The story is that your birthday wish won’t come true if you share it. But I’m feeling frisky, so I’m throwing caution to the wind.
Hopefully, by sharing, I’m not changing the course of my life’s direction, which is something I’ve worried about before: when I got my driver's license renewed one year and checked the box labeled “Organ Donor,” as I stepped outside the DMV, I was suddenly paralyzed with fear, worried that I’d just set in motion a new purpose for my life - to be the body parts for someone else’s.
I sat in my car for 10 minutes trying to talk myself down from the irrational anticipation of a boulder falling onto my car, or that I’d accidentally veer off a bridge on my way home. Irrational because I don't live near boulders or bridges.
I’m older and more reasonable, now, so I know logically that jinxing your wish by sharing it only happens to people who don’t say “rabbits” on the first day of every month.
Of course I wish for big, important things like to see my boys grow up and get married, then have kids of their own.
I want to hold my grandbabies and attend their soccer games, and criticize my daughter-in-law’s attempt at broccoli cheese casserole, because nobody’s will beat my own (which isn’t really mine, it’s my mom’s, but I don’t think I’ll share it with my future daughter-in-laws, because I want to always have that one thing that my boys think is better than anyone else’s), and I want to watch my sons and their wives from afar, feeling that almost-cry bubble up because I’m so happy to see them so happy. Eating the most delicious broccoli casserole they’ve ever tasted.
Sure, I wish for world peace, an end to hunger, for all the animals in the world to find their forever home, and for domestic abuse and child abuse to be gone forever. I wish for these things every single day.
But that’s not my birthday wish. My birthday wish is all about me.
I’m 48 today and my wish is this: that I’m only halfway.
I need 48 more years!
I feel like I’m only just now really getting into a groove. I don’t worry as much about what people think of me as I did when I was younger.
I’m feeling braver and more assertive than ever, as proven a few days ago when I was asked to change my son’s hockey number, and I replied with something like, “Oh gosh, this is so awkward, but do I really have to? Can someone else trade numbers? I’m so sorry to ask, and I hope I’m not being “that parent” by asking you to reach out to someone else,” and then I ended with the crying-faced emoji to show how broken up I was about not just being a “yes” person, but I was all, “you go gurrl!” to myself.
I don’t second-guess myself so much, and I don't feel guilty about saying no to requests for my time. (I sort-of do. Fine, I do feel guilty saying no, but I think I'm better than I used to be. I'm pretty sure I am, at least. Wait, am I??)
I work on losing weight for health reasons, now, versus criticizing myself for the flabby areas (#theyreallflabbyareas).
And there are still so many things I want to do. I'm running out of time!
I want to go salmon fishing in Alaska with Mark.
I want to read all the books ever written about Queen Elizabeth and her entire family.
I want to see a black bear in real life, but not in a zoo. In the wild.
I want to write a book about my Nana's story.
I want to sell our RV.
I want to train my puppy to be a therapy dog like my Lilly.
I want to perform on stage in a community theater.
I want to look through old pictures with my kids.
I want to sell my books at the Texas Conference for Women.
I want experiences, not stuff.
I want to be like the little old grandmother who made news by skydiving on her 94th birthday, except that I don’t want to go skydiving, because I do still have anxiety, you know.
But I want that feeling.
I want to feel invincible, like I felt at 16 when a Boston song would come on the radio and my best friend, Kim, and I would sing out loud with the windows rolled down, as we drove out for a day at the lake.
Or the way I felt when I came in 2nd place a few years ago in the Biggest Loser 5K, and I was shocked and almost crying with pride in myself at how hard I’d worked, and how it had paid off because I’d shaved three minutes or so off the pace of my training runs.
There I was, holding hands with my youngest, who came to join me in crossing the finish line, well ahead of most of the pack.
There were bleachers set up for people to sit and cheer on runners as they crossed the finish line, and I could tell in their faces they were surprised at my running prowess.
I want that feeling again.
After I got my goodie bag, when we were walking to the car, the rest of the runners were rounding the bend on a trail that punched through a group of trees I’d never seen before. Wait, I didn’t come out that way.
And that’s when we discovered that I got trails mixed up during the run, and had jumped onto the 3K trail (it might have been a 1K trail, but whatever, why are you choosing now to be all detail-oriented?), never the wiser.
I don’t think Mark and I have ever laughed so hard. I want that feeling again.
I need 48 more years!
I don’t want to go much beyond 96 because my knees already give me problems, and I can guarantee they’ll be fussy in my 90’s, except that by then I’m sure we’ll have some elixir that lubes up knee joints and tastes like chocolate all at the same time.
The hairs-in-weird-places thing that happens in your 40’s will be all but a bad memory by the time I’m in my 90’s, because doesn’t hair stop coming in altogether in your 70’s or so?
In my 90’s, I won’t have hormone issues to contend with, because sitting here in my late 40’s, I’m at the very end of the childbearing window, and menopause comes early in my family, so my lady fruit has already started rotting.
The next 48 years are going to be my best, actually. I’ve got big plans and none of them include getting hit by a bus (you hear that, Universe? Don't try having the last laugh on me now that I've spoken out-loud my birthday wish).
I plan to fill the next 48 with experiences that make me feel alive.
That seems like a long time, but time goes by faster and faster the older we get, so 96 will be here before I know it. I've gotta get crackin'.