I think the good thing about having a birthday in the middle of January is the timing. The first week of the month, everyone is running around busy making resolutions and unintentionally motivating me not to make resolutions because I see them eating a box of donuts only thirty minutes after declaring a New Years sugar cleanse. I resolve to resolve to do nothing, ticking off that New Years box feeling like I got away with cheated the system.
But then, by the time my birthday rolls around, I realize that my pesky subconscious has been plotting against me all along and that I actually want to do good things for myself. And just to clarify, while drinking coffee is indeed a beautiful – nay, scrumptrulescent – thing and it makes me a better human on a daily basis, I can’t convince my tricky subconscious that drinking more of it gets to be counted as a real resolution and goal. The ol’ heart and soul of Emily tells me to desecrate my comfort zone and make myself a better human in real ways that I can’t purchase at the store on discount. That’s the thing about growing up: one day you wake up and you realize that the person who holds you most accountable is none other than yourself.
It’s scary, but it’s freeing.
So I find myself turning 32 today and I feel a lot like I did when I turned 29. That year, we were living in Korea but knew we would be leaving only two short months later. We knew we were going to have to launch into a job search the moment we returned to the United States, and we didn’t know where we’d see the year out. We knew we wanted to try for a baby that year. I knew I wanted those things for myself and B, but for all the careful planning and hard work we put into creating the life we wanted for ourselves that year, we never knew whether they’d come to us.
And that’s life, really. For all that you plan and prepare for, you never know what you’re going to end up with.
And yes, I am well-aware that I basically just paraphrased Forrest Gump. Pearls of wisdom on The Waiting here today.
I never knew for certain what would happen to us that year, but I knew I had no alternative but to approach any situation we found ourselves in with bravery mixed with faith in the unseen. Those were the only things I could take with me. For my birthday resolution that year, Bravery made a pact with my body, my core, quite without me asking it to. As we find ourselves in a similar situation this year, not knowing where we will see the year out, I am calling on that reserve of faith and fierce determination to be the best possible me this year – my 32nd year – again.
Just be brave. Just be better.
I was talking to my mom tonight (or last night, really, since I schedule these posts) and she was telling me about when she labored with me the night I was born. It made me remember when C was born. The night she came, she burst forth cold and crying into a world that was made for her but completely foreign to her at the same time. (I love me some dualities.) She cried and was uncomfortable, but she breathed the air and it made her vital. She followed her instincts to start nursing, and just by doing exactly what she knew she needed to do to survive, she made her way into the world. By my mom’s account, I behaved the exact same way the night I was born.
There’s a lot one-minute-old Emily has in common with 32-year-old Emily. The cold and the unknown will bring out the best in us. That’s where courage and faith thrive.