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The Greatest Gift

Originally published on January 23, 2020

Happy Thursday,

Last year my best friend had a milestone birthday—you know, a birthday that ends in a zero.  That got me thinking…

When I was four, my mom turned thirty.  She would tell you that she remembers me telling her on that day that she was old.

At twelve, while getting my haircut, the hairdresser found a gray hair.  I figured that I’d have a full head of gray hair by the time I was 25.  I’m happy to say that didn’t happen.

On my eighteenth birthday, I graduated from high school.  Whenever people found out that I was going to graduate on my birthday they would remark about what a great gift I was getting.  I was salutatorian of my class and had to give a speech.  I felt so strongly that graduating was not a gift, but an earned accomplishment, that I made that the theme of my speech.

When I was weeks away from my twenty-eighth birthday, I had my oldest child.  He was due in mid-May, right around the time my coursework for my doctorate was ending.  My husband asked, “Would it be that bad to have a baby before the semester is over,” to which I emphatically said, “YES!” and prayed for my son to be late (which he was).

Just before finding out I was pregnant with my youngest child, my husband remarked that he was tired of maintaining our house that was built in the 1950s and wanted to buy a house that was built no earlier than the 80s (because when you’re born in the 1970s, the 1980s sounded young).  We then realized that while thirty for a human was young, thirty for a house was not and so we ended up building a house instead.

A week after I turned thirty-eight, I started running for the first time in my life.  What you need to know is that as I kid I was literally the one who faked an asthma attack in high school rather than run one mile for the President’s Physical Fitness test.  Using the app, Run Double, I was able to run for longer intervals until I not only got up to a 5K, but a 10K.

I’m sharing these events in my life because I love getting older.  I don’t like physical aging (like gray hairs, wrinkles, and pains—about two years ago I did something to my sciatic nerve while bowling…it was like I was in a sitcom), but aside from that, getting older is the best!  There is so much that only happens as you age.  When I was in my twenties, for example, I still had to finish undergrad and grad school, I didn’t know who I would marry, how many kids I would have, where I would live, what I would do for a living, etc.  The older I get, the more I feel like there is less I have to do and more I get  to do.  Besides that, whatever birthday I’m celebrating this year will be the smallest number I will get to celebrate from that point forward.  In other words, in June when I turn forty-two, I will wish I was only turning forty-one like I did last year.  Most importantly, I know that there are many people who never get to make it to half my age, let alone whatever age I am now. 

So, as we start off 2020 year and look forward to what’s ahead, I encourage you to think about the fact that the greatest gift you have is the gift of time.  I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine!


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