My gift

Normally, I look forward to going to sleep each night, but especially on Mondays.  Going to bed tonight is going to age me a year.  Sometime in the wee hours of the morning (ok, 2:54 am to be exact), I'm going to turn a year older.  I'm going to be, gulp, 37.  That's officially late 30's.  How did that happen?  Most days, I don't feel a day over 50.

I have more lines on my face.  My freckles are no longer cute.  And they're getting larger.  And they can kind of be called age spots at this point.  My joints hurt some of the time.  I make involuntary grunting noises when  squatting down or standing up.

But I'm sort of ok with it.  I'm at a good point in my life right now.  My kids are great ages, especially during this holiday season.  I like my job and think that I have enough experience now that people kind of, sometimes respect what I have to say.  My husband and I have worked through the ups and downs of 11 years of marriage and are there for each other.  I am truly blessed to have a wonderful life.

I've made the decision and commitment in the last month or so to actively pursue happiness.  It is my gift to me this year.  And it is my gift to my family.  Especially in light of recent tragedies, both local and national, we have no guarantees about how long we have on this earth.  I always think about my father-in-law, who was forced into early retirement at the age of 57.  He was not happy about it, but took they next three years to teach (which he loved) and enjoy retirement.  He died, very suddenly, at the age of 60.  If he had not had those three years of unplanned retirement, he would have worked until he dropped.

Despite my rapidly advancing age, I don't have the option of early retirement.  But I want to take each day for what it can offer.  I want to be happy.  I'm letting go of the small things.  I'm trying to react less to the medium stuff.  I'm trying to roll with the biggies. I'm trying to live so that I don't have any regrets.  It's not always easy, but like anything worthwhile (relationships, marriage, parenting), the reward is worth the work.  Should my number get pulled, I don't want to have any regrets about how I spent my time here.

I really believe that happiness is a choice.  I know people who bad things keep happening to, but they are always smiling and chipper and with a glass-half-full attitude.  Conversely, I know people with seemingly good lives who are so full of negativity that they feel toxic to be around.  I cannot and will not be that person.  I choose happiness.

So my birthday gift cannot be found in a store.  It cannot be returned or exchanged.  But, just like a pregnant cat, it is the gift that keeps on giving.  And instead of something that is consumed, I'm giving my birthday gift out to those around me.  To those friends who are my village, whom I could not survive parenting without.  To my kids, who are the sun in my world.  To my family, who keep me focused on what outcome I desire.  And to my husband, who, for better or worse, is my partner throughout this journey.

Me, 37 years ago.  Already a ham.


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