31

Today’s my birthday.

Truthfully, for most of my adult life, I’ve dreaded my birthday. I never really enjoyed celebrating it; sure, cake and a few presents just for me is always nice. But for most of my 20s, it was me just dreading that ever approaching, inevitable date – when that first number in my age flipped over to a 3.

And then … exactly one year ago, that day actually happened.

And I didn’t care – in fact, I welcomed it.

The internal shift actually occurred a few months before that date … the lifting of the proverbial chains. It is really true, what people older and wiser have said … as you gracefully move out of young adulthood, you no longer care so much about the small-mindedness of other people. You stop caring so much about your appearance, and focus more on your soul. The size of your butt is no longer as important as the size of your heart. You no longer care so much about where everyone will be on a Friday night … it’s much nicer to enjoy a quiet dinner date, or – better yet – just going home and curling up with a glass of wine and a good book.

No, I can’t stay up much later than midnight anymore. No, I can’t really go beyond two or three glasses of wine without feeling the effects the next morning. Yes, those lines around my eyes just magically appeared one day. Yes, the gray is starting to color my hair fast and furiously.

And no – my life looks nothing like what I had originally envisioned as a bright-eyed 20, 21 year old. I’m not married – in fact, I’m newly single so I’m not even close to marriage. I don’t have children. My bank account isn’t where I thought it would be by now. I’m not a famous author. I have a few extra pounds and every so often I can still break out like I’m not a day over 13.

But – to flip it all around – I’m no longer in the process of rushing from date to date, from Friday nights and online dating, in a desperate search for “the one.” When the universe is ready to send “the one,” he will appear. And if it doesn’t happen? Don’t get me wrong; I’ll be sad. I really wanted marriage and children for my life. But I also can be accepting of the alternative. And while I’m not exactly Warren Buffett, I’ve been through enough turmoil in my early career that I can now appreciate my stable job that affords me not only a roof over my head and some food in the refrigerator, but the chance to save a few extra dollars (and even a shopping spree or two). I’m not a famous author, but my writing has improved over time … and it will happen, one day. I’m no longer starving myself to lead to eating binges, or spending hours in a gym. I’m fueling my body with good food and the occasional treat. I enjoy long walks with the occasional jog, yoga sessions and some weight lifting thrown in.

The acne … that’s uncontrollable, but thankfully rare!

So now I no longer fear the passage of time; even though I admittedly am eyeing the day that ‘3’ turns to ‘4’ warily. But I can fully embrace all that I am – and all that I’m not. And I wouldn’t turn back the hands of time and give up this feeling of security for anything, even the real fountain of youth.

(Although if you have a recommendation for a good eye cream, please let me know!)

Here’s to 31!

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