Here’s the thing about birthdays: it is the oldest you have ever been.
So, there are any number of people turning, say, seventeen today. And, to me, that seems very, very young and what not. But, to them, it is the oldest they have ever been. And they’re probably dealing with a bit of angst about the situation, a bit nervous knowing/ not knowing what the next few years hold as far as college goes and everything. But, they’re seventeen, you know?
But, still, it’s the oldest they have ever been.
Today I turn twenty-nine. It is the oldest I have ever been.
Yesterday I accidentally spilled hot honey on my hand, and my thumb is burned something awful. The skin, in one spot, is gone. And, right next to that, the skin has puffed into a little boil I really can’t bear to look at longer than a fraction of a second. I made my sister help me buy burn-stuff at the drugstore, because I couldn’t handle the pain.
Yesterday I returned home from the drugstore, and my parents had rigged up the banner they have faithfully flown on my birthday every year, for the past twenty-nine. It’s a bit faded now, the big letters and the dancing bears. Still, without little moments, what do we have? Probably time-sucking social media and that’s it.
This morning, as the sun rose, I was doing upside-down pull-ups, my legs fed between my arms, my head towards the ground, circus-style, when my sleepy dad entered the kitchen and said, “Happy birthday.” I descended the pull-up-bar-turned-trapeze, slowly (to build core), and took a circus bow.
Today is my birthday. I am the oldest I have ever been.
My mom woke up, too, later, and she gave me a card with a hamster on the front and $29 inside and a pin she bought at a craft show which is a felt hedgehog. I pinned the hedgehog on my vest, and during the day, I’ve reached up to it a few times, petting it and thinking about adventure and love, obviously, I mean, what else do you do on your birthday when you have a new hedgehog pin?
A few months ago, the black hole that is the internet, I saw some bloggers making lists of “29 things to do this year,” presumably because they turned 29, too. Only, now, I can’t find those examples to link for you.
Whatever. You’ll live, I’m sure.
I thought about doing that. Only, I guess I’m not really sure where to start. I’ve been praying a lot lately, “How about some more life, God?” but I’m not quite sure how we’re progressing in the Life Department, generally.
When I got ready for work this morning (thick tights and socks and knee-high boots, still. How long, O Lord, will thy winter last?) I decided to wear some yellow, and plugged my beautiful Polish earrings through my ears–honey-colored amber dangling in the air, like drops of sunlight.
I thought about being older, and also about how the parents I know, of babies and toddlers, have lists and the like where they can compare milestones like crawling and saying phrases and clapping hands and all that.
I was like, “I wonder where I fall, on the milestone calendar, here at twenty-nine?”
The lists constructed for standard suburban living begin to fall apart after you graduate from college and get a job. Grad program? Well, people do get graduate degrees, but they’re not required quite yet. People do get married, but that is obviously reliant on several factors…like finding a person you want to spend the rest of your life with, for instance.
Travel the world? Buy a Kitchen Aid? Complete a marathon? Own a car?
The rest of the stuff is, kind of, to a certain extent, up to you.
So. Then. What are my twenty-nine things? Do I care to set goals to accomplish this year?
I don’t know yet. I’m still deciding.
But! Here’s a fun fact. There is what’s called a “Feast Day” that usually falls on March 25. On that day we remember when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with words of wonder–God made flesh! A virgin bearing a son! All things possible for God! (And, then, nine months later, we celebrate Christmas. Hey, church, I see what you did there).
Anyway, because that date fell smack dab in Holy Week, the memory of the angel appearing to Mary was moved to today; so today the church remembers the day titled the “Annunciation.” Today, in 2016, we celebrate the first words of the angel to Mary, which I have heard translated as: “Rejoice!”
A friend texted me about this, this feast that marks the first joyful mystery.
In a way, birthdays or new years or anything like that are mysteries, aren’t they? I cannot say what this year will hold. I hope it is full of good and blessed and joyful things. But, what if it is not? Well, then, I suppose, at least I may still have a hedgehog pin. And maybe next year we can hang my birthday banner and start all over again.
But, still, it’s kind of cool that I suddenly and unexpectedly share a day with one of my favorite feasts. This isn’t likely to happen again in my lifetime. 😉
I came home from work today, cleaned a bit. A few friends might come over tonight.
A few days back, when Father Ryan called, we talked about my life a little, my age, my all-the-things. He was like, “I feel like you just want to be a gift,” and I was like, “Yeah, that’s pretty accurate.”
Except that, I came home and ate just about all of the raspberries out of the bowl of assorted fruit. I justified this by saying, “Well, it’s my birthday.”
So, that’s that.
Happy birthday to me.
And to everyone else born today. 🙂
Rejoice, O 29. Live totally.