I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.
And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin.
I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies.
John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.
The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.
But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience."
Monday Love: Post-Birthday Ruminations
I’m not a big “birthday person.” I don’t think I was always like this… in fact, when I was younger, I used to think that Halloween was all for me— the costumes, the candy, the abundance of friends that showed up at my house and the kindness of strangers giving me hundreds of tiny wrapped presents in the form of sugar and bars. Those were the days. Mom always made a red velvet cake and homemade costumes and we always carved pumpkins (which I also thought was all for me) and had scavenger hunts and played the greatest games until we were so tired we couldn’t move from exhaustion and sugar overload…
I think my lack of enthusiasm for birthdays arrived after my disastrous 13th birthday party (but what WASN’T disastrous about being 13, amiright?! The bangs, the braces, the American Eagle graphic tees…) It was a slumber party nightmare of hormones, too much sugar and too little sleep. I never had another birthday party again until college and even then I wouldn’t let my friends plan anything crazy.
Last year I was too busy worrying about turning 25 to really enjoy it (though it was pretty epic and involved buying knives, eating Mama’s Boy, hitting the outlets, buying lotto tickets, skipping through the leaves, high school football and a surprise visit from LEL all the way from Nashville…) but this weekend was different.
I had breakfast foods a total of 4 times in 3 days and more pumpkin pancakes than an IHOP on Thanksgiving. I received a beautiful book in the mail from my parents, donuts spelling out “Happy Birthday” and a trip to ATL to reunite with the besties from college. I shared meals with my Athens Fam, with the Ladies’ Supper Club, with church friends and with my lovely youth group kids (and tonight, more partying with a Mexican Fiesta!)! We had a scavenger hunt, I wore sparkly shoes and the weather finally got cold! What more could I ask for?! I have felt supremely loved and cared for on a day that has, in the past, not meant a whole lot to me. I think I’ll have to change my view on birthdays back to the days of yore. Oh. And the Dawgs won. Teehee.
It’s a bit strange to get so much love on your birthday— after all, it’s something I didn’t really have anything to do with (thanks Mom and Dad!) and sometimes it makes me feel strange to have so much attention.
But I’ve learned to just smile, say thanks, and enjoy the ride (and the pancakes.) Thank you to everyone who made me feel so special on this random October day where 26 years ago I came screaming and crying into this world. I’m just hopeful that this year will hold less screaming and crying and more laughter and awesomeness.
Here’s to 26!