“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.” – Pema Chodron
Two big things happened in the last week:
My birthday was on Saturday (I turned 38), and we spent six days at Disney World.
The turning 38 thing is neither here nor there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all I have and all I *am* at this point in my life, but 38 is sort of an age I feel neutral about. I like the *celebrating* of the birthday, I’m just not crazy about the getting older part.
I try and remind myself that at this very moment, at age 38, I am more self-aware, more confident, stronger, fitter and more comfortable in my own skin (and my own *life*) than I have ever been. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I am much closer than I was when I was 18 or 28 or even 34.
I’m super grateful that I’m one of those people that seem to have “come into their own” later in life and not during high school or something. I know that sounds kinda mean, but I’m glad the high point of my life has been the last few years and not when I was in high school or college or something, you know? I just wish I could send a message back in time to let my 16 year old self know that it was all worth it. I try and send her love. I believe that in some way it’s all linked up, and that maybe in those moments when I suddenly felt strong and brave in the midst of so much confusion it might have been some love coming from my own heart.
As far as Disney … It was an amazing trip. So many happy times, and great memories. It was a WONDERFUL way to celebrate my birthday. I have been wanting to go during my birthday week for several years, so this was a dream come true.
But every single time I go away, I get homesick. For my house, my pets, my bed, my shower, my pool, my garden, my *nest*.
And coming home from vacation, right as the clock turned midnight signifying the day of my actual birthday, was the best birthday gift of all. We left the park at 7pm on Friday, went back to our hotel room, packed, and then drove home. My parents checked out the next morning, but Tom and I prefer to leave the minute the “vacation” part is over.
On one of the first vacations Tom and I went on together, the house we rented was an absolute dive, and Tom suggested we leave the night before our vacation was over because we were both sick of staying there. I know that sounds pretty rational, but at the time it was a monumental moment for me. Leave before the morning of check-out?! The idea never even occurred to me.
All my life, there have been proper times for *everything*- meals, school, waking up, going to bed, starting and ending vacations. My mom is a huge planner, and there was very little flexibility with times when I was a kid. And I think I carried that rigid approach for many many years until I realized that as an adult, *I* got to make my own decisions about what time I wanted to do things. (Maybe that’s why I am becoming such an anti-planner.)
Anyway, to suddenly realize that I had the autonomy to decide when I wanted to leave and just *LEAVE* was huge. And arriving home that night was such a tremendous relief. So now Tom and I leave when we want, which is usually as soon as we leave the parks on the last day. We get the worst part over with quickly- the drive home.
Being an adult is a strange thing, isn’t it? For me, the older I get, the more I discover about myself and the world and my place in it. But I LOVE being a grown-up. I love making my own decisions. I love being responsible for myself and my family and my finances and my house.
I think that one of the reasons I love Disney so much, and why I wanted to spend my birthday there, is because I truly believe it’s possible to be a “grown up” and still believe in “magic”. There’s a place where responsibility and wonder can intersect. I think I’m starting to realize that a my priority in life is to find that place every single day, in some way or another.
This week I’m truly grateful that I’m still able to find joy and surprise in life. That fireworks enchant me, and roller coasters make me yell and feel alive, and Mickey Mouse’s laugh makes me smile, and that sharing my love of Disney with my six-year-old is a seriously magical thing.
And I’m grateful that coming back home with my little family at the end of a week at Disney makes me just as happy as leaving for vacation in the first place. *That*, right there, is the true magic in all this.