The joys of birthdays!
I had one this weekend, on Mother’s Day. It happens that way from time to time. I was actually born on a Wednesday but every somanyyears it falls on Sunday along with that Hallmark Holiday we’re enslaved to. This was the last birthday in a major decade of my life. I’m still working out how I feel about it. I’m pretty existential about age, where I am is where I’m at. However, this one has all the hallmarks of stirring up a tsunami of angst. You see, it leaves me facing next year’s age…
The 2nd anniversary of my 30th birthday
Thinking back to my 30th I was contemplating a 2nd child. Coping with a very intense first one. Eating out by coupon at Der Weinerschnitzel. Living within a mile of my family. Using a trip to Costco as date night. Driving a beat up station wagon. Renting a house with 6 fig trees and a crazy landlady. It was a young married couple’s year of adventure. Their journey to travel while navigating the waves of life.
I don’t want to go back — E V E R
Just reading the above paragraph has caused me to fall in love with my current age! Honestly, if it wasn’t for the skeletal breakdowns and wrinkles I might think I’d arrived at the state of enlightenment that Buddhism espouses.
But I’m not Buddhist
Mentally I love the peace that’s come with age. There are things I just don’t have to ponder anymore. The pressing question I answer daily is “Do I cook or should we eat out?” I’d say it’s 60/40 (you guess which). When faced with a crisis I resort to Facebook. The crisis usually resolves on it’s own, meanwhile I enjoyed a meme of a cat with a chipmunk outsmarting it by climbing on it’s back.
I’m also experiencing the joys of looking backward in time. I recently had a visit from a childhood friend of 54 years. We played together, had sleepovers and were even in the same class in school one year. Our last conversation was 25 yrs ago BF (before facebook) by cordless phone. We reconnected several years ago (FB) and have hoped for a reunion. After several years. caring for her parents through cancer and their passing she came.
Tears were shed, stories remembered, nostalgia reigned…
“Do you remember Mrs. ______ from 5th grade?”, “Remember the bars on the playground?”, “My Partridge Family lunchbox?”, “Your mom’s tortillas”, “my dad’s dahlias”, “Ed’s fireworks on the 4th”…
And on it went
Bruce gave us space and bowed out of the room as needed. We went downtown to the Sears Tower to see the view, had Tamales in Pilsen (she’s Mexican) and wrapped up her visit with a game at Wrigley (Cubs lost).
Looking backward in time was never something I thought I’d do. Again, existentialism at work. The past is over, done, finished…why do I want to revisit it? Parts of it are painful, some of it is hilarious and often it’s hard to place the details. Did this happen this year or that year? Was kid #1 5 or 6 when she had stitches? Did mom say that or was it her crazy sister? When did my dad buy that Maverick for us to drive? WHY did my dad buy a Maverick?????
Last year I received an envelope in the mail with letters I’d written to a girlfriend in Jr. High while I was on vacation. They have to be close to 40 years old. My i’s were dotted with hearts and my handwriting was precise (we liked pretty handwriting) and what I wrote her was hilarious from the lens of today. I took a photo and texted it to her with the caption,
“I may never recover!”
It prompted a phone call with hilarious laughter at the other end and a brief journey back in time. We spent a few minutes catching up on life then agreed to burn any future findings.
Adolescence was not my finest hour
But looking back has also been beneficial in unexpected ways. Perspective has it’s merits and the past usually gains perspective with time. Some things have new relevance and others dissipate. As I mentally traveled to my early childhood I realized that I was a kid content to be alone, watch TV, play with toys and generally function without the aid of adults or other kids. It dawned on me that TV was like a benign friend.
My early years were filled with Miss Nancy’s Romper Room, Kaptain Kangaroo, I Love Lucy, and commercials. Dad said that I would abandon a program but stand transfixed at the commercials. Music jingles, quick catch phrases. Must have worked for me. I loved Mr. Green Jeans and Bunny Rabbit. I waited daily for Miss Nancy to call my name at the end of her show while she looked through her magic thingamajig. And Lucy…who didn’t love Lucy?
Say all you want about the evils of modern TV, but back then it was my constant friend!
All this remembering is a by product of healing. Healing that has come with time, age and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. The freedom to look back, reflect and remember is a miraculous part of being in a place where,
I am becoming
I’m looking forward to my next decade. It’s exciting to think there is more ahead. Life doesn’t stall, wind down, become stagnant. God has things in store for every stage of the journey and I’m looking forward to them. Accepting that pain (emotional and physical) are constant parts of life allows me to roll with it. I no longer have to say,
Why me God?
I can trust
And I can also hope that the next decade will include some happy surprises, like maybe..