Today is THE day. The day when, in my earlier years I thought, okay, once you hit 37 it's all d.o.w.n.h.i.l.l. In three more years you're 40, and then what's left? AND to top it off, my birthday always feels like a bit of a let-down. I have all kinds of romantic ideas of what I'd love my birthday to be, but honestly, I'm lucky if I get a "Happy Birthday" from anyone here at home. For example, at 3am this morning, my husband flew out of town to Houston for a meeting and won't be back home till after I'm in bed tonight :P. I'm trying to face it, that as a mom, I'm the last one on the list. Okay, enough whining - Wha, wha, wha!! BUT, there's some good news : I am happy to report from this vantage point, at least right now, I do believe there's a lot more to after 37 than I once thought - thank goodness.
You have to understand my perspective a bit, I guess. I did not grow up in a happy home in.the.least. I remember watching my parents as they became 40 and beyond and how absolutely miserable they were both as individuals and as a couple. Ahem - I must clarify - my parents never really were 'a couple' - it was more of a tyrant and his peon scenario, unfortunately. So, as a result I made goals - LOTS of goals for myself and my future. I would methodically write them out over and again, to reassure myself that beyond the shackles of my homelife there would be a future that I could create for myself. I had my life mapped out exactly how I wanted it to go. And to no surprise, it was in completely the opposite direction from what I learned growing up. Much of my plan worked out for the best and things fell into place as I hoped they would - not necessarily according to the 'plan' but close enough that I feel successful in turning my life into a meaningful and happy one.
But, that said, I never mapped my future beyond about this time in my life. I am not sure if that was because I figured if I made it to this point I could make it pretty easily on my own and without a roadmap going forward, or if it was that I couldn't even imagine that I would survive to this age. Unfortunately, I think it was a little of both. Either way, I'm here, and I prefer to think of it as the first rather than the latter. ;)
I still feel I have MANY inadequacies, resulting from my upbringing. But the good news is, at this point in my life, I am not as hard on myself about them as I used to be when I was a teenager or in my early twenties - that's growth. Today, I live a very conscious and conscientious life. I try not to do things without merit or purpose when it comes to how I live. I have carved this out for myself. It wasn't by accident. I didn't 'let' life happen to me. I created how my life is now - happy, stable and really, REALLY un-dramatic. Don't get me wrong, there have been curveballs thrown at me, that at the time, felt like were going to threaten everything I had worked so hard for. I guess that's life, though. 'You pick yourself up, you dust yourself off and you try, try again.' This is what I always tell my daughter when she feels like giving up on something. I think it is really a testament to resiliency and strength, something I really want to instill in my kids, without them having to go through what I did.
Today, on my 37th birthday, I didn't wake up to breakfast in bed, or to my kids pretending to be saint-like in their effort to make it special for me. But I did wake up knowing how the day would go, with much loved predictability. And I do know that in this home, I am loved. So, to celebrate, the kids and I are going to have homemade pizza (well at least one of them and I are - the other won't eat pizza) and a little cake and ice cream - more for them, than for me. And tonight when my husband does get home in the final hour of my birthday, and gives me a kiss on my forehead while I'm sleeping, I'll know, I'm right where I'm supposed to be.
Photo from Flickr, HERE.