Walking through the rooms takes me on a journey through my life. Boxes filled with baby pictures are stacked in a cabinet. My dance pictures and awkward school photos are framed in scattered places. There is a proud picture of me standing next to my first car. My wedding picture of a person I barely recognize these days is displayed with the most beautiful frame to capture that moment. Photos showing how we have changed throughout the years as our family has grown, take up much of the walls. My kids grins and those of my nephew and niece are slowly replacing so many other pictures.
This is my parents home. We came to visit for a weekend since we live many states away now.
How fitting is it that I am turning 41 and all of these different memories are going through my mind like a movie?
Driving through my hometown, I visited one of my childhood best friends. Her daughter goes to the elementary school all of us neighborhood kids went to. I saw one of my former teacher’s names on her schedule and I got excited thinking about how awesome that year was. I would go back in time in a heartbeat to watch that play out again. How many of us would love to do something like that?
As I walked back to my car, the outside was completely silent. Gone were the kids who played here so many years ago when I was little but I can still picture all of us riding our bikes and playing baseball.
Passing by the high school, my feelings were completely different. You couldn’t pay me enough money to relive those years. Although, I have to admit that moment the cute drummer finally asked for my phone number may be worth it just a bit. How many of us feel that way about a certain place or time? How many of us would change things that happened?
Looking at the place where I got my first job and would spend years there meeting new people and learning new roles took me back to a time where I learned self confidence. Those years truly made all the difference as I moved from teenager to young adult. They have made a huge impact on who I am now. How many of us have grown from experiences like this?
Each year that I blow out my candles on the cake, I have had visions of different goals and dreams. Each time, I thought I knew exactly where I was going.
We all know what happens when we have plans.
Life has shifted every year. Some wishes are made repeatedly…becoming prayers and pleas into one. There have been some years where I have squeezed my eyes really tight and just wished for the happiness to continue. Birthdays have always been very emotional for me. It’s almost like taking inventory for my life.
Am I where I want to be? Has this been a good year? What will the next one bring? Can I handle whatever comes my way next?
As I continue to walk and look at the years past, I realize how far I have come no matter what has ultimately happened. There has been love, friendships, laughter, mistakes, and even heartbreak. The years of staying strong can take its toll but it has also made me who I am. There is a lot to be proud of and still so much more to gain from new adventures.
This year when I blow out my 41 candles, I will focus on that extra one that is always on my cake every year.
One to grow on.
This is the candle that traditionally stands for having good luck in the upcoming year. I like to think of it as the one that no matter what happens with your wish, you learn and grow with what the year brings you.
This way, we can look back on pictures and memories knowing that we became so much more than we ever wished for.
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