Six years ago I was on the cusp of what I considered a major bummer of a birthday. I couldn’t bring myself to call it what it was (thirty), so I adopted a catchy phrase from some Drew Barrymore movie I remembered and loudly proclaimed that I would be celebrating my twenty-ten birthday that year. I might not have been able to get around the technicality of the number itself, but I refused to say it out loud.
Fast forward six years and here I am, about to turn thirty-six this very week. Did you notice that I didn’t write that I’m about to turn twenty-sixteen? That’s right; I’ve long since accepted my thirties and am now proudly declaring where I stand.
My new way of thinking stems from a nugget of wisdom my (younger) husband shared with me. As he approached his thirtieth birthday, he embraced it. He told me that as he was growing up, he envisioned his thirties as the decade in which he’d have everything he’s always wanted: a devoted wife, amazing kids, a rewarding career. And as that date on the calendar crept closer, he was elated to see that—indeed—his life was right where he wanted it to be.
That’s not to say that nothing had ever gone awry or that his days were always filled with sunshine and rainbows. Rather than focus on what had gone undone, though, he chose to celebrate the fact that he made it to thirty in spite of the challenges. In other words, he chose to count his blessings. His outlook was spot on; if that was the picture of life at thirty, any biggie birthday on the horizon was sure to be a piece of cake (pun intended).
Looking back on my thirtieth birthday, I’m embarrassed by the way I approached it. I had so much to be thankful for. Ignoring all those blessings in favor of focusing on petty fears of fine lines and wrinkles was the equivalent of thumbing my nose at a life flowing over with the stuff dreams are made of. Some nerve I had.
This week, I intend to right that wrong. To celebrate my birthday, I’ve chosen to spend time at Apple Annie’s with my family. While I’m there, I’m going to breathe in the crisp autumn air and be thankful for the healthy lungs that allow me to do so. I’ll choose pumpkins with my kids, and marvel at their creative jack-o-lantern ideas. I’ll walk through the corn maze with my husband, grateful to have found in him a best friend and love so true. I’ll shop for handcrafted jams and honey with my mom, and we’ll reminisce about the birthdays gone by. In other words, I’ll count my blessings. And some, I’ll count twice. Like the fact that on good days, I still get carded when I’m buying a bottle of wine. C’mon, old habits die hard.
All kidding aside, when I blow out my candles, I’ll have just one wish: that it only gets better from here.