Friday was my 39th birthday. Many have wished me a happy “first 39th birthday,” as it seems to be the one many want to hold on to.
I admit, I do get a bit caught up in the numbers. I usually start calling myself the next number at least 6 months in advance, to get used to the sound of it. I started doing this when I turned 29. The thought of being 30 was incredibly disturbing.
You always hear that you start to fall apart after 40, but honestly, it was 35 that did me in. Maybe it was the third child, but whatever the reason, after I turned 35, my health started to deteriorate and the scale became very stubborn. I can only imagine what will happen once the big FOUR-OH has come and gone.
I admit, the thought of turning 40 is daunting. I am holding onto 39 for as long as I can. But today I received a card that put everything into perspective.
I have a dear friend. She and I met and hit it off during our college freshmen orientation, and it turned out that our dorm rooms were on the same hall. We were close all through college.
A year after we graduated, she was my matron of honor.
A year after that, I received a dreadful phone call. She had been diagnosed with cancer — Hodgkins Disease.
I was horrified. I remember the day that I went with her to look for a wig. We both ended up on the floor, howling with laughter, ’cause that’s how we roll. But there was nothing funny about the cancer. After many months of treatments, it seemed as though she was cured. At the five year mark, she got a clean bill of health. We rejoiced!
When I got home today from the beach, I found a birthday card from this dear friend in my mailbox. In it, she reminded me that her 15th anniversary of being cancer free is coming up. She encouraged me to look at every birthday as a blessing even though the number may seem daunting. After all, each year we are given to spend with our loved ones is the greatest gift of all.
This year I spent my birthday with my family at a beachside resort. Of course there was the typical bickering and nonsense, but we were together and healthy and happy. It simply doesn’t get any better than that.
So I joyfully celebrate my 39th birthday, and I look forward to turning 40 next year. I will embrace the number and rejoice in one more year with my husband and my parents and my friends and most of all, my children.
Here’s to many, many more!