Last Thursday was my birthday! I turned 35. And I think now at 35 I am ok to admit something: birthdays are emotional for me. Not in a negative way, or at least not in a wholly negative way, but for some reason completing another trip around the sun magnifies my feelings on everything. It would be easy to assume it would be that way this year, but I remember feeling oddly emotional on my birthdays in high school, and even remember feeling the importance of turning 10 and realizing I’d never be in single digits again. Isn’t that kind of crazy? Emotions have always been my thing apparently! Most years I try to ignore it, but this year I gave myself permission to ride the inevitable roller coaster of the day, and it turned out to be a really beautiful day from start to finish.
I thought about writing a whole post on insights I have at 35 years old or takeaways from the day, but honestly, there is still a lot in my life I’m sorting through. So instead of a contrived list of things I know for sure at 35, I just wanted to share my day with you because it is one I think I’ll like to look back on.
The day began with a serious treat- a 7:00 AM run. Usually David has left for the day way before then, but he had a later start that morning, so I took full advantage. I went for a run with my watch, but didn’t look at it. I stopped and chatted with a friend that was drinking her morning coffee in her driveway with her four year old and it looked so tranquil that I made a mental note that I should start a day that way, too.
When I stepped back into my driveway, I hit the stop button on my watch and it happened to be at exactly 3.5 miles. 3.5 miles on my 35th. It made me smile and I took it as a sign that it was going to be a good day!
The girls were finishing up their eggs when I got back inside and they squealed, begging me to get to opening my presents. How could I say no to that? I made a protein shake and sat down to start opening cards from family and friends. The girls had done such a sweet job of making me gifts- paper necklaces and bracelets, colored pictures that said happy birthday, and Hailey, who is really into writing books right now, wrote me two mini books about how special I am as a mom. My heart was in a puddle; I will keep them forever and ever.
At 35 years old I have learned that if I want something, I need to ask for it, so I was thrilled to open a few gifts from David that were exactly what I wanted- a camera strap, a new box grater, a gorgeous pottery mug, and a can opener. Laugh if you must, but I am pumped about each of these! My sweet in-laws gifted me a pair of Oofos to use as house shoes (which are squishy, and weird, and wonderful). And a surprise present was a beautiful Le Creuset tea kettle from my mom and dad. It must be obvious that I love my morning tea, and I’ve been wanting a new tea pot forever, so this was just perfect.
After a leisurely breakfast, we had to get moving to make it to co-op on time. I had forgotten to make the girls lunches (well, I remembered, but we were basically out of food), so we left a few minutes early to swing by Publix and throw something together quickly. No mom guilt today!
I dropped the girls at co-op, then went to bask in four wonderful hours of alone time. As I walked up to the packed coffee shop, a lady was just getting up from a prime table outside and I was able to snag it- another gift from the birthday gods. I got myself an Earl Grey and worked on a couple blog posts. Mom and Dad both called and nothing makes me happier on my birthday than celebrating them a little bit, too. You parents get it; you never realize everything your parents really did for you until you go through it yourself. So while I happily soak up that birthday attention, I like to throw a few high fives to my mom and dad, too.
I packed up my stuff at noon and walked to Lululemon. I’ve been wanting a few new workout tanks for a long time now, so I put my birthday money from my Grandma Betty and my Nannie to good use! I skipped out of there 45 minutes later with three new tanks and a new pair of running shorts that were on sale! For lunch, I took myself to Whole Foods’ hot bar and ate outside, soaking up the sunshine.
I picked the girls up from co-op and they asked to stay and play for a bit. I took Kaitlyn to the bathroom and caught a glance of my side-tie shirt and realized it might not look as silly on my as I thought it did! Fashion confidence is still a goal of mine- maybe this is the year?!
The girls and I rocked out to Spotify (cars to sing in the car playlist) on the way home. I’d been driving around to it all day, and that roller coaster of emotions I told you my birthday brings? Well, songs just amplify it, but in a pretty cool way. There are certain songs that can transport me back into a specific moment in my life and I just let the music take me on a journey all day long- from dancing with my brother on my fireplace hearth in my childhood home, to cruising Barrett Parkway with my high school friends, to Music Midtown, to late night dancing at Bourbon Street in Athens, to the song that will always take me back to the moment David and I got back together again… I just let myself relive it all, whether it made me laugh or made me cry.
Back at home the girls and I devoured some birthday banana bread a friend had dropped off, and I took the next hour off of parenting, letting Hailey play with her new electronic diary and I stretched out on the couch with Kaitlyn making funny faces in Instagram face filters. The girls were tired from their day, and just to have complete transparency here- the ride to soccer was less than fun. I think they both whined and cried the entire way there and I messaged David with a picture to make sure he knew. A snarky wife move for sure, but it was my birthday so I could get away with it, right? 😉
Luckily a little fresh air seemed to raise everyone’s spirits! David arrived at the end of practice and handed me his keys, telling me to drive his car in peaceful silence and he’d wrangle the girls (SOLD!). As I got in the car, my mom sent a message to our family chat with a picture of my dad’s latest article. He writes weekly columns for three newspapers and I went immediately to tears when I realized his latest article was about me and one of my latest blog posts (What Happy People Do Differently). Talk about feeling loved on my birthday. <3
We decided to grab dinner out at a Mexican restaurant because 1) we could sit outside which is key with tired kids and 2) I wasn’t cooking or cleaning. It ended up being a great, low-key choice! I had a tequila on ice with lime and at least a full basket of chips to myself. We watched the sun set, ate our food, and I enjoyed a birthday serenade, complete with sombrero and extra shot of tequila! Then David took the girls home to get ready for bed while I sat for a few more minutes just enjoying the night. I arrived home in time to give bedtime kisses, grateful for such a wonderful day.
If I’m being honest here, this past year broke me down. But it has also built me back up. I’m stronger because of it. I am more clearly able to see the value in the small moments. I’ve become more secure in my decisions and how choose I spend my time. At 35, I feel like I’m fully into adulthood with some scars to prove it, but also with the confidence in who I am and the life I’m living. I feel less apologetic than ever, while at the same time, more empathetic than ever too. While there are still things I’m sorting through and each day can be filled with twists and turns, I love this life I live and who I get to live it with.
Thanks for letting me share my day with you. And I’m curious…
Do you have a song that can transport you back into a specific moment of your life? What is it?
Are birthdays emotional at all for you?
What age were you when you really felt like an adult?