If you asked me a year ago (my 26th birthday) where I’d be on my 27th birthday, my answer would probably not be where I actually ended up. Last year I was living in my grandfather’s house, so while I was technically living alone, I was not on my own. I look back on the last year..well really on the last 6 months, and can’t believe what a whirlwind it has been. Out of nowhere my best friend put a ring on my finger and whisked me away from Illinois to actually be on my own (well, on our own, as I’m only out here because of him), I found a voice teaching job and am now less than two months away from marrying the love of my life. At this time last year did I think I’d end up here by now? Not at all.
Erik and I were regularly talking about rings and someday getting engaged, but he had this “rule” about how we needed to live in the same state before we got engaged, just to make sure we worked as well no-distance as we did long distance. As irritated as I was by this (as I didn’t see any way I was getting to where he was anytime in the future), I understood, and after much emotional fighting with myself, I decided to let go and let God choose the timing of things. Man, do things get easier when you decide to do that. Somehow, that rule got changed, my surprise proposal happened and the tornado happened, and now I’m definitely over the rainbow (yeah, I went there. People who know me understand my Oz obsession).
I’m regularly blown away by how I got here: the dramatic and romantic way it happened, how it feels like we’ve always been together like this, and how baffled I am every time Erik and I tell our story to new people when we’re at socials and parties. The way people regularly respond (shock, amazement, etc) reminds me of how awesomely blessed I am for having this relationship work the way it has. Thank God for all of his blessings.
This is my first birthday away from my family (unless you count college, which was an hour away, so it doesn’t count in my mind), and it’s kind of weird knowing I’m not doing anything. Not that we have done anything that spectacular the past few years (two years ago, right before we started dating, Erik was actually in town to see me and took me out for my birthday), but I’m still getting used to the whole not being around for normal life things that I’ve been around for the last 26 years. Christmas will be even weirder. I’ve done the exact same thing every single year, and this year I’ll be in Florida with Erik’s family. I’ll be able to wear a sundress if I want to.. that’s mind blowing.
I haven’t made a big deal about my birthday for awhile now. I don’t really think it’s necessary. I love getting a few nice presents and having an occasion to get the family to get together and go out, but I don’t need anything spectacular. Even for my 21st birthday my friends and I went out to a bar, those of us that could drink had a drink, and I went back to the dorm to do homework.
Every year I do think about how big of a deal birthdays used to be, with themed parties and cakes and a wish list full of toys that get played with for a month or so before becoming another forgotten thing in the playroom. I vaguely remember these huge birthday parties. I remember various Disney princess themed cakes (Belle and Ariel) and a Power Rangers birthday party (yeah, I was that girl), a spa sleepover party when I was 13, and after that I don’t recall what exactly was done for my birthdays. One year in high school I had two friends spend the night and we watched movies. I can’t even recall if I did anything for my 18th birthday. Is that sad?
Instead, I use my birthday as an excuse to treat myself a little. I’m expecting my Erin Condren Life Planner by the end of the week, and that was my big gift this year (thanks to my aunt), because I wanted it. A planner! Man that makes me feel old. Tonight’s big exciting birthday plans: curl up on the couch with my wonderful fiancé and make him sit through “The Proposal” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Renolds. One of my all time favorite feel good chick flicks. Maybe we will even go out to dinner so I don’t have to cook..and you know what? That is enough.
The Lord has blessed me in SO many ways throughout my life, that merely getting to another birthday some days feels like a miracle in and of itself. The fact that I am here, less than two months away from marrying my best friend, living life the way it has turned out is the icing on top of a pretty epic birthday cake. I’ve always felt so far behind on things, and now I feel like I’m finally catching up.
I can’t wait to see what blessings the next year will bring. Whatever they happen to be, I know they will be amazing with Erik by my side and our new life together ahead. God is good.
To those of you who have taken the time to read this and/or to wish me a happy birthday, thank you. It is because of the friends and family I have that I am the woman I am today.
Be happy, my friends.