When I was 11 years old, I put streamers (it was likely toilet paper) across a couple of doorways in my house, and decorated some signs with “36” on them. I invited the next door neighbors over and surprised my mom with the grand gesture. She seemed somewhat embarrassed but was good sport. It was a weird reaction though – like she was somewhat ashamed of being “so old.” Or maybe she didn't want the attention on her. In my 11 year old mind, 36 sounded like a great age to me!
So last week, it happened: I turned 36!
The fact that I didn't have a hot second to blog about it for over a week later tells you how disorganized things are right now with trying to get my house ready for sale, maintaining my work schedule, and all the tasks that come with #adulting at tax time. I know all of the house prep will be worth it in the end, so I need to keep focusing on the end goal of moving. If nothing else, the happenings on my birthday really helped reinforce the awesome things that are pushing the move forward. More on that in a minute…
My birthday has been a little rough ever since my mom died 2 days before it. The week is always tinged with grief and reflection, but then part of me wants to shed it all and have a grand old time! It's such a contradiction of emotions the first week of April. I don't mind getting older, which is probably a good thing otherwise the first week of April might be even more depressing than it is now!
I just went back and read the post I wrote on my 35th birthday. I talked about how 34 was a year of rebuilding, and looking back now that's more true than ever. It was repairing the foundation that crumbled a bit in year 33. 34 was a year of letting the roots find the soil again. 35 ended up being really damn awesome.
This photo is from my 35th birthday post, and I basically want to high 5 myself for having a great year. I crawled through the muck, found my footing, and firmly planted my mint-shoed feet back on the ground. I asked of other people in my life what I ask for in myself: compassion, honesty, loyalty, kindness, and love.
I posted this over on Instagram last week, on my 36th birthday:
Warning: Sappy AF.⠀
I was working in my office and heard the garage door open. Was a little freaked, and then I saw the perpetrator 😍 I thought he was at work in Louisville (1.5 hours away) and we were meeting in Frankfort (halfway between our houses) for dinner! Best birthday surprise 🎉 I got flowers, a beautiful gift, a card with glitter, and dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. ⠀
Today I was planning on writing a blog post about my birthday, feelings on aging, etc. But instead, I just spent my time feeling completely and utterly surprised and spoiled by this one. Between that and all the truly lovely texts and Facebook messages from friends near and far, I feel exceptionally lucky and unconditionally loved.⠀
I'm a tough nut to crack sometimes. I live with anxiety and depression (though both are controlled) and am always considering 500 things that could go wrong. But for this first day of my 36th year of life, I am just filled to the brim with nothing but happiness and gratitude. 💕💕💕
Steve secretly took a half day from work to haul it to Lexington and surprise me. I never thought I could be surprised like this, and it was really overwhelming to feel the effort and care he put into showing up and making me feel utterly spoiled.
I don't want to go on and on about how awesome it was, because the awesome year that was 35 wasn't entirely due to a new a single relationship. Before Steve and I met, I was feeling pretty sappy and loved up on myself! I felt much more confident, happy, and content than I had in years. I have really amazing friends, really satisfying work that rarely feels like work, and a stronger sense of confidence in my skills, abilities, and character. The process in getting there wasn't pretty. Things still aren't all roses and sunshine 100% of the time. Sometimes it even requires a little bit of Stuart Smalley action:
The work has been worth it. I'm excited to see what 36 has in store. Thanks for sticking with me!