Today marks the thirty first anniversary of my birth. Birthdays have always been a big deal to me – a cause for raucous celebrations festooned with cake, confetti, cupcakes and gifts. Music and dancing and flowers and friends. A proverbial tiara to be worn for twenty four solid hours. But this year feels different, somehow. Calmer. Peaceful. Without need for tiaras or confetti. I seem to have come into my own over the course of the last twelve months, and this week I found myself looking forward to my birthday for completely new reasons.
I usually get excited over the promise of gifts, small, medium, or large (or handmade by toddlers) and a facebook wall full of well-wishes. Phone calls and texts and make-you-feel-special words from all angles. I’m a shamelss self-promoter of my birthday, and I tak e no prisoners when it comes to making sure all who know me are aware of the significance of April the Fifth. One day. One single day when I get to feel remarkably loved and special and maginficent.
But at the risk of sounding redundant: This year is different. This year, I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. It’s not about getting older anymore, but about getting better. Becoming me. Living this life and enjoying every drop of it. A year ago I found myself wallowing – wishing I was further along in my business, living in Austin and missing my family and friends back home, not giving myself any credit for the journey I had the courage to even embark upon. This year is 180 degrees opposite of that. Instead of wishing for what I want, I’m charging after it, full steam ahead. Rather than wallowing in the world’s biggest and baddest pity party (attendance: one) I’m celebrating life – my life – and exactly where I am in it right.this.moment.
I’m not where I thought I would be, and I haven’t reached my destination. But I am happy and blessed and content with exactly where I am. Instead of wishing to be arrived safely and successfully and happily where I want to go, I’m sitting here instead, appreciating the journey. I am reveling in the amazing gifts already present in my life, and all that lies ahead.
Today, especially today, I’m going to turn my face toward the warm Minnesconsin sunshine and close my eyes and breathe in the calm that is growing up and growing into exactly who I was meant to be.
I am Athena.
Whatever that means, whatever it’s worth, it’s exactly right. Flaws and jiggles and bad jokes and laugh lines and big teeth and all.