Truthfully I have mixed emotions about my birthday. I don’t want to be the number that I am. At breakfast this morning my husband tried to convince me age is relative.
- If there were only 183 days in a year I would be 66 by now.
- If there were 730 days in a year. I’d only be 16½.
He says that regardless of the number (which is just a number) I would still be me. I would still be me. Inside and outside. As I am. In this moment. So I suppose the greater question is whether or not I am thankful for… this moment.
In this moment…
My body works.
For all practical purposes it doesn’t just work, it excels. It can see, taste, smell, hear and feel. It can walk, run (also a relative term), sit, stand, reach, lift, catch, throw, grab, hold, and bend (another one of those relative terms). It pumps, circulates, and cleanses my blood. It breathes through both my mouth and my nose filling my lungs and my blood with oxygen. It can eat and digest food and drinks (namely coffee and beer) to produce energy and pleasure. It can hug, and kiss and hold and love and yes that kind of love too. Yes, I am thankful in this moment because my body works.
My brain remembers.
Aside from the fact that none of the above would happen without my brain, it does other things too. It remembers. Sure, new names are always a challenge, but for the most part it remembers. It remembers that within the last year I:
- Finally went to the hometowns of my German ancestors, ordered the custom cuckoo clock and German calendar I always wanted, walked into Poland and consumed some of the most amazing food and beer I’ve ever tasted.
- Took a chance and tried for a new job in a new department after being blessed to have a job in my major for the last 12 years. I remember when I learned about the opportunity, writing my application in a hotel lobby in Miami, and interviewing on a sunny day facing the quad at the south campus. I remember the relief when I got the call and the warmest welcome from my new team.
- Relaxed on a beach, after 10 years and several life changes later, with my best friend/sister/college roommate as we finally took a vacation together! I remember braiding hair, hours of chess, fancy little rum drinks, our crab friends, and the importance of wearing sunscreen.
- Retired from snowmobile racing, became a better cook, supported a few Kickstarter® projects, and decided to really give this blog a shot.
There is so much more that I’ll keep for myself. But yes, I am thankful in this moment because my brain remembers.
My family loves me. My husband loves me.
I know in this moment someone loves me. In fact many people love me in ways I likely do not fully understand. But my parents brought me into this world, and loved me and cared for me in ways that no one else will ever match or compare. I will always be their princess. My grandparents were my cheerleaders, my chauffeurs, and my friends. While two are in heaven and two are still creating new memories with me here on earth, they still are my biggest fans. I have cousins who were my earliest goofball friends. Though miles and responsibilities make it harder to get together, we will always love each other and laugh about the things we did as kids. I have the most loving and selfless in-laws, a man with the biggest heart I am proud to call my brother, and the greatest gift God ever entrusted to me… my husband. Who coincidentally proposed to me on my birthday ten years ago, today. In this moment I am thankful for the love that surrounds me.
My God loves me.
I haven’t always made the right decisions. And I can only imagine if I had to go to court for every hurtful word I said and action I took. But if I had to, a man would have walked to the front of the courtroom and said, “I’ll serve her sentence.” I believe Jesus did that for me, and that it counts and it matters. It matters that God did that for me because he loves me. As a result I don’t have to, but I want to, live a life that “pays it forward.” There are many moments before that I didn’t understand this. But I am thankful, that in this moment, I do.
In this moment…
I realize not everyone has all of these things. I am blessed.
But we each have something, someone, some place, some memory, some action we can be thankful for with each passing birthday. Each passing year. Each passing moment.
Take a deep breath. Then be thankful for that.
Though the internet has enough space to hold it, I have to stop somewhere. I could have written a novel recounting all of my family, all of the memories, all of my friends, all of the moments and details, and ultimately all of the reasons.
And for that reason alone (for all of those reasons) I am thankful for this moment.
I am thankful for… my birthday.