Do we have to rush this whole turning 41 thing? I mean, I wasn't even born until 9:43 p.m. that October evening in Kansas City, Missouri. The years seem to be going by faster! Something must be done about it. Perhaps if I reflect on birthdays past, I can forget about the one I'm facing today....
My best birthday party ever was when I was 5. My parents bought me my very own kiddie slide projector, and I had a robot cake, and my cousin Denise was at my party. Denise was at least 10 years older than me, and she was so cool. She had long hair like Marcia Brady, and she wore hippie clothes.
Once when I was in grade school my birthday fell on Columbus day (just like this year) and we go the day off from school! That almost never happened.
I don't know what it was about turning 20, but I remember crying quietly in my dorm room the morning of my 20th as my roommate slept. There was something so sad and dreadful about not being in my teens anymore. So dramatic and silly. I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self, "Dude, you have no idea what's ahead. Please relax and chill out. And just wait till your 36th. Life will give you something to cry about!"
For my 30th, my friends threw me a big surprise party with a yellow brick road and Wizard of Oz cutouts. This was the year I went on the Planet Hollywood/Greyhound Bus lines Wizard of Oz tour. I have never been as surprised as I was that year.
My worst birthday was when CT and I ended our 7 year relationship. That was the big 36. We were about to go to dinner when an honest conversation happened in the kitchen. So instead of having a birthday dinner, we just broke up. Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven was started a few months later. I hoped blogging would help me deal with the pain. (That's a lie. I was hoping I'd meet guys.)
Juju threw a great party for me in 2003, but what I will always remember is the birthday present she gave me that year. Juju got ahold of my address book and contacted friends from my past and present, asking them to contribute to a book she was creating. She compiled wonderful e-mails, pictures and letters from friends into a book and presented it to me at the party.
The front page of the books says:
This book is for you.
These words are about you, from people who love you...You are so well loved.
Every year on my birthday I like to start my day by reading some of those wonderful words from people who love me. Here is something my friend Kathy (from my college "Mad Sheep" days) put in that book that I read this morning...
Congratulations on reaching another birthday milestone. I find if I measure my life by the friends I have rather than the years I'm clocking, I can be overwhelmed by joy instead of grief!
Wow. It really does go fast. I don't know if I really understood how fast time goes until I hit 40. But Kathy really helps me to put it in perspective. Why measure the years? I want to measure my life by my relationships.
Tonight at 9:43 I will take a moment to say thanks for my friends. The people I've loved and hugged and kissed. The friends who have made me laugh. The friends who let me cry. My life is very full of joy, and I am so thankful.