Growing up I always made sure to write in my journal the night before my birthday. It was like my own personal new year and I wanted to capture everything about myself at that moment, before one year turned into the next and I changed, however imperceptibly.
Now, I don’t necessarily write a letter to myself but I like to freeze the day for the same reason I carry a camera in my purse 24/7; I don’t want to miss a thing.
What did I look like when I turned 19…21…27… how did 25 year old me want to celebrate her birthday? (sunset dinner at the top of the CN Tower and diamonds).
You always think you’ll remember these significant (at the time) rites of passage but, like anything, the memories fade with time.
Do you hear that 5-year-old Christina, writing in your pink room, on the wide lines of your red ramona quimby journal? At the time you couldn’t imagine how you’d forget what it’s like to be a kid, or the exciting things that happened every day, but you wrote in that journal anyway, posterity – eh!
It’s funny what you think you’ve forgotten and then out of nowhere it hits you…
Swinging so high you ‘bumped’ at the top.
Landing your first waltz jump or double flip-double loop.
The fresh smell of summer nights as your mom gardens and you help by pulling weeds that are really carrots.
How your grandma uses a plate to flip the calamari.
The giddy excitement of your first trip to the movies without a parent.
Shock from crashing you bike.
Driving a car for the first time and “stopping” by slamming on the brakes.
What it felt like to graduate high school, then university.
The pride of your first real paycheck.
How euphoric it was to finish your first triathlon.
A lot has happened in the past year but one Sunday night in November was definitely etched into memory list. I hope one day I pay forward, with the same generosity, sincerity and emotion, how that night raised me up when I needed it most.
For some reason I’ve always looked forward to 29, and maybe it’s just a state of mind helped along by that night in November, but the fabulosity of 29 arrived a few weeks early.
I feel like I’ve come into my own more than ever. This is going to me the year of me; using and getting to know my own voice better.
I also hope I’ve learned enough to be appreciative and compassionate because, if nothing else, the last 28 years have gifted me perspective. In the next 28 I hope I continue to stop and appreciate the little moments. The unexpected moment you laugh so hard you can’t breathe, the simple moment that leaves a mark, the hard moments that make you stronger. Those things are what life is about.
Forrest got it wrong, life is like a bowl of cherries – it’s sweet but there’s always a pit. Pits are annoying and scary but don’t ever miss the sweet for the pits; grab life by the handful. (what can I say…old age is making me corny)
On the eve of your 29th birthday, I (28 year old you) leave you with this:
“Life is an obstacle course. You succeed at one thing and then you move on to the next. When an obstacle is tough, you try harder. When an obstacle is insurmountable, you change course. But you never sit down and refuse to finish.” – Bethenny Frankel
And yes, nearly 28-year-old you just quoted a reality TV show star (yes, you watch reality TV, no shame) but it fits you, no? Don’t ever change.