Somehow the last nine years have passed and when I reflect on all that I have been allowed to do I quickly become overwhelmed with gratitude. I lived in Amsterdam, became a college graduate, a second grade teacher, backpacked in Central America alone, an aunt, gained a brother in law, started a career in private equity and a breast cancer survivor.
That last one though is the one that gets me.
I often tell people that what I gained as a result of having cancer came at at a big price but it is one of the sweetest things I have ever been given. I received the gift of seeing how precious life is. How much better it is to risk loving BIG than not loving at all. How just the simple touch of a hand can change how you view the world. I realized the gift of giving. Of showing up in others lives. I say YES more and say NO more than that. I learned how important is to take time for yourself. The precious gift of holding a baby and watching your parents become grandparents. I also learned just how deeply the father loves us, even in our brokenness.
I still find it hard to dream about living a long life. I am afraid to let myself go there because what happens if I don’t get too? I ask myself this often. Will I get to live long? When I look back at all the plans I have made over the years… I realize there are hundreds of plans that have never taken place and thousands of plans that have happened instead. I slowly begin to realize the joy is in the thousands you never planned. I believe in the depths of my heart that the plans for my life will far exceed what I could have ever dreamt for myself. One of my favorite sayings has always been…..
“This was her life. Not the life she once dreamed of,
not a life her younger self would ever have imagined or desired,
but the life she was living, with all its complexities.
This was her life, built with care and attention
and it was good.”
I must say it has been pretty good, bad ugly and everything in between.
I turn 30 next year and could not be more delighted. Birthdays as you may or may not know have recently become one of my very favorite things. I love being reminded that someone is here and honoring them on that day. And nothing more than being reminded that I get one more year. Some say lucky is a silly word, but I must be honest some days I have nothing else to say than to say that I feel incredibly lucky.
Tonight I get the honor of celebrating a dear friend of mine who turns 77 years old today. (she doesn’t look a day over it). Tonight we will have champagne, share stories and she will share her wisdom. But more than anything tonight I hope she knows how grateful I am for her, her friendship and all that she has shared about living a long life. The picture below we took at my Birthday party. I think we both agreed that we could raise our glasses and “cheers” to many many more years.
Cheers to you on this Friday. For more birthdays. More plans that don’t go our way. And even more days trusting that we weren’t meant to plan it ourselves either.