Today is my birthday.
I mention it not because of the obligatory good wishes a birthday person is entitled to get, but because this day seems different. Not because it's my birthday, but because I really would rather it wasn't.
I'd like to sweep the celebration under the carpet, if you don't mind. No cake, no candles, no gifts, no recognition. I just want it to be another day, ordinary in sameness, unremarkable in any way.
When I was a child, birthdays were second only to Christmas. And since my birthday is so close to Christmas, there would be many times when my presents would be wrapped in Christmas paper. One seemed to be an extension of the other, never its own day alone. But, being a kid, that was fine with me. All I thought about were the presents.
Over time, things have changed.
Where I once looked forward to Christmas, I now see it as a deadline. "Only X more shopping days until...." Christmas has lost the wonder, somehow. And since my birthday has always been an extension of that time, it's much less important to me. It's a marker of the passage of time - time that seems to be passing much too quickly.
This year I am fifty-nine years old. Exactly one year away from sixty.
I'm thinking it's time for a midlife crisis.
I have done the following things:
- Graduated high school
- Married twice - once out of lust, youth, and stupidity, and once out of complete and utter love
- Given birth to three children
- Become a stepmother to two children
- Become a grandmother to five children
- Loved God
- Realized loving God can be done without legalism
- Been a member of a band for ten years
- Led numerous groups, Bible studies, and classes
- Been arrested
- Been fired from (a) job(s)
- Completed only two years of college
- Started a book
- Along with my sister, took care of my mother through her illness and eventual death
- Survived growing up with my father
- Been on the board of directors for one of the first internet providers in Kansas City
- Supervised and/or managed many different types of people, from truck drivers to maintenance people
- Been to Hawaii (THANKS, KIDS!!!), Mexico, Belize, Haiti, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica
- Changed my mind on everything from religion to politics to fashion and back again
- Realized "the greatest of these is love," over and over and over again
There are many more things I could list, but these are the ones that come to mind.
Then, there are the things I wanted to do but have never done, whether out of laziness or not being talented enough, or because the moon wasn't in the right house (whatever that means):
- Finished a book
- Finished my college education
- Worked as a music and/or English teacher
- Learned to play the piano
- Earned my living as an author
- Been famous - for anything
- Been crafty
- Traveled to anywhere across the Atlantic
- Earned "enough"
- Saved "enough"
I have more goals than what I've written here. They, too, have changed over the years. I no longer want to be a teacher, nor do I wish to be famous. I don't really like crafts, and there is never "enough" when it comes to money.
I hope that I can finish my education before I kick the bucket, as well as writing that elusive book. I would love to play the piano and to travel.
My goals are more, now. I want to see all of my children happy and settled in their lives. I want to hold more babies, taste more exotic foods, meet more interesting people, and love more.
So, for this, the last year of my fifth decade, I'll make it a point to work on the list. Check back in this time next year to see where I've gone and what I've done.
But mostly, check back in to wish me a happy birthday. :)