Yesterday, I went to Starbucks and got my free drink. It was a total treat. I went for venti soy chai instead of grande, because nothing says HAPPY BIRTHDAY like a massive Starbucks drink that costs me zero dollars.
The sweet guy at the drive-thru window said, “it’s your birthday tomorrow? I’m guessing you’ll be 20?” with a flirty little grin on his face.
“That’s cute,” I said, with an equally flirty grin on my face because WHY NOT. “35 actually,” I told him, “and I’m pretty excited about it.”
And I am. I really am.
To be clear, this is absolutely NOT the life I thought I’d have at 35. I thought I’d be a wife and a mom. I thought I’d be on my 12th year teaching school or staying home with my kids or working at a church. I thought I’d live in my hometown. I thought I’d be an expert at cooking dinner every night and a professional at laundry. I thought there would be planned vacations with his family and “what school should the kiddos attend?” conversations.
And I still want all of that.
But the life I have at 35? The one that looks nothing like the life I thought I’d have?
I WANT IT. I LOVE IT.
I can’t believe I feel that way, honestly. But I do. Here’s why.
- I have a great family.
- I have friends that I’ve known for over 20 years that still enjoy my company.
- I have friends from Nashville, TN that feel like family.
- I have friends in Edinburgh, Scotland that feel like family.
- I have friends in Marietta, GA that feel like family.
- I have some handsome single men floating around my life and one of them may decide to marry me someday. Or date me. Or buy me a venti soy chai. Whatever.
- There are lots of handsome single men on this planet that I do not know. That’s good to remember, you know, when you feel like you know everyone.
- I have a job that challenges me and makes me feel alive and allows me to make friends in cities across America.
- I get to work with a team of amazing people who believe in the ministry God has called me to do.
- I have sweet online friends (LIKE YOU!) who have been on this journey with me for years and years.
- I love where I live. I totally love this town. Nashville has been a gift to me from the day I moved here, almost SEVEN years ago.
- And I love this little house where I live that we call Broke Lamp Manor.
- I am healthier mentally that I’ve ever been before thanks to lots of prayer and two years of counseling.
- My body and my heart and my mind are on the same team and it makes me love my body more than I ever have. I’m getting healthier every day and I’m so so happy about it.
- I have PCOS and 35 is the year when doctors start using the term “high risk pregnancy,” but I have a God that doesn’t get stressed about stats. His timing is the right timing. He knows.
- I love my church in Nashville and I love my home church in Marietta.
- In the last six months, God has been more real and present and vocal in my life than ever before and I could just weep with gratefulness.
- I did a bellyflop in front of hundreds of people last week because at 35, I really love being Annie. Which, as most of you know, hasn’t always been the case. So this loving who I am thing is really rad.
So here’s what 35 means to me.
It means all day today, I will celebrate the life I have. Not the one I’m missing out on or the one I’m waiting for, but the one I have. It means I wouldn’t trade what I do have for what I wished for. And I will celebrate how God made me. Not who I wish I was or the things I would change, but who I am. Today.
I want my life. It isn’t perfect by any means- there is hard and pain and disappointment and etc. But I’m excited to have MY life, the ups and the downs. I’m grateful for how God created me different from any other person and gave me a life that is so much weirder and better than I could have known to dream up.
I have hopes and plans and unanswered prayers that we may see come to life this year… but until then?
Thank you, each of you, for being a part of what makes my life so joyful. I am so grateful.
And thanks to God, who has always been abundantly loving and extremely kind to me.
Here’s to 35- the best year yet. <3
Psalm 118:24 (MSG)
This is the very day God acted—
let’s celebrate and be festive!