Well, kids. I am officially 34. One of the lesser discussed and/or noted milestones in life. Really just any other birthday according to Hallmark. But, I've now circumnavigated the sun 34 times since my big debut (actually, I was only 6lbs 12oz. at birth, so I suppose it was a less than average debut, as it were). I suppose in consideration of this, my age is not as impressive as it feels. Looking back, I think I rode the Gravitron more times than that on Sober Grad Night in '93 (Jeremy, if you're reading this... you know what I'm talking about!). Which I still regret, since I've become very sensitive to turning around in circles since then. In all seriousness, those things should come with a warning, I can't turn around too quickly anymore without becoming a touch nauseous.
Ramblin' on... So, I'm 34. Big deal! Just yesterday I was driving to lunch with my co-worker, Yvonne, who is 31, and my bosses grandfather, Max, who is 99... yes 99 years old (he's been MARRIED for 80 years and still works 2 days a week), when Max said that he'd be happy to be our two ages combined again...65. Funny, I feel old at 34, but I'm really just a spring chicken from his perspective... perhaps just a chick. I have friends that are in their 20's around whom I feel like a sage, there are people driving that were born the year I graduated high school, I've been with the same man for nearly 15 years, I'm a mother of 4 and I've been employed by the same company for 12.5 years and it's not even my first job! But I'm basically still young. Right? Right?!
Youth... What is it? Well, I can say from experience that the 30's are weird, man! It's not old. It's not young. It just... is. But it all adds up to something wonderful! I feel like I'm in the stage of life that, if compared to baking, is the part that the whole house begins to smell of freshly baked cookies! The moment when you're senses begin to experience a hint of the the joy that your hard work has created! Knowing that what lies beyond this is better than what you could've imagined. During the midst of which, you just have to run and peek through the glass to see what is in store! Yep! That's where I am. Not that eating a warm, freshly baked cookie isn't wonderful! It absolutely is! But there's something special about puttering around the house, nearly forgetting that you have cookies in the oven, and suddenly you can smell them, the anticipation surges through your mouth and the house is filled with the kind of warmth only working in your kitchen can provide. I just love it!
However, cookies notwithstanding...
The best part about my birthday this year is that I know that I have family awaiting me just a couple of hours away! Family that coincidentally is in town this very weekend from far (Germany) and wide (Texas)! Such an event will cause other family members from around the state to trickle in for a visit, so I get to see pretty much everyone! You can't put a bow on it or return it for store credit, but it is the best inadvertent birthday present a young gal (wink) could ask for!
In closing, it occurs to me that birthdays come and go each year, marking yet another year that has passed. A reminder of our fleeting time here on this earth. Each birthday is yet another opportunity for God to ask each of us what we've done with our lives to this point, like some annual cosmic class reunion. Each candle recalling a chapter that has already been closed out. In the book of my life, how many chapters will I allow to be blank, or become pointless, grammatically-wrecked drivel? How many chapters will be engaging, challenging, heart-felt, encouraging, thrilling, adventurous, thoughtful, loving, miraculous, different, life-changing, life-affirming, colorful, flavorful, memorable and/or amazing? How many filled with new characters, and lots of them? How many filled with Jesus, and lots of Him!
I suppose, then, that Chapter 34 begins today...