Today is my birthday! At 36 years old (today!) birthdays no longer hold the extreme excitement that they did during child and early adulthood, but even though I bemoan getting older, it’s still a day for celebration. After all, who doesn’t enjoy guilt-free cake? (There are no calories in cake eaten on your birthday-that’s just a scientific fact.) One of the best things about being born in Iowa on March 23rd is that you almost NEVER have to go to school on your birthday because of spring break …and since I also grew up to be a teacher, I also never have to work on my birthday either! WIN!
Seriously, though I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting older. At 36, I am not really old or even to the middle of my life as of yet. Some days I feel old, though. I possess an entire retinue of stories that start with “when I was your age…” and end with no real connection to the original thought. I have gray hair that needs coloring or touching up at least every 8 weeks. I have the beginnings of crow’s feet and other wrinkles as well as skin that could probably use tightening. When someone says 10 years ago, I think they’re talking about the 1990’s and I probably always will. I no longer recognize some of today’s “celebrities.” After a hard training run, I don’t bounce back like I did when I was 26. Such is the aging process.
Getting older also brings some benefits. I’ve become more confident in myself and who I am. Take me or leave me; that’s up to you. I no longer obsess so much about my perceived flaws; I earned those wrinkles, dammit! I’ve made big mistakes and small mistakes and I’ve tried to learn from those errors. I can now discuss my accomplishments without sounding like an egotistical ass. My real friends are still around; those who weren’t my real friends have long since flown the coop. I’ve experienced many every day and unique situations and learned how to deal with them effectively. I have the knowledge that no matter what today brings, a good night’s sleep will improve my outlook on that situation. I’ve also learned that all of life’s big problems are solved in the shower while I am washing my hair.
I celebrate today. I celebrate my wrinkles and my crazy stories. I celebrate my accomplishments and mistakes thus far. I celebrate my occasionally creaky knees and fast friends. I celebrate the final day of spring break and the opportunity to teach my class tomorrow. I celebrate.