Wednesday, February 22, 2017
I'm one of those people who gets pretty excited about birthdays--whether mine, or other peoples. (Okay, lately I've been overwhelmed with noting everyone's birthdays on Facebook...but I do love commemorating birthdays for close friends and family!). As I've gotten older, I've tried to lower my expectations for my own birthday, because, adult and all that. But I still really enjoy the sense of excitement and milestone that comes with it. My birthday was this Monday, and I had a really really nice, relaxing three days of celebrations with my dear ones.
Last year, I cried at my birthday. It had been a really rough year, and I was a the six month mark of being tremendously ill and severely physically limited. It was a milestone I didn't want to meet, as I faced the reality of so many lost dreams and a shadowy future. Even though we had just miraculously bought a house, I had been disappointed so often, I couldn't bring myself to have too much hope. I didn't want to dream too bright.
Thankfully (oh, SO thankfully!) this past year has proven to be so much better than I dared anticipate. While I still deal with debilitating health issues every single day, I have so much more joy and color in my life. Having a full house and yard instead of a tiny apartment that I was allergic too, experiencing the laughter and company of my dear puppy, growing my little towel business, and seeing my garden burst to life...these are perhaps small things in some ways, but to me they have been huge sources of joy.
And then, by the grace of God and support of talented friends and family, I pulled off the publication of my first novel this year. Although I was two years past my goal for first publication, I know that those extra two years were time I needed to grow in so many ways. It was a hard wait, but I feel immense satisfaction and peace at having achieved it!
I don't know what the next year brings. I don't know how much pain I'll be in tomorrow, or next week. But I didn't cry this year at my birthday--I was filled with gratitude and peace. And that is a little memory jewel I will tuck away in my chest of memories to pull out and remember on the hard days.
(And this year was also the warmest birthday I have ever experienced in MN. It actually rained. And my lilacs are budding. They normally don't bud until April at LEAST. Crazy.)