Next week, I will kick off my birthday month. Yes; you read that correctly. My birthday month. I am not sure when I jokingly decided that one day simply was not enough to mark my arrival in the world, right on time, I might add, on my actual due date, but I always have entered the month of August with high expectations.
Most of my birthday months during the past decade have fallen far short of my expectations, though, thanks to a variety of internal and external factors. Instead of celebrating, I often was focused on merely surviving. Not this year, though. This year is different.
Not only am I anticipating the arrival of my birthday month, I also am looking forward to my actual birthday. It is not just any birthday, either. It is what some people refer to as a milestone birthday. It will be my 50th birthday. I am 49 and holding for a few more weeks, and then, I will be fifty years old. Kristi Jo will be 5-0!
While some people wear their age like a millstone around their neck, I view age, my age, as something to be celebrated. Perhaps, it is because I have outlived some dear friends of mine whom I miss so very much. Perhaps, it is because I have faced my own mortality, both when I struggled mightily with anxiety and depression and when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Perhaps, it is because one of my goals is to join several members of my extended family who enjoyed an excellent quality of life and lived to be over 100 years old. Perhaps, it is because I don’t feel like I have lived for nearly 50 years and have much, much more to experience.
On my way to reaching this milestone, I have gained a greater appreciation for the gift that each day truly is. The days have turned into years, and I am left wondering how I got here so quickly. It truly seems like only a few years ago that my two older sisters and I threw a surprise 50th birthday party for our parents, and now, I, the baby of the family, am the one turning 50. Now, that is a surprise and a bit of a shock indeed.
I do not know what being 50 is supposed to look like or feel like, but I am ready to find out for myself. I feel better emotionally and physically than I have in previous years, and I have no desire to be a younger version of myself. In my 20s, I completed my graduate degree, got my first real job, got married, and bought a house. These were all things that I felt like I should do, but I felt like I was pretending to be an adult, instead of actually being one. There were a lot of growing pains during that transition. A lot.
My late 20s and early 30s were consumed with five arduous years of infertility treatment that thankfully came to an end with the birth of our first daughter. Having two extraordinary daughters 20 months a part and venturing into parenthood took over the rest of my 30s. The 40s served up a variety of challenges. Anxiety. Depression. Divorce. Grief. Loss of significant relationships. Job changes. Breast cancer. Moving. There also was much to celebrate during these decades, but I truly believe that the best is yet to come.
It only has been in the past year that I feel like I finally have come out on the other side of what has proven to be the most difficult decade of them all. This is not to say that my life is free and clear of obstacles and heartache, because it is not, but I believe with all of my big heart that good things are coming my way soon. I am ready to reclaim my birthday month and have it exceed all of my expectations, so, that is exactly what I will do.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story