The 36th Year

When my birthday arrived this year it was undercover.  Or so it seemed.  Sneaking up on me without the usual fan fare and gusto.  That's cool.  Husband Jared and I had a trip planned so I knew we'd be celebrating then.  But the Things, they chose to wish me a day full of surprises.  One being a record player.  Swoony.  It really is.  I feel all hipster-ish and poetic when I listen to it.  The sound is a tad scratchy and the words a bit more moody.  An unexpected visitor arrived on my birthday to spend a few days with us and that was a gift in and of itself.  Sister time with Aunt Natalie was the perfect present.  I blew out candles and we watched Downton Abbey squeezed together on the cushions.  My birthday was sublime.  And yet with all this I'm still reconciling with this being the beginning of my 36th year.  Unwrapping it slowly, making sure not to tear the paper or break a ribbon. 
I had in mind a post about what I now know. You recall the cliché, older and wiser?  Really not so much for me.  What I am learning is that I am just now discovering ME.  Isn't that wild?  The trip we took recently was all about story.  Your life.  The positive and negative turns.  Relationships.  Recreating dreams.  Jesus and Love and living.  I mean LIVING.  And I think to a certain extent my brain is processing all that still.  While I have been taking it all in this 36th year has been full steam ahead.  Already. With no braking.   
The word of the year crept it's way in and morphed into more than I could have imagined.  Growing legs and arms and wings.  Wanting to come to fruition with it's full of potential attitude strapped to it's back.  Yes.  Thus spurring me on to "Become" this 36th year.  Claim it.  Allow it to flow and move organically throughout these next nine months.   Oh the metaphor is primed here.  Nine months.  The gestation period for us humans.  Growing inside.  I just couldn't help myself.   It rings true and is so applicable for such a time as this. 
With the story unfolding and the word "becoming" as the theme my introspective tendencies are in full force.   I want to sit and download.  Re-read my notes and journals.  Analyze, perhaps?  Yes, that's what I'd like to do.  So here goes.  Not all at once but certainly one puzzle piece at a time.  A list might be in order. Aptly titled what I've come to know.  And not just about me but about the world around me.  That is what birthdays do to me.  Cause me to reminisce and dialogue internally and then output all that pops into this head and heart of mine.  It's a good start to this 36th year, don't you think?

1. I am an introvert.  There, I said it.  And I don't care who knows it.  Pardon me, Elf quotes.  Never thought I was, until recently anyway.  People exhaust me.  In the very best way of course.  I am aware of my instinctual need for people, relationships.  Yes, and watch out because here comes the butt sandwich, but I much prefer to be in my own space with my six.  Comfortable.  Safe.  Now is not the time or space to wax and wane about how sheltered that is.  I'm simply stating my preference.  Don't take it personally.  Please.  That is not my intent.  When a revelation like this takes place I like to share it here.  And this is a revelation.  For years I considered myself an extrovert.  Drawing on other people's energy, charisma and feeling exhilarated by being surrounded.  Now, not so much. 

2. Almost cyclically I become antsy every two or so years.  Itching for a change of scenery.  This is relatively recent.  Like say the last ten years or so.  I previously thought myself anti-change.  Yes, I will stay in the same city where my children were born, watch them grow, mark it on the wall and stay put.  Now, I couldn't say no thank you fast enough.  That is not for me.  I am more of a gypsy spirit that originally believed. Who would've thunk?  I'm prone to wander, ready for adventure and the unknown.

3. My memory is poor, poor, poor.  If I say it three times like Nanny in "Eloise" does that employ enough emphasis for you?  Truly it is.  I must utilize all of my learning strategies to remember.  Read it, hear it, write it, repeat it.  Best of all, do it.  Maybe take a picture of it and blog about it too.  That would surely help.  At least I'm assuming it does.  Err, I hope so anyway. 

4. I like the idea of living in the country, dependent upon the land, no electricity.  Wait, that might have taken it too far.  Keep the electricity and running water please.  What I mean is, a big ranch style house, just me, Husband Jared and all four Things working the land and living off it.  Then when I contemplate what that literally means for me and all my first world, spoiled suburban ways I retract that statement.  The result, I love the idea of all that simplicity and such but I don't actually think it's the place for me.  I have learned to not say "never", it could become a reality, just not by my willing it to.  No, not even hoping for it. 

5.  I am more  of a city girl.  How about an old house, bungalow style, in the middle of a city?  Near a vibrant downtown, quaint but metropolitan enough to host the arts and diversity and culture.  Whoa.  Where did that come from, the depths of my soul?  Probably not.  Dare I say it is a dream.  On any given day though I might just retract that statement as well and be on the edge of a cliff waiting to throw all these worldly possessions to the valley below.   I am a woman full of paradox.  This I know, at least now I admit it freely with this 36th year upon me. 

6. Sometimes I live on an emotional island.  Isolating myself from my family and the rest of the world around me.  Confession.  This self realization came by way of our eldest two Things.  Thank you very much.  More often these four Things are calling me out and holding me accountable.  There was a time where I would have been threatened by that.  These days I am just flat out grateful. 

7. I can be rather reactionary in certain circumstances.  Oh, you find that hard to believe?  Not really.  My emotions cloud my judgment and before  you know it I've gone and said or done something that shouldn't have been said or done.  At least not right away.  Impulsive might be another way to go about in that self assessment. 

8.  Not necessarily something new but a detail I'm paying attention to these days, what makes me cry.  Apparently runners finishing a race and hearing about women rising, using their gifts, especially when it comes to feeding people around a table.  Yep.  Gets me every time.  There is something to be said for goals accomplished, specifically runners.  I read the signs, listen to the encouragement from the crowd, read the shirts of the people running around me and I get choked up.  Every single race I've ran or watched tears have been shed.  Well the table, that just speaks for itself.  It is a sacred space.  Always. 

9.  Regrets are not worthy of my time and energy.  There is no going back.  What's done is done.  I can choose to learn from it and walk in grace or wallow in darkness.  If I do that I am exactly where the enemy wants me, defeated and useless.  So moving forward means looking ahead, remembering the past, not living in it. 

10.  I am becoming the person I was created to be.  Failure is not something to be feared.  Amen and Amen.  Nor is criticism.  Hand in hand with that is accepting that I do not have to be an expert on a topic before I share an opinion, idea or thought regarding it.  What once was debilitating and incited fear has become useful and welcomed.  It's how I grow. 

And with that list of ten I've now given you a glimpse into this sporadic brain of mine.  I will over process and ruminate on this post.  Thinking I've over shared.  Or I haven't explained myself well enough.  The words I've woven together didn't quite meld as though they should have.  If that's the case, please tell me.  I'll clarify.  Have a conversation with you about it.  On the other hand, if you disagree you must know me better than I know myself and there are only a handful of people I'd stake that claim with so enter cautiously here.  Who am I kidding, join the party, we have balloons and cake and bubbly.  After all, I'm still celebrating my 36th year of becoming!  

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