There are two ways to look at turning 35:
1) With gloom / mild panic, as in “I have officially entered the second half of my thirties and there’s still so much that I want to do with my life.”
2) As a reason to celebrate, and an occasion from which to wring every possible drop of pleasure and gratitude, because it’s A BIRTHDAY.
I toed the line of option 1 more than once, but thankfully, by the time the big day actually arrived, I had managed to extract my head from my rear end.
With some help, of course.
It happened on the day before my birthday, which also happened to be my last day of jury duty. The clerk, whose duties include being “jury handler,” brought brownies as a snack for us. Now snacks like this weren’t unusual, but this time, she also brought a candle. After a brief discussion about the possibility of setting off a fire alarm, the candle was lit (after nine days of jury duty, we were feeling rebellious) and my fellow jurors sang happy birthday to me!
Birthday gloom: overruled. Celebration: sustained. Best jury duty EVER.
This one I planned. I had told Robin Hood that I wanted to hike Albuquerque’s La Luz trail on my birthday. It had been two years since I’d last hiked it, and I wanted to a) prove to myself that I could still do it and b) take an overdue opportunity to spend hours in the great outdoors. And, oh yeah, c) spend quality time with my wicked cool husband.
So we did it! It took us a little longer than either of us had anticipated (I swear those last couple miles go on forevvvver) but we made it to the top, tired and sweaty but otherwise unscathed. Perhaps not your typical birthday revelry, but I loved it.
I had also mentioned to Robin Hood that I’d like to go to an Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game on my birthday. He bought tickets, and we made plans to attend that evening’s game with my sister and her husband.
Or so I thought.
We got to the game, picked up our tickets from will call, and an usher led us to our seats…where A HUGE GROUP OF OUR FRIENDS sat waiting! Robin Hood had organized the whole thing. Between the surprise and being tired from the hike, I just stood there stupefied for a minute or five, but eventually recovered enough to realize just how phenomenal my husband and friends are.
Bonus: my friend Meghann snagged a foul ball and gave it to me! Before taking the ball to Guest Services to have it encased (did you know they do that?), I had my friends and family sign it.
Now that’s a souvenir.
The night after my birthday, we went to the home of some friends for a little get-together – appetizers, a hilarious board game called Rotten Apples, and Robin Hood’s Increasingly Famous Rum Cake. In the midst of all the fun and snacking, another candle was lit (on top of a piece of rum cake; looking back, it’s lucky the whole thing didn’t go up in a tiny inferno) and I got another birthday serenade.
I was officially spoiled rotten.
So now I’m 35. And sure, I still have moments of trepidation, but mostly?
Life is pretty fabulous.
Thank you to everyone who helped me realize it.