Last week I overcame a big life hurdle. It was one I had not been looking forward to for quite some time. This was because last week I “celebrated” my 29th birthday.
Once upon a time I looked forward to my birthday wholeheartedly. Not only did I look forward to the day, I completely embraced it. I’d remind everyone I knew for weeks in advance. I planned things. I selfishly welcomed a day dedicated to me living yet another year. However, when I lost my husband that all changed. My outlook on life took on a completely different role. Years of life suddenly became more fragile, more valuable. A day of birth no longer was about the people I loved honoring me, but about me honoring yet another year I had the opportunity to spend with the people I love. How tragic that it took a death for me to realize something so special.
While I am grateful for my new found outlooks on life, turning 29 was still a difficult concept for me to grasp. No, it was not for reasons of the average 29 year old. I was/am not worried or anxious about the last year of my twenties; or that I am now counting down days until I reach thirty. I am actually looking forward to putting my twenties behind me and starting a new decade of life. My difficulty lies with the fact that my sweet husband never had the chance to see the age of 29 for himself. Technically speaking I’ve been older than Brady since ten days after my 28th birthday, but there’s something about seeing the age change visually that makes it a harder pill to swallow.
In my typical fashion when hard times approach my goal is to run away or do something big. Usually it ends up being a combination of both. Celebrating my 29th year of life was no different. I made the semi sporadic decision to run away with my best friend to Tampa, Florida where he’ll soon be moving. While there I was able to begin working on a list to help push me through this next year; 30 things to do before turning 30 years old. Some of the items on the list are big, some are small, but they each have their place. They are there to help me create beautiful moments for myself. Moments that will hopefully replace the continual heartache of not having my husband by my side with peace and happiness.
I often wonder how different my life would be if he were still by my side. I wonder about the types of things I would have experienced with him. I think about the things I have experienced without him. The choices I would make if he were here versus the choices I make because he’s not. I could contemplate forever. It wouldn’t matter though. My life’s path was changed. I was given an unexpected and unwelcomed new chapter.
We all are given those at some point or another. They take different forms for each of us. They challenge our minds, our bodies, and our souls. They wear us down, they wear us down again, and then they wear us down some more. But somehow we survive. The sun rises and we wake up. We experience things. We have human interactions. We live.
It’s a strange, complex cycle to live these lives. That’s why it’s so important seek out the beautiful moments. Search for them. Create them. Love them. Being able to embrace the beautiful moments makes you that much stronger when it’s your turn to endure the ugly ones.