Last week marked my passage across the threshold of being 39. I had a wonderful day that was celebrated by my children (Henry made me a "wind-powered boat" out of a shoebox, a pinwheel, and duct tape, as well as four cards, so Tate started finding toys all around the house and giving them to me as gifts as you can see above), my colleagues, the children I tutor, my birthday buddy (we do a little exchange at school every year), and my partner Matt (he had warm cookies and cold milk delivered to me at work and wrote a poem for me).
The tenor of my birthdays is very different now that my life is so full. I used to pour my energy for creation and planning into my birthday parties, whether they involved random acts of kindness scavenger hunts or retro proms or trips to a YMCA camp for the weekend with a big group of friends. My desire to create and plan is reduced because I've just got so much going on in my life, and what's left of it goes into Henry's birthday, which is in the same month as mine.
I'm working on bringing more balance into my life by trying to stop working by 8:00pm every night. We'll see if I have renewed energy and creativity to plan my birthday next year! Plus, it's #40, so maybe I'll want to do something bigger.
Regardless, birthdays are always a good time to step back and reflect and make sure we are living our lives to the fullest. I'm watching a pretty dumb show right now ("No Tomorrow" on Netflix) about a man who believes a meteor is barreling toward the Earth. He's using his eight months to really live his life to the fullest (he has an "apocalist" of all the things he wants to do before he dies).
It's funny to me that I am such a list person and yet the idea of a "bucket list" has never really taken off in my life. I'm not sure why that is. I wonder if it's because my list has been more around these lines:
- Marry an amazing life partner
- Give birth to children
- Build a family life that is full of connection, quality time, adventure, joy, and love
- Live in a beautiful space that makes my soul soar on a daily basis
- Find a job that I love that helps bring about a world where there is "liberty and justice for all"
That's been my bucket list, or my Life List. And I've managed to bring these things into my life. (I'm frantically trying to knock on wood all over the house because I know that the things that matter to me most--my partner and my children--are tenuous. Their existence is not a given. Anything could happen at any moment and turn my life upside-down.)
If I died now (again--knocking on wood all over the place!), I would die in a contended place, knowing that I was able to do all the things I really wanted to do.
So maybe it is time to make more of an adventure-based list? I'll have to ruminate on that one for a while.
For now, I'm going to focus on the gratitude I have for the life that is right in front of me.