I didn’t cry on my birthday this year! It seems like a silly thing to be excited about, but for me it was a bit of an achievement. I have taken to crying on my birthday in recent years. I’m not talking delicate tears; I’m referring to uncontrollable, need to pause in order to take a couple deep breaths, ugly sobs. As of late, birthdays have not been easy for me.
I’m a very reflective person, sometimes to an extreme that is to my detriment, and birthdays present the perfect opportunity to look back on the past year and rip it to shreds. Did I accomplish enough? Touch enough people? Learn, grow, and change enough? Did I do what I set out to do? Being the self-critical person that I am, the answer is always, no. No, no, no. I didn’t.
So what made this birthday different, you ask? Was this year somehow more spectacular? Did I find a way to become more secure in where I am and what I am doing? The answer is no, I did not. Also, what I failed to mention is though I didn’t cry on my birthday, I did cry the day after. But hey, holding out an additional 24 hours was a big step for me.
The great thing about being ambitious is you always have a reason to keep going, keep pushing. The worst thing about being ambitious is it can make the state of contentment difficult to obtain. I guess I always thought by the age I am now life would look a little different. Twenty-seven seemed so old when I was a kid. It seemed like the age people are when they are already married and are thinking about having a child if they haven’t just had one already. The age when they have completed a master’s degree and have been accepted into a doctorate program, the age when they own their own piece of property and can actually afford to fill it with furniture. The age when…wait a minute.
The more I reflect on my childhood ambitions the more silly and unrealistic they seem and the more I realize it is time to replace childhood ambitions with 27 year-old ones. No, my life doesn’t look the way I think it should or even the way I want it to most days, but some way, some how, by the grace of God, I still think I may be accomplishing just enough, touching just enough people, and learning growing and changing just enough. All I can do now, I suppose, is rest in the confidence of God’s perfect timing.
Don’t be fooled. I don’t have that contentment thing mastered. 27 still has a lot of ugly, uncontrollable sobs left in it, I’m sure. Seems to me, this year might require some extra patience. Patience in my spirit as I wait for things to unfold as everything feels so out of time and out of place and patience from family and friends as I fight to figure all this stuff out. After all, 27 has some great things going for it and I’d hate to miss the year I’ve been given spending all my time daydreaming about a year that doesn’t exist.