Happy Birthday, Peter Pan

Today is my birthday.

And usually I struggle to face this day... I dread the uptick of numbers and flipping over of yet 365 more days.

It, truly, honestly, wholeheartedly stresses me out!

I can't explain it. I've always been like this. When I turned twenty and officially left my teens, I cried. When I turned thirty and officially left my twenties... I cried again.

I am self-diagnosed with one year of psychology major under my belt the quintessential definition of Peter Pan Complex- the fear of aging.

Ignoring the fact that I'm an emotional catastrophe, birthdays are hard for me!

But then I had kids. Specifically I had my first two children, that are both girls. And while I can wax eloquent on how parenting affects aging and how the years fly by and I'm more concerned with their growth and maturity than my own and on and on and on...

The truth is, their birthdays have adjusted my mentality in a very practical way.

My birthday is on the 24th- today. My oldest daughter's birthday is on the 20th, four days before and my second daughter's birthday falls on the 27th.

Not to mention in January my husband and oldest son's birthday are just three days apart. And before that... Well, Christmas.

I call this... Birthday Season.

It's hectic. And stressful for other reasons than my age. And filled with so many presents and parties and cake- so much freaking cake- that by the time I finally reach my birthday I sometimes completely forget about it.

In a week with these three birthdays, mine is the least important. My girls deserve celebrations, I pretty much just want a nap.

Or at least twenty minutes of alone time to brush my teeth and apply some makeup essentials.

But as it turns out, usually my husband reminds me or my kids or I start getting thoughtful Facebook notifications that remind me it's time to start panicking and freaking out and weeping.

I have an alarm on my phone set to go off saying, "Commence gnashing of teeth."

Because aging terrifies me.

But it has nothing to do with actually getting old. I'm proud of my age. I don't mind sharing it, and for some reason I get asked it a lot. I'm not disappointed in my body or my wrinkles or even my gray hairs. And believe me... there are plenty of them.

I'm not contemplating plastic surgery or dreading the wear and tear on my joints and bones.

It has nothing to do with actually aging.

Instead, my birthday is like this countdown clock of time remaining in my life. Which is silly, right?? I am perfectly happy to admit that this fear is both irrational and ridiculous.

But that doesn't make me less afraid.

I can also admit that the time left in my life is completely out of my control. Jesus could return tomorrow. I could die tonight. And yet, I hold on to the 60+ years I imagine I have left and worry that they won't be enough.

That I don't have enough time to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish.

That I've already wasted 32 precious years on empty pursuits and this better be the year that I get my shit together because I can't go another year without ticking off my list of goals and dreams.

And what's craziest of all??? I've already crossed off so many.

My life has been full. I have barely any regrets. I can look back at the vastness of my life and smile and laugh and remember.

But there's more.

I want more.

I want to do more.

I want to be more.

I can't help it.

In fact, the older I get, the bigger my list grows and the more desperate I feel to move mountains. Life is ticking down quickly and I can't seem to fit everything I need to do in my too-short days that fly by faster than I can grab hold of them.

I want big things from this life. I demand them.

If you've been reading my blog you know. I can't stop talking about it.

I am thirsty for this life. Greedy for it.

Lustful even.

I want God and Jesus and all the things that He's promised. I want my kids and my husband and a career and more than one career. I want my family. And my husband's family. And the branches of our family trees that stretch on and on. I want friends so close they become sisters. I want laughter and joy and peace and hope and prayer. I want to volunteer and give my time and make a difference somewhere to someone. I want to travel. I want to travel everywhere and go everywhere and see everywhere. And I never want to fly unless I'm flying over an ocean because I want to experience every single piece of this country. I want to read. I want to read hundreds of books. All the classics. And all the bestsellers. And all the words that make my heart thump loudly and my pulse race and my eyes strain to stay awake well into the early morning hours. I want to sing and play the piano until my throat hurts and my fingers fail me. I want to teach. I want to listen. I want to speak. I want to cook and bake and drink and do it all with people I love. People that love me.

I want it all!

And I have some of it.

Okay, I have a lot of it.

But I can't shut this need off. I can't dampen it or slow it down. I can't make it go away.

And so birthdays come and I look up from the busyness of my life and I panic. With so little time left how can I possibly accomplish it all??? How can I fit all of the things I dream about into my little life?!?!

How can I do these great big things when I am this disaster of a human being? When I can't even remember to pay all of my bills on time, let alone function in the real world with real people doing real things that make real impacts!

The truth is... I don't even have voicemail right now. My cellphone updated and it erased my voicemail and for some stupid insane infuriating silly reason I have to go TO the store to set it back up again.  

Well, folks. Let me just tell you that I don't have time for that. I really don't. I don't have time to drive out of my way to an inconvenient store to deal with lines and people and waiting and waiting and waiting. I really don't.

When my husband told me I had to go into the store, I felt this crushing sense of disappointment.

Because it will never happen. I'll never get around to it or make time for it. And now I'm just one of those people that doesn't have voicemail.

I am an adult. With children. Without voicemail.

I mean, seriously!!!

It should be a priority!

And yet, I'm this child trapped in an adult-sized body wondering how I got to here and when my parents are going to step back in to fix all of these grownup problems.

Because I certainly can't be held responsible for all of this... mess.

Only I can be.

And I am.

And so my natural response is to freak. the. hell. out.

Happy birthday becomes Happy-You're-A-Year-Older-And-Still-Failing-At-Life.

This might seem bat shit crazy from the person that just wrote a blog about Figs last week! But it's truth. And real. And I already told you I'm an emotional catastrophe, so just stay with me for a sec.

Because this is life.

This is life in all its guts and glory. I really believe it's the human condition to feel the pressure of living a better life.

We're called to great things, people. We're called to higher purposes and deeper matter.

Life isn't meant to be wasted. And while I wouldn't suggest my method of yearly panic either. I do hope you feel this drive... this push to do more. See more. Be more.

I hope you respond to it.

Truthfully, this year has been my calmest birthday. I'm facing today head on, without fear, without hysteria.

I think I've finally found this sweet spot where maturity has caught up with age. It's not daunting to want what I want out of life. It's exciting.

It's thrilling.

It brings hope and commitment to a life lived to the fullest.

It makes every day worth something... mean something.

The days of this life go fast. And the years manage to go even faster. But life deserves attention. And when I face each day with purpose and intention, then my goals aren't so impossible.

My dreams aren't quite so distant.

Besides, even if I never accomplish another thing on my check list, there are so many things to be thankful for.

My life is filled with blessings. Too many to count.

Because I choose it to be that way.

Sure there's heartache and pain and fear and uncertainty and all the other bad things this world can bring. But I'm too old to choose anything but joy.

I'm too set in my ways to feel anything but God's protection, provision and purpose.

I'm to wide-eyed to see anything but Him in every single thing.

I'm not already 32.

I'm finally 32.

I'm finally here. I finally made it to this place. To this exact spot in the journey of my life. To this precise moment that God planned uniquely for me before the beginning of time.

To this second of my life where I am meant to be.

I can feel the tension releasing... the panic slowly ebbing away.

Because being finally 32, is a whole lot better than being already 32.

It's going to be a great year.

Even if it goes by too fast.



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