July is a very important month for me – it’s my birthday month (yes, I get an entire month ). In my family, birthdays were always a big deal. We would go all out. My birthdays were usually themed after whatever the most recent animated Disney movie was. The year of The Lion King we filled the foyer with red, green, and yellow crepe paper hanging from the ceiling and made brightly colored posters and moved all the plants around to make it look like a jungle. The year of Pocahantas we took blue crepe paper and made a river running through the house complete with a waterfall and brown paper bag rocks and we used green and yellow in the foyer to make it look like the sun coming through the leaves of a tree.
When I got older and no longer wanted Disney themes we found different ways to decorate. For my 13th birthday I had a Spice Girls theme. We turned the living room into a club with black lights and silver stars and in the kitchen we played on the word ‘spice’ and had blow up peppers and fiesta decorations. I also may have required everyone to dress up as a Spice Girl. My 15th birthday was a Hawaiian luau. Everyone got a lei and we had grass skirts, coconut bras, cardboard hula girls, beach balls, and paper umbrellas.
But a few years ago things started to change. I became more aware of the fact that each birthday meant I was another year older, another year closer to the dreaded 3-0. And for some reason this birthday, my 28th, was coming down on me really hard. Instead of bringing me joy, the thought of my birthday brought me depression. All I could think about was how unhappy I was with my life and where I was at my age. I would only be two years away from 30 and I felt I had very little to show.
Then two months ago something changed. I made a decision and acted on it. I made a change in my life and my entire perspective changed with it. All those things that depressed me before were still true – I was still a college educated woman working as a nanny, I was still dabbling in writing and podcasting without any monetary compensation, I still had no idea what I wanted to be “when I grew up” – but suddenly life had new light. All I could see were possibilities.
Sure I’m only two years away from 30, but you know what, that is still young! The world does not close up around you just because you age a little bit. As long as I work and pursue whatever it is I decide I want, I can achieve it. I have the entire world open before me and all I have to do is step into it.
When my birthday finally arrived this past Sunday I was excited. I am thrilled to be 28 and to see what this upcoming year has to offer me. I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen, where I will end up, or what I will be doing, but I am excited to find out. I’m excited for new opportunities and discoveries. I’m excited to live!
Have you ever struggled with the idea of aging? What emotions do birthdays bring out in you? Let me know in the comments.