“Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.”
I’m not gonna lie: even with the lessons learned last year on my birthday, I still wasn’t especially looking forward to this one. Thirty. There’s no denying that it’s a milestone, a birthday that somehow feels bigger than the others. And that should be good. It should be a celebration, not a critique – but, as with most things, that’s easier said than done. Entering a new decade always feels like a marker of sorts. How can it not? And so I let myself reflect: on the things I’ve accomplished, on the things I’ve yet to achieve, on the path I’ve travelled thus far and how different it is from the one I once imagined I’d take. Are there things I’d change if given the chance? Of course. But my friend Karly said something last week that has stuck with me and really helped my mindset to do an about-face: that none of us are ever “where we thought we’d be” at any given point. How true is that? Nobody’s plans pan out exactly as they hoped. That’s simply not how life works.
So, instead of focusing on the things I’m not happy with, I made a conscious decision to do the opposite. No, I’m not a published author yet, but I’ve written five books and savored the experience each time. I don’t have an agent yet, but the feedback I’ve gotten from people who have read the novels, especially SOT, has touched my heart and made it soar. I’m not working in journalism, where I used to picture myself, but that’s because I’ve found a greater love, a deeper passion. I’m not married yet, I don’t have kids yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. There have been a few eye-opening experiences lately when it comes to different people in my life, and though they were difficult to process at the time, I see now that I’m better off for it. Tough times occur so we can appreciate the lovely ones. People disappoint and hurt us so we can appreciate those who are always there, always supportive. Dreams take a long time to come true so we can appreciate the journey, as well as the destination.
That’s where my thoughts are now. Instead of seeing thirty as a roadblock, I’m choosing to see it as an open road with limitless possibilities. I had a marvelous weekend celebrating – dinner with friends on Friday, family on Saturday, and a trip to the shore Monday through Wednesday. I spent my actual birthday in Atlantic City, where Charlotte and Nolan’s half of SOT is set, and oh my gosh, it was so fun – and so special! – to visit all the places they call home. Steel Pier, Fralinger’s, the Atlantic City Beach Patrol headquarters … it was, truly, like living in their world, and it just made me very happy, very thankful, very hopeful. I even found a picture-perfect miniature conch shell right by the lifeguard stand in Atlantic City. It’s going in the ‘message in a bottle’ on my desk so it’ll officially hold a piece of AC inside. So … I don’t know what thirty has in store, but of this I am sure: I’m looking forward to it and am blessed to have some wonderful people along for the ride.
Here’s hoping for many wishes-come-true for all of us.