28 years

bdayflowers

I was born at 6:45 am, 28 years ago today. The day before my birth, my mom was working alone in the printing shop that both my parents worked at, moving heavy boxes and probably exerting herself more than most would at 9 months pregnant. My parents weren’t expecting me for another 2 or 3 weeks. I like to think that my early arrival was my way of saying to my mom, “slow down!”–words I’ve said to her many times since.

This morning I woke early, not quite so early as 6:45 am, to Marcus sticking his head into our bedroom, asking me, “Are we all out of flour?”

“Yes,” I told him, barely two seconds awake. “But you can make oat flour. Just grind the oats in the food processor.”

An hour later, Marcus came back into the bedroom with a huge smile on his face.

“Breakfast is ready! Come on out! The living room is warm for you too.”

With a blanket draped around my shoulders, I stepped into my living room to find a wonderful scene awaiting me: a fire roaring in the woodstove, a sweet handwritten note, and fresh oat pancakes, fruit salad, honey, and peanut butter smiling up at me from my coffee table. My husband is the best!

Birthdays have always been special to me. I like to acknowledge mine through showing myself some extra love. I took my time deciding on a pretty birthday outfit. Then I went to a coffee shop, where I sat down with a chai and spent some time writing. I stopped at a thrift store in Eugene that is also a cat shelter, where adoptable cats and kittens run around and bring a little cheer to all those who rent houses that won’t allow pets (including guess who!). Later, I will make one of my favorite dishes for dinner: vegan enchiladas with lime cream from The First Mess. It takes some preparation, but it is so dang delicious that it’s totally worth it! I’ll close out the day by taking a walk somewhere with my love. Eugene is so walkable, and I’ve loved slowly getting to know the city on foot.

On my birthday I also like to take some time for self-reflection. I have so much to be grateful for in my life. Today I’m finding myself feeling especially grateful for my capacity to take risks and make choices for my life that reflect the most authentic version of me, rather than the version I tried over and over to make fit my life and just wouldn’t, like a stripped screw that try as you might, just won’t drive into the wood. This time last year, I was so sure that I would be applying for grad school to study mental health counseling. I thought mental health work was the best path for me, despite the huge amount of headache, heartache, and loss of wellbeing it gave me. When I really admitted these things to myself, I expected to feel despair (what am I gonna do now?!). But I felt relief. It freed my mental energy to consider my other gifts and dreams that I’d pushed into the shadows after deeming them incompatible with the direction of my life. Now I’m pouring light over those gifts and dreams and–among other things–paving a writer’s path for myself. There is still uncertainty and challenges ahead, but I’m facing these things with the sense that I’m finally at home in myself.

Hey, it only took 28 years.

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