love what I am doing, where I am doing it, and with whom I am doing it. I am not holding out for the next thing, the next person, the next circumstance. RIGHT NOW I truly have happiness, and it isn’t based on something or someone around the corner.
And that, my friends, is worth celebrating!
So what did I actually do on my birthday? I painted. At a really cool restaurant where they have amazingly talented artists doing art while people eat dinner. Oh, and the people BUY the art. If it’s not sold by the time you finish it, the restaurant hangs it up and sells it for you. How amazing is this!? And they invited ME to come and paint with them.
So I did.
And they fed me and also gave me a glass of wine since it was my birthday. Also, there were 8 different people that came in to say hi and eat dinner because I was there. I felt like a celebrity. But really, I am just a happy girl celebrating her birthday, doing what she loves to do.
It’s pretty cool when that happens, isn’t it?
Plus I got to do some other fun things like kayaking and eating at fancy restaurants and have more planned with friends later this week. I am already happy, and those things will just add to it, not create it.
I am in charge of my own damned happiness, and I’m pretty happy about that.
Thanks for reading, until next time,