A Decade in ReviewToday is my last day as a twenty-something-year-old. I've wasted the better part of the past year trying to dig in my heels and slow the arrival of this birthday but for some reason the calendar ignored my tantrums. Maybe that's payback for the impatience of my teenage years, when I couldn't grow up fast enough.
Trying to fight time is akin to tilting at windmills and besides, surviving another spin around the sun beats the alternative. Still, while only a day separates being 29 and being 30, the psychological distance between the two is an abyss. A birthday divisible by 10 inevitably inspires taking stock of one's life. For purposes of laziness the third decade of my life can be summed up by the following data:
# of husbands at age 20: 0
# of husbands at age 30: 1
# of cats at age 20: 0
# of cats at age 30: 4*
# of former churches owned at age 20: 0
# of former churches owned at age 30: 1
# of alien abductions at age 20: 2
# of alien abductions at age 30: 6**
*not by choice
** mostly by choice
Andrew threw me a surprise party on Saturday. Many people gave up a chunk of their weekend and drove a number of miles through the fruited plains to be there. At the risk of turning this into a Hallmark blog, I have to say I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the effort that everyone put into it. I had a real drop-to-your-knees-and-count-your blessings moment. And that's the real story of my last ten years: the unquantifiable strengthening of relationships - with God, family, and friends - and the cultivation of new ones.
During my 20s my brothers got married and our family grew. Many cousins got married and our family grew. Some had children and our family grew. That guy I met online who lied about his height became my boyfriend and later my husband, and I gained a whole new family. Classmates became acquaintances who became lifelong friends.
There were also heartbreaking losses during my 20s, namely my grandma and more recently my cousin Brian. Their absences are an everlasting presence. Time can only soften the sharpest edges of grief. It's a stark reminder that tomorrow is not promised to any of us, but it's also a call to action to appreciate every day that we do have and be grateful for those we care about. So rather than bemoan turning the big 3-0, or regretting the time that I spent regretting it, I say bring it on. I've got my cane ready to shake at neighborhood kids who walk on my lawn.