I had a birthday this week. I am now 39 years of age. It’s kind of a cool number really. There are certain numbers that just seem a little more interesting than others.
Magic in numbers
Five felt like a landmark to me because I could use my entire hand to demonstrate my age, spreading those five fingers in pride. Five was like sun beams spreading from eager, wide-eyed innocence. Ten was another monumental year. Mostly because two hands are better than one! It allows you to do a handstand, hang from the monkey bars, and extend said hands out to the sides when riding bike just to demonstrate balance mastery. Eleven was fantastical – two 1’s?! Those long, straight lines were definitely representative of my growth at the time.
For some reason 17 stands out more to me than 18. I think 7’s in general seem edgier. 8’s offer smooth corners while a 7 zig zags with ledges to jump from, which is exactly what 17 was for me. Edgy and foolish. 21 arrived with expectations and open doors. This was the age of adulthood. However, it took me until I was about 23 to realize I really did not NEED to order a drink every time I went out just because it was legal for me to do so. At about 23 I started to think before I acted. Unchartered territory for this impulsive youth. I felt a certain maturing – living on my own, balancing all those expenses, keeping a part time job, and attending graduate school. 23 to 25 were years of significant growth. Add getting married into that mix and I was feeling pretty grown up!
My late 20s were spent researching conception and nurturing a growing life inside me. My husband and I brought three unique life forms into this world between my 26th birthday and right after my 31st birthday. During those years I mostly recall juggling a crying infant, wiping up spit-up, washing bottles, lugging around a breast pump, and falling asleep while reading – or doing anything for that matter.
The 30 list
I was slightly anxious to turn 30 and made a list shortly after my 29th birthday of 30 things I wanted to experience before turning 30. I had 12 months to do it and I did. I cannot tell you anything that was on that list now, they were pretty small, but not inconsequential as they allowed me to arrive at 30 ready with open arms. Now I am looking at 40. 4 – 0. Four. Zero. Gulp.
Let them eat cake
Thankfully and unashamedly there has always been cake. Cake is an important hallmark of a birthday. All the fat and sugar to fill up that piece of you that deep down just wants to be recognized for being born. Bring. On. The. Cake.
How does age look?
I believe all of us at some point stop and take note of the age we are and think – “I remember thinking (enter number here) was OLD! But now I’m there and I don’t FEEL old. Do I look old?” Then we tell ourselves the story about how we are just aging more gracefully now than the old people of years past (like when we were kids…) or we start to empathize with those “old” people that told us they indeed did not perceive themselves as old, either. Age is but a number. My dad has remarked that your mind will have you believe that you are always pretty much the same age, but it’s your body that starts to tell you otherwise.
There is truth in age not being nice to our bodies. Even with the most diligent of practices and honing of healthy habits, our bodies have limits. Over time they start to wear down and activities that once came with ease, now take some weighing of the consequences. We do what we can to keep our insides and outsides looking and feeling their best, but we have limited control over the inevitable. I for one am just flabbergasted at the years that I spent running without paying much attention to stretching. I feel at this point in my life I do more stretching than running, hence my adoration of yoga. There just seems to be so many more kinks and knots and aches these days.
In honoring my birthday this week, I also honor yours. I want you to have your cake and eat it too. There is light in this world and there is darkness. When you look upon the candles on your cake, be reminded of the light that is in you – a great fiery orb. Each day you bring us your supremely unique and formidable force. Everyone serves in this beautiful mission.
I will leave you tonight with these few lines from You Were Born by Cloud Cult:
‘Cause you were born to change this life You were born to chase the light ‘Cause you were born