happy birthday to me?

my birthday looms on the horizon and i find myself struggling not to fall into my annual pattern of half-empty reflection. i’m going to be thirty-eight. no, wait, that was last year. i’m going to be thirty-nine.  thirty-nine.  thirty-NINE?  i might as well say forty.  no matter how many times i say it, it just doesn’t seem possible. where did the years go? how did i end up here? what happened to the life i thought i would be living?

it was a sweet life, built upon a foundation of fairytales and happily-ever-afters and white horses and true loves — the stuff of dreams. the stuff we’re all programmed to think we need. the stuff that doesn’t really exist, at least not in that make-believe, fantasy-world way. it’s been hard for me to let go of my great expectations, of my yearnings for a little nest of perfection in the universe, but as hard as it is to let go, the older i get, the harder it is to hold on. i’ve seen enough of life to know better.

life is messy. it hurts. sometimes we laugh. sometimes we cry.

it’s true, i’m not where i thought i would be, but my journey has taken me to people and places and things i never dreamed i’d see. no, it isn’t perfect, but it’s mine.

and i’m learning to love it. really, i am — even on those dark days when things feel too hard and too complicated and too out of my control, even on those days when i’m struggling to be still and to listen — especially on those days.

*this* all i have. *this* is everything i’ll ever know. and realizing that is the best birthday gift ever.

i think perhaps my little sis said it best a few years ago:

this birthday should be a celebration of all of these things; of life’s imperfections and the silly idea that we humans sometimes entertain when we think that what we have is not absolutely precious just as it is.


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