Happy, Indeed

I am 32 today which — I don’t know — just seems so novel.  So adult, really.  I feel like I’m pulling the wool over someone’s eyes a bit. 

In my mind there are parts of me that still feel like I’m about 21 and still wide eyed and trying to figure life out.  But then again every once in a while that little old lady inside of me comes out a bit too.  In fact tonight we are celebrating my birthday dinner at our favorite sushi place because I have a Groupon.  Holla!  Yep, I’m excited that not only do I get to have my favorite sushi, but with a coupon.  Ok, that little old lady probably comes out more than I would like to admit these days.

The other night I realized that when I met Garrett I was 25 and he was 22!  “We were just babies!” I told him, “You were barely legal!”  But it feels nice to have found someone to grow up a bit with.  I love that our relationship still has the newness and excitement that it did when we first met, but we also have 7 years of history together.  We have figured a lot of life out just the two of us, and that feels increditbly comforting. 

I recently rescued some old family home movies from my mom’s garage and transferred them from 8mm to DVD.  I had to wait 3 weeks to find out what was on them and if I’m being honest I was excited about them, but mostly I was anxious.  For one, it would be the first time I had seen any video of my dad since he passed away 12 years ago and I was a little apprehensive to experience something so emotional (and believe me it was incredibly heart-wrenching just to hear his voice again.)  But my other anxiety had more to do with seeing myself at around age 12 because ohmygod, AWKWARD!  Bad clothing!  Terrible hair!  Immature behavior! OH MY!  Why didn’t anyone tell me?  (Oh wait, they probably did.)  There really should not be any visual evidence left of anyone’s adolescent years, am I right?  

Anyway, so the other night I put in one of the DVDs for Garrett and together we had a good laugh.  With that 7 years behind us, he has not only gotten to know me well, but has become very well acquainted with all the members of my family so I think he was especially excited to see all of their awkward moments as well.  The 90s were such a goldmine of bad fashion decisions, I cringe, but it was hysterical to enjoy all of us at our silliest.  Well at least until I realized that we were watching video from 20 years ago and — OMG, WHERE DID THE TIME GO WHEN DID I GET SO OLD? 

One of the many home videos on the DVD from my dad’s 37th birthday.  His arrival home from work and subsequently getting the dogs all riled up and excited as he was wont to do.  My mom narrating as she filmed about all the fun things in store for the evening.  There was vido of him admiring the banner that I had painstaikingly illustrated in Print Shop and printed on our black and white dot matrix printer.  It was just a real slice of Americana, and it was so odd to think that this was our lives then.  Even weirder to think about was that on that day my dad was turning 37 — only 5 years older than I am now.  I can remember it so vividly, standing excitedly in my denim cutoffs and my Stanford sweatshirt — at the time I was sure that was where I was going to college (BAHAHAHAHA!).  

Then came the rest of the family, and of course all of it was on film, my grandparents showing up, my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Everyone spending the evening clinking glasses in celebration.  My dad was just so damn happy to be celebrating with his family, eating cake, cracking jokes, opening presents — and just being his normal happy go-lucky self around his peeps.  It was wonderful to see and remember.  Knowing the backstory, he had a lot of stuff going on in his life right then, but you never would have known it because on that night he was just so present and enjoying the moment of celebrating with the people he loved the most. 

That touched me for a million reasons that I won’t even get into, but the most powerful takeaway for me was that he was turning 37 that year — and sadly only 5 short years later he would be gone.  You just never know how long you have or how many of these precious and fleeting moments you will get to enjoy, you know?  And no matter what is going on, I want to enjoy those moments just like he did.  Today, even though I am a year older and it’s fun to whine about all of that, I am also trying to remind myself all day how lucky I am just to be here.  How lucky I am to have adorable coworkers make a big deal this morning, to have my family send cute text messages all day, to get emails from friends, cards in my mailbox, to have tweets and Facebook messages find their way to me, and to be having dinner with my favorite guy (WITH MY DAMN COUPON!).  This is a splendid life that I get to live and I don’t want to take a minute of it for granted. 

I want 32 to be a year of being present and grateful.  

 

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