This week I am celebrating thirty-five years of life. THIRTY-FIVE years, my people. This is craziness!
I remember looking at thirty-five year olds, thinking they were…well, mature. Like, REALLY mature.
Not this girl. I am still a twenty-two-year-old in so many ways. I still think of myself as the young, flirtatious, fun twenty year old that I once was. Even though my life, and my lines tell me something different.
Those tell me that I could, quite possibly, have lived half of my life already. Or at least enough to become a Mom and to appreciate my own parents. (Isn’t that something??!!) I’ve lived enough to know that I don’t know anything. To realize that life is truly a gift.
And that every day is an opportunity for love, for beauty, for deep joy and random adventure.
Some might call it getting older. I call it getting smarter.
Because, really, that’s what it is. I’m much smarter than I used to be, when I thought that life was disposable, and that I was indestructable. Now I know that one moment, one day can change everything, and that every single breath I breathe deserves to be celebrated.
Yes, I’m turning 35.
But instead of bemoaning that fact, I have decided that this birthday, I am going to truly celebrate myself and the years and the times I have experienced.
So I’ve come up with a list of reasons why I should dance on this birthday. Why I should smile instead of mope about the fact that I’m getting
And when I started writing it, I could barely stop. There are sooo many!
Seriously. I’ve had an incredibly weird and wonderful life. I eventually cut myself off at 35.
Here it is! My thirty-five reasons to celebrate 35:
1. Driving a horse and buggy home from my grandparents’ place.
2. Getting dragged across a field by a pony.
3. Bottle-feeding orphaned baby raccoons till they could be on their own.
4. Getting “shocked” by an electric livestock fence. (I blame this fully on my younger brother, who convinced me, not once, but many times, that if I touched it with various long objects, such as a blade of grass, a wooden stick, etc. it would not shock me. Aahahem. It’s a wonder I still love him.:))
5. Learning how to ride “wild” horses with my dad.
6. Taking the salt shaker out to my family’s garden and eating kohlrabi right off the plant and tomatoes straight off the vine.
7. Making up songs while sitting in the branches of my family’s very tall Spruce tree.
8. Fishing and catching a frog, instead of a fish!
9. Surviving a high-speed, rollover car crash.
10. Milking cows on my Grandpa’s farm.
11. MUSHROOM HUNTING! (Lately I’ve been missing this so much. There’s nothing like the smell of those Ohio woods in the fall, and the rush of finding those wrinkly, spear-headed shrooms, and then Mama frying them for dinner. YUM!!)
12. Living without electricity, t.v., or a phone for the first ten years of my life.
13. Being a nanny for a family whose set of triplets made twelve kids.:)
14. Running out of gas in the middle of the night, in the boonies of Colorado. Oh, and that reminds me…
15. Running out of gas in the ghetto of Nashville! In the cold and the dark. (I see a trend here!)
16. Taking a boat ride across a massive, critter-infested river in Cambodia.
17. Being chased off of a scenic mountain trail, by armed men in that same country.
18. Meeting my now-husband on a tour bus in South Carolina.
19. Shopping alongside Keith and Nicole and chatting with Martina Mcbride in the checkout line at Whole Foods, which reminds me…
20. Receiving a (tiny!) piece of Nicole Kidman’s lingerie as a gift, handed down, through a friend of hers and mine.
21. Camping with black bears in Southern Colorado.
22. Falling asleep to the sound of coyotes howling, every night, while living at my parents’ home near Wyoming.
23. Giving birth twice, without medicine or intervention of any sort. (YEAH! Go, you crazy awesome body of mine!)
24. Watching whales breach and swimming with sea turtles in Hawaii.
25. Rattlesnake hunting with friends in Montana.
26. Honky-tonkin on Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee. (Need I say more?? I could fill a book on this one alone!)
27. Helping a homeless “druggie,” after my dad picked him up off the streets and gave him a place to live, in our barn! (There was no more room in that double-wide, with six kids, ok?!) He stayed for a few months, got clean, became a part of our family, and then moved on to become a successful business man and live a happy, fulfilled life, and still calls home to my mom, frequently.
28. Rescuing three small children from a burning car.
29. Parasailing in the Bahamas.
30. Skinny-dipping in the Pacific ocean.
31. Riding an elephant through the jungles of Thailand. And…
32. Getting the worst “blonde” dye job ever! in said country. (Let’s just say my hair was not blonde when the Asians got done with it. It was a very special kind of orange.:))
33. Dancing on stage at a drag queen show in Charleston.
34. Discovering a black snake in the drawer of mine and my roommates’ kitchen, and then using cooking utensils and bare hands to capture it. OH BOY. That was a circus, if I ever saw one.
35. Communicating with a Cambodian family inside their tiny bamboo hut, without understanding their language, AT ALL.
Aaah. There’s so much more!
These are just some of the things that have made these thirty-five years, so rich and full, so adventurous and amazing.
And it’s only the beginning! This is only the first
half quarter of my life.:) And I am just now starting to enjoy it! Pretty sure it’s only gonna get better. And weirder. And more wonderful from here!
Good thing I have 35 years to write my next thirty-five.
Cuz I’ve gotta go celebrate now.
To getting older, oops, I mean, smarter. And never, ever becoming “mature.”