Today, I turn 37. Keep in mind, I thought I turned 37 last year, so this extra year is just frosting on my birthday cake. I used to write really feely blog posts on my birthday, so–in the spirit of being young–I’m going to write a really feely blog post. I have an hour before my in-laws pick us up for dinner though, so I’ll make this quick. In keeping it quick, I’m not going to fuss about flow or transitions, so c’mon…I’ll take you on a tour of my random, spiraling brain. It’ll be fun. Also, there’s no time for pictures in this post but I did take a selfie in my bedroom yesterday and cropped the part of the wall that’s half-painted (for like, a year). So here–a birthday picture for my rambling 37th birthday post.
On my birthday in 2009, I wrote the following:
It’s taken me awhile to grasp it all, but I have finally arrived at the grown-up place of life is what you make it and there are lots of things in life we go through that aren’t comfortable or ideal, but they could be so incredibly worse, and a simple life of comfort does nothing to change us, mold us, make us into better, stronger more beautiful versions of ourselves…I have been reminded so much these past couple weeks of just how wonderfully blessed we are and the older I get, the more I embrace change as opportunity to learn just what I am capable of. –
Perhaps I (have) been planted for too long and (a) little bit of discomfort will challenge me, in my thirty-first year, to push myself more toward new chapters in the story of our life.
Three weeks after I wrote that, Nella was born–little did we know she had Down syndrome. I seem to have a knack at self-fulfilling prophecy posts, so let’s try this one:
Perhaps it’s time, in my 38th year, for a family vacation to Italy.
Earlier this month, this blog celebrated its 8 year birthday. One of the great things about blogging that long is that it gives you such sweet documentation of change. I read those old posts now and miss those old days, that old me, that old writing.
Occasionally I will hear this: “This blog isn’t what it used to be.” “You’ve changed.” “I miss the way you used to write. Unfollowing.”
And I have this to say: Over the course of my life and all the years one knows me, please, Dear God, don’t let anyone ever say “she never changed.” If I’m remembered for anything, do not let it be for stagnancy. Let me change, let me fall and get up, let me figure things out messily, beautifully, with mistakes, but let me move and flow with the currents of change. Life is changing. In fact, I found Brett in the living room today with his toolbox, disassembling the crib.
“Seriously? Today?” I asked. “You’re going to disassemble 9 years of baby-rearing memories in front of my face on my birthday with no warning?”
The corner that crib took up just opened up a brand new space though. More room to move and grow and play and change. I have both sweet memories of what that space has been for the past several years and dreams for what it will be.
Things are shifting into another phase of life. Or as my brother bluntly put it this morning on the phone: “Happy birthday, Kas. We’re all going to the dogs, aren’t we?”
For any birthday, for all seasons of change, for all the good and bad and crazy, here’s what I visualize: I’m in a convertible–red, vintage 1971 Mercedes if you must know. There’s a stretch of country road in front of me as far as the eye can see and blue sky above. I don’t exactly know where I’m going or how I’m going to get there, but the car is moving and I’m in the back seat, standing up–a little dangerous–arms outstretched, chest to the wind, eyes closed and hair blowing. I’m smiling and I’m in the moment, and I’m trusting that we’ll end up somewhere we’re supposed to be. (Also, I’m wearing a linen dress, no bra, and Devotchka is blaring, but let’s not Hollywoodize this too much)
I saw the movie Joy yesterday and absolutely loved it. (Go, go, go, get in your car, get extra butter on your popcorn, wear your pajamas to the theater, go see it tonight!) There was a quote that stayed with me: “…when you realize the only thing you’re ever going to have is what you make.”
That’s my birthday anthem. That’s my change anthem. You don’t own your family or their feelings or your circumstances. You can’t guarantee your health, you can’t lock in your youth. But you do always have the power to make. Choices, changes, happiness, comebacks, words, songs, love, amends, space, someone else’s day, beautiful things. I love to think about what I’m going to make this next year.
And with all this change, if it’s of any consolation, the way I write a birthday post doesn’t change. With a beer. And a candle. And music (this song). Music that makes me stop typing and put my hands in the air and feel it every few minutes. And when I’m done typing this, I’ll open the door and yell for my kids and we will dance a little bit crazy. Because we like to make….noise.
Want some dancing in your kitchen birthday songs? Here.
The Temper Trap–Fools
Arcade Fire–Wake Up
Young Folks–Peter Bjorn and John
What are you going to make this year?