Juliana is turning 5 y/o on Saturday. I can't believe she's such a little lady already! There's just no hint of the baby left in her except when she's tired and rubs her eyes. She's tall and slender with not one ounce of baby fat. Her little button of a nose is no longer a button but turning into a grown-up's nose. Her hair is no longer baby-fine, but thick and full and just like mine. She's starting to understand adult jokes and heck, the kid is reading 3rd grade level books and understanding them. I'm proud of her and sad that I'm losing the babyness at the same time. I love that she's having a birthday so I get to celebrate my 1st Princess's birth and all of her accomplishments in the past year.
But that's not the birthday I'm talking about. That's not the birthday I'm having some trouble with.
For the 1st time, I'm feeling more than twinges about my age. I loved my 20's. 25 and 26 were awesome. When I turned 27, it was just "o.k." But I never really had a problem with birthdays until this year. Yeah I had some anxiety over turning 30 y/o last year but it was exciting because I was pregnant with Anneliese, we had just moved into a new house, and Manny and Tracy threw me a huge and wonderful birthday party. The 1st b-day party I'd had for myself in YEARS, if you don't count our families having a cake for me and calling that a party.
I've decided that this year, I'm not turning 31 y/o. I'm just not, and you can't talk me out of it. I'm going to be 25 y/o again. And I'm STAYING 25 y/o. No, no... really. I'm 30 going on 25 and you can't stop me or convince me otherwise, so don't even try. Everything I've accomplished and everything I've worked so hard for, everything I have today will still be the same. The only thing I'm changing is my age. So what, chronologically I'm still turning 31 y/o but come on... SO WHAT??? I feel younger than 31 y/o, not like it's "old" but I got all the jokes and how before I know it I'll be 40. I figure once I dump all of this extra padding I'm carrying around I'll look 25 y/o again so why not BE 25 y/o? Just because the calandar says so? I don't live by a calandar. OK, maybe I do a little , but not when it comes to age.
I've learned that when you have children, age only matters when you're a kid. And the only reason it's GOOD for a grown-up to have a birthday is because it means you got to watch another year go by and were blessed and fortunate enough to have that year. The alternative is, well, not having a birthday and you know what that means. But you know what bothers me the most about aging? It's the "so-sorry" head tilt when you tell people how old you are. Like once you hit your 30's you're "old." COME ON!
But what I hate even more is hearing "40 is the new 30." Ummmm no it's not. 40 is 40 and 30 is 30. I'm not thrilled with aging but 40 is not 30 and 30 is not 20. As much as I loved my 20's I don't want to "go back" so to speak. I'm killing this concept LOL. Have I thoroughly confused you? Or can you follow this? I wouldn't want to turn back the clock because I love my life right now. I adore my family and friends and I'm very blessed. But if I could BE 25 without going back and being 25, I'd be very happy with that LOL. Get on with life and move on but yet still be youthful. And yet it's only 5 yrs. Really, how much different is 30 from 25? And how much different is 31 from 30? I still have (God willing) more than half of my life left to live. I still have the joy of watching my little girls grow up from princesses to become queens of their own homes and families. It makes me sad to think of that, being a grandmother and watching them marry but how could I not look forward to that at the same time? How could I wish them to stay little when that would mean depriving them of the joy that I feel in raising my own family? If I keep myself frozen in time, then they would be too.
Why can't I just stay young while my family still grows?
Of course I'd rather have a birthday than not. I appreciate it when other people want to celebrate my life and so I embrace birthdays and parties and what it all means but that does NOT mean that I have to see it as getting older. We're too obsessed with staying young and the label that the number of years we've lived inevitably forces on us. So why live by a number? I refuse to do that any more. I choose to live by my children and family and friends. I choose to celebrate each year I'm alive because it means I was lucky enough to get to spend more time with all of them. But I don't have to acknowledge the number any more, do I? I can say I'm whatever age I damn well please because in the end, that number just doesn't matter. I don't care if you're 25 or 35 or 105. OK, well, if you're 105 then you deserve a medal because not many people successfully are blessed to live that long but you get what I'm saying. Once you're in your 20's does it really matter what your age is? No. Is it going to change how you live your life? Probably not. So if I refuse to live by a number then maybe I'll never have a midlife crisis. And I won't feel limited by what I haven't done yet. I'll be more happy with what I HAVE done.
I guess this goes along with something I said before. Live a life without regret. Regret doesn't do anything except waste time as you think about what you "could have or should have" done or said or thought or felt. Instead, I'm choosing to embrace myself and my age even as I turn the number away. I can't change my age, so why regret it? Why put the burden on myself of what I haven't accomplished yet? That's not to say I won't strive to do better every day that I'm blessed to be alive... it just means I won't regret anything about all of my yesterdays. And I'll try not to think about how with each day that passes, I have one less day to live. I'll try to make the most of it and live each day the best I know how. So why should some arbitrary number matter so much? Why put so much emphasis on a stupid number? Does it MATTER that I'm turning 31 chronological years? Nope. I choose to believe that it doesn't.
So. This year I'm having a birthday, but I'm not aging. And you can't make me.