I am turning 35 on Monday. As I sit here and reflect on this odd-numbered yet somehow round marker of my life, I mentally flip through my memories. I have a slight recollection of what it felt like to be that Southern Cali beach blonde baby building sandcastles with a white stripe of zinc over my badly burned nose. I smile when I remember the Slip n' Slide we would hurl ourselves down for hours in the backyard, the summer days of childhood lasting forever. I think of all the church choirs I sung in and school plays I performed in, marking my passage through time. Ballet recitals and flute rehearsals. I feel with strange accuracy the juxtaposition of the two households I was raised in. One was fun and messy and spontaneous. The other safe, ordered and dependable. I think of the girl entering junior high, so incredibly scared and self-conscious, grasping no semblance of an identity of my own. I ponder the pain that must have hit my heart early, for I don't remember it ever not being broken. And my mind wonders of the cold hard world we are all eventually shoved into, and wonder when I was first shoved into mine?
I think of the ballsy teenager that knew it all, rolling my eyes at my parents as I lied to get my way. I recall the high-school senior leaving the safe security of childhood, having to figure out what on earth to do with myself. I fondly remember my dad driving me off to college and setting me up in my first apartment. He put together so much IKEA furniture he still curses that trip to this day! I laugh when I think about the young woman of 20, the college party in full swing. Meeting a man that stuck around long enough to allow my heart to thaw into loving him. It only took him 2 years. What on earth did he see? I think of the blushing bride I was on my wedding day, and how I have grown into a respectable wife. Of course I have to recall my domino trail of health problems, but you have heard all those before.
But what presses on me the strongest are two pivotal conversations, when God yelled loud and long to get my attention, and had to fight me pretty hard. I think of the pancreatitis hospitalization in 2007 and how I became aware beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt I would not live past my 35th birthday if I continued to be the stressed-out super-sick super-freak I had become, shock-waving in pain and popping Percocet to get out of bed in the morning. I knew something had to change. For I wanted life! And then the zaps to my brain last year. And again my life was in question. And again I knew. Stop. Get a grip. And finally, for your last warning, CHANGE THE WAY YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE! And I did. And here I sit 100x healthier than I was last year at this time, with my umpteenth and final major health crisis behind me. So yeah, I sit and reflect, and think of the girl to adolescent to woman that I have become. And I thank God my growth is not done. So here I am, I am 35! And I think I just now hear the starting gun!
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*In observance of this momentous holiday of all holidays, the next new blog will publish Tuesday, August 2nd.