I’m turning 37 today and I’m sitting next to a giant Einstein’s coffee (hazelnut) and I just had an egg sandwich with birthday bacon on it. For the first time ever, I bought a tiny doggie bagel for my very own doggie and I was all excited about being able to do that finally, but he’s not that interested in it to be honest. He sort of snubbed it in favor of the steak-shaped treats my parents bought him. I’m not offended.
I think I’ve written this post at least 437 times, sometimes with pictures, sometimes without words, though I think the final draft is going to have a lot of words. We’ll see.
Earlier this morning, it was Grandparent’s day at my 4 year old’s school and I died of cuteness as I sat next to my mom and my mother-in-law as the kids sang the grandparents a song about all the things that grandparents do and are. They are everything to my kids. They are everything to me.
My four-year-old excitedly gave us all a tour of his school and after we kissed him goodbye he happily ran off and started making train tracks without a second thought that we were leaving. I was definitely sadder than he was. But I was proud that he knew what he wanted to do and just went and did that, confidently.
I listened to a voicemail of my sister singing happy birthday to me and pretending to blow a horn between each verse, but it was in a low-hushed-voice so I’m sure she was doing it from her office so no one could hear her and I picture her crouched over the phone singing to me and it’s making me laugh.
I talked to my best friend.
Now I’m sitting in a quiet house listening to the wind chimes ring outside my window with my coffee and my dog at my feet and it’s easier to pause and reflect on the year of the 36 and all of its grand “surprises.” Like the big one back in April. Usually I love surprises.
This one I did not.
I think you’ll all agree with me that the end of the 36th year pretty much sucked.
But I think you’ll all agree with me too that the beginning of 37 is already pretty great. It has to be because I started out today surrounded by people I love and that alone is pretty great.
Also I have already had birthday bacon which is pretty great too.
I don’t always reflect upon the year like this but certain events that have occurred have given me the grace and the presence of mind to be grateful for all I have. And by that I mean my new carbon bike.
Well, ok, it is pretty great that I got a beautiful new bike for my birthday.
But what’s greater is that I rode with friends for 30 miles yesterday. Because I could.
That I started today with my children’s grandparents and I will end the day with them too, at my other son’s first fall baseball game tonight. And also he’s wearing a cup for the first time, you’re welcome.
That I began the day with a kiss from the man that I celebrated my 21st birthday with FOREVER ago and with whom I purchased my first “legal” alcoholic beverage out in public with too. It was a strawberry daiquiri, the kind with the fake strawberry and the whipped cream. In hindsight it was pretty gross. Daiquiris have come a long way since then.
That I have people in my life that make every ounce of life worth living and that make me not want to leave this party early. Because it really is a big party, isn’t it?
I have a lot of gifts in life and not a single one of them is a thing.
Even the bike itself, as cool as it is, has a meaning to me that’s deeper than the bike itself. It is a torch of sorts that I’m carrying for a friend who I love. If only its miles could talk, they’d tell me tales of unbelievable strength and determination. I’ll tell you that story sometime.
I often tell the kids that the words you choose are important, that even the simple inflection or intonation of your voice matters and you can change a person’s life with either.
Of all the things in life I love, it’s the words I have and the people I can give them to.
I want you, all of you, my friends and family, to know that in just a message or a note, a call or a thought, how much you’ve lifted me in my 36th year. In more ways than you’ll ever know, you’ve made me grateful for every breath. You’ve changed my life. You’ve made me want to be a better person.
A better friend.
You’ve made me aware of how the tiniest gesture can change a life. And that often its delivery comes just in time. For both the giver and the receiver. A lesson I learn and relearn as I try to pay it forward.
Because at the end of the day, there are things in life that matter, and there are things in life that don’t.
In year 36, I learned to tell the difference.
In year 36, I learned that each moment is a gift and that wherever you’re standing at any given moment, you should close your eyes, breathe in deeply, and be thankful for being in it.
In year 36, I learned that the meaning of life isn’t about what I’ve done, what I saw, where I went, or how many things I’ve checked off my bucket list in my 36 years.
It’s discovering who I am and finding the crazies that fit into the puzzle with me. The ones who will hang on to the reigns for dear life with me as we all flap in the breeze in every direction.
The ones who are still sitting there with me as the wind dies down and we all look around and ask, “What the f*ck just happened?”
To me, the meaning of life is solely based on this one thing and nothing else: the people who are in it.
I’m surrounded by such life.
It’s my own life’s greatest gift.
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