This morning I woke up to thirty seven. Thirty Seven. It doesn't even seem real. Honestly I don't feel thirty seven, but I don't know how old I feel. For many birthdays now I usually think about what I was like ten years ago. Who was I at twenty seven, as opposed to who I am today at thirty seven. This year, when I think about my twenty seven year old self, I don't really miss her. Sure she was young, and she was strong and beautiful and a few pounds lighter. But she wasn't even married yet. She wouldn't be married for another month. She wasn't a mother yet, in fact, she had serious reservations about becoming a mother. Twenty seven year old me was selfish in so many ways, driven in so many ways, and dreaming completely different dreams. And while I some days long for her energy and her drive, I'm so glad she had no idea. I'm so glad she was blind and naive to all of the things that were about to happen to her. She was just on the cusp.
Today I'm so thankful to be where I am. I'm married, I'm a mother, and I have a new appreciation for both. I'm smarter than I was ten years ago, I'm stronger, and I am, believe it or not, happier. Every year I'm so afraid of getting older, I'm so worried about what that is going to look like, but this year, I'm not afraid of what that is going to feel like. Every year getting older feels amazing. It feels like love and grace, it's warm with laughter and happiness, and even when it's hard, even when it feels impossible, getting older feels as it should, like a gift.
This year I have seven wishes. Mostly because thirty seven seemed too self indulgent. Says the woman who writes a blog...
This year, I wish for grace. Every morning I pray for grace. To get through the day. To make it to the next. I pray for grace as I don't make it out the door on time, as I have another argument about kitten heeled sling backs on a seven year old. Oh, please year thirty seven, shower me with grace.
I wish to be surrounded by women who inspire me. Women who inspire each other. I want to talk to them and laugh with them. I want to cry with them, and share their hardships. I want their trials to inspire me, and I want to return the favor and inspire them. I'm too old to spend my days comparing myself to others, especially women. I'm too old to be worried about what the standard is on beauty or success. I'm just old enough to understand that we are all beautiful and that we are all successful, no matter what the scale says, no matter what my bank account says. I want to be inspired this year, and I want to inspire in kind.
I wish to let go. Let go of the standard. Let go of the rules. Let go when my daughter wants to wear a tutu and jeans. Let go when her socks don't match. I want to let go of the nine o'clock bedtime, and the rush in the morning to always be five minutes early. I want to let go of all the evils that steal the joy out of otherwise peaceful mornings and happy nights. I didn't write the rules, and so I need to let go and follow my own. Thirty seven will be the year I let go of all that holds me in a place of fear and anger. It's time to let that shit go.
I wish to keep my dream. The publishing dream. I need to keep this dream. I leave it, I give up on it, only to find that I come back to it every time. My wish is to publish a book, even if I have to do it myself. Even if it's just ten copies that ten people read. Even if it never makes it to Amazon, or a shelf with a bar code. I just want to see my writing, bound, with my name on the cover. So if that means I compile all of my favorite posts and send it to my best friend in the mail, so be it. This is the year I will hold tightly to my dream.
I wish to accept myself again. I once loved me. I loved how I looked, how I felt, but last year I didn't for most of the year. I called myself names: ugly, fat, horrible, unworthy. I let myself believe that these descriptions were true. It's hard to accept that your body has settled, that maybe you aren't a certain size anymore. I want to accept myself again. I want to look in the mirror and like that person. So my wish is to slowly learn to like the way I look again. To not feel defeat when I have to buy a bigger size. Not to beat myself up about a day spent with chocolate. This year I will be nicer to myself and stop shaming myself.
I wish to lean in. Lean in to discomfort. Lean in to fear. Lean in to the unknown. I want to take chances. I want to do all the things that scare me, all the things that force me to be brave. I want to lean in to life.
This year I want to live. Fully. Wildly. With abandon. I want to have more days filled with laughter, less days filled with tears. I want to really appreciate every day, finding the really good stuff in each one. I want to be present. I want to say yes more. I want to make my daughters laugh. I want to make my husband remember why he married me. I want thirty seven to be a year filled with life. Full life. Happy life. I don't want to waste a minute.
I'm thirty seven today, but I don't feel old, I feel seasoned. I feel experienced. I feel like I finally understand that growing older is a beautiful thing. Regardless of the extra pounds, the gray hairs, the laugh lines, I'm incredibly lucky to turn thirty seven today. So instead of complaining about being an hold hag, on her way to forty, I'm going to feel lucky. I'm going to feel alive. I'm going to make seven wishes, and spend the year making them come true.