Y’all, today is my BIRTHDAY. I’m turning 39. Not an age for the faint of heart, I’ve been told. The last of my third decade, this is the year many people dread, treating it like a death sentence or a giant last hurrah. Culture today treats getting older like a slow death march that we can’t avoid but aren’t too happy about. But I really don’t see it like that. To me, being young is the hard part. Sure, your body works maybe a little bit better and your years of looking your best are arguably slipping away with each passing minute, but at least when you age, you mature. At least when you get older, you (hopefully) get your act together and begin to inhabit the wisdom that only comes from the bumps and bruises of youth. At least when you get older, you (once again, hopefully) learn that the world is about so much more than just YOU and finally throw yourself ALL IN to the notion that your legacy is not what you did, not what you earned, but the love that you gave. This, my friends, this is 39.
39 is finally being comfortable in my own skin. Yes, my actual skin. It means a lot less acne but maybe just a few more wrinkles. But it also means being realistic enough to have a strategic battle plan for both.
39 is finally knowing how to open up to love. It’s knowing that being vulnerable is the only way to be intimate, even if that means learning that you have to change and grow. It means looking at the man I married with awe, loving him more today than I did 11 years ago when we said I DO.
39 is being humble and broken enough to admit when I’m wrong and knowing when to ask for forgiveness. Realizing that saying I’m sorry is giving myself the gift of freedom. But it’s also being confident enough to stand up for whats right and fair and true, regardless of who I am facing.
39 is opening my mouth and hearing my mother come tumbling out and then looking in the mirror to see my father staring back at me. And being proud of both.
39 is having scars, both big and little. But it’s letting those scars see the light of day. Wearing them proudly. Because without them I wouldn’t be who I am. It’s those scars and the brokenness that came with them that brought me to the place of grace that I strive to walk in today.
39 is knowing what I’m good at (cooking), what I’m bad at (confrontation) and what I’m terrible at (dancing). And living accordingly.
39 is forgetting sometimes that I’m not a super cool 18 year old anymore. And also that I can’t rap. Like, at all.
39 is having lived enough to have some crazy, funny, wild stories to tell, but being content now to let my “crazy” be a glass of wine, a good book and a date with my husband and the couch.
39 is not being able to name one single “star” from “Dancing with the Stars” but knowing almost all of the lines from “Sixteen Candles” by heart.
39 is always being just a tiny bit exhausted.
39 is having enough confidence to share these pictures with the world:
39 is listening to Dave Matthews Band in the car and laughing at the eye rolls and sighs coming from the backseat.
39 is knowing that a $4 jar or Ponds does the same thing as a $200 jar of La Mer. And that Vaseline is the best eye cream on earth. But also believing that when it comes to your hair, you get what you pay for.
39 is knowing all of the lyrics to “Ice, Ice Baby.”
39 is staring at my kids with so much wonder and so much love that my heart wants to burst out of my chest in one minute. And wanting to hide in the closet eating candy bars to get away from them in the next.
39 is thinking that the 90s were a decade ago.
39 is knowing that there isn’t much that a good meal, good laughter, and good friends can’t make better, even if just for a few minutes.
39 is knowing that one glass of wine is good, two is great, but three is a disaster.
39 is being bold enough to wear red lips and sweat pants and feel beautiful in either. Because 39 means knowing that beautiful is what we are when we know love and grace and mercy. Real beauty is the opposite of what the world tells us. Real beauty is humble and kind. Real beauty is the grace of God changing our hearts and minds and that, my friends, shows from the inside out.
39 is learning to laugh at yourself and not take life so seriously. It’s knowing that you always say yes to a water balloon battle, a nerf war or a sticky string fight.
39 is knowing that I’m not what I once was, but also knowing that I’m closer to becoming what I was always meant to be.
39 is believing that the best is yet to come. That life is meant to be lived in love and grace and light. It is knowing that there is so much more out there than just my little circle and that I am being called to do more, be more and spread more love than I ever imagined possible. 39 is believing with my whole heart that Jesus died for my sins and that there is nothing on earth I can do to earn or lose His love. And 39 means spending every minute and second of my remaining days telling people about that love, without shame or fear. Because that, my friends, is what I want for my next 39 years.