photo © 2010 Will Clayton | more info (via: Wylio)
I turned 41 yesterday.
I didn't notice it was my birthday until I had been awake for about an hour. It just isn't really that big a deal to me.
Last night my husband was on call and my kids had a big youth event, so we went out to dinner the night before my birthday anyway, and it was fun. I didn't receive any birthday presents; I'm really not into them. Honest. What we did do was to buy stuff I had recently lost (my iPod and my Blackberry charger) and recently broken (my blender). My husband was really upset that he was buying me a blender on my birthday, sure that that made him a bad husband, but I told him that's what I wanted, so we went out and chose one. So I still received stuff, even if I bought it myself. It was just my own fault that I didn't have those things in the first place, and I felt a little guilty replacing them until my birthday.
I'm not a gift person. It's so down the list on my love language test that it doesn't even register. For Mother's Day I just asked the kids to write me letters, and they did, and that meant more to me than anything they could buy.
But nevertheless, presents or no presents, birthdays inevitably are times to reflect. And reflect I did.
You see, I have now past that milestone that is 40, and when I was in my early 20s, I made several goals for myself that I would reach by 40.
Let's just say that I haven't reached any of them.
But that's not failure; it's just that my priorities have changed. When I was younger, I thought I'd be this fabulous entrepreneur, starting a huge company. Or I thought I'd be a big university professor, or somebody "important". What I failed to realize is that once I had kids, I'd deem what was important to relate to them, and them only. All the rest was merely a sideshow.
This last year has been a good one for me in many ways. I finally landed the big book contract I'd been waiting for for eight years (The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex will be out in January). I started more speaking tours. My blog has grown a lot! (Thank you all my loyal readers).
But best of all, I've had such fun with my girls. And they've both made our international team for Bible quizzing, and so over the next seven weeks, as I have to get the edited manuscript in to my publisher, I'll be primarily practising with my girls and their teammates, and immersing myself in teenage land again. And I can't believe how much I really, really enjoy that. I just love my kids' friends, and I love getting to know them, and I love the competition, and the laughs, and figuring out how to calm everybody down.
I think that's more important than what I originally had planned for myself.
I heard the country song "Nineteen Eighty Something" on the radio yesterday. It's quite clever. A few years old now, it recounts all the things that happened when we were growing up in the seventies and eighties, and includes this line:
"Now I've got a mortgage, and an SUV, and all this responsibility. And sometimes, makes me want to go back...it was nineteen eighty-something..."
I wouldn't trade these days for anything. You couldn't pay me to go back to my teenage years, with insecurity, and wondering about my future, and wrestling with God.
Or even my early twenties, trying to figure out marriage, and having heartbreak with miscarriages and deaths.
These are the good years. Everyday I wake up happier than I was the day before. And that's all I could possibly want for my birthday.
Labels: birthdays, gifts, goals