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On turning “almost 50”

I have jokingly been referring to this birthday as “almost-50,” but the way time has been flying, it is mostly true, am I right? Anyway. I saw a funny meme yesterday about how 45 used to “look,” back when I was 18:

And I started to think about how 46 looks. And in the spirit of internet over-sharing, I wrote it all down for you.

46 looks like gratitude.

– for the gray hairs that force their way out more frequently, because my hair is still growing. I am alive.

– for the simple joy in life being one morning out of the last month and probably the one to come that I can calmly drink a cup of coffee while watching a show I’ve seen 80 times and shamelessly playing on Facebook, because Facebook birthdays are awesome. 

– for laugh lines. I laugh a lot. 

– for an open heart. A few instances in the past 15 years made me wish I could close it. The truth is, though, I will always welcome new people and new experiences, and I will want to hold you close, and I will struggle to let go. Of all the things about me, that is what it is. It’s not a weakness. It’s one sure-fire way the love of Christ compels me.

for the freedom to feel what I feel, and the maturity to know that feelings do not always reflect reality. In particular, I’ve made no secret of my struggles with body image and people-pleasing. Both of these parts of me are fluctuating works in progress. At 46, I’m not as “small” as I’d like to be… I am healthier, stronger, and more athletic than I have ever been. At 46, I still have moments of serious doubt over my roles, fear of missing out, and anxiety over getting stuff done… and I am more confident and brave and capable than I have ever been. 

– for legs to take me on my annual birthday run… for the surprising and life-changing love of running still being with me four years later, and goodness, for the absolutely amazing community, opportunities, and relationships it’s added to my life. 

– for everyday stories that people share with me. The best thing about other people’s stories is that if you listen to them, they become part of you… and because of that, we all become connected, we all widen our perspective, and we all become better. 

– for home at the ocean and the beach, where the cold weather and rain don’t last – and for our escapes to mountain cabins where everything feels as mystical as my favorite books. I don’t think I really appreciated nature until we moved to the coast. Now I am in awe.

– for a soundtrack to life that is provided by the miracle of streaming music and the absolute gift of living with my favorite singer… and raising a musician. 

– for old friends, a few that I have now had for 40 birthdays!… for some that I left behind in Illinois or in our travel days, but not in my heart… for sisters and brothers I gained in South Carolina, who did not grow up with me but will grow old with me. 

– for Willie and Max. I don’t really consider myself a dog mom or even a dog person, per se, but I sure do love these rascals and can’t imagine sitting here writing without them snoring next to me.

… for gatherings. Usually, someone is missing these days. Life is full. But almost as much as the gatherings themselves, I love the promise of those to come. I love this full life of juggling dates and plans. Not all of them come to be. Sometimes Christmas Eve is quiet or you cook for 25 people and only feed 6 or you’re wiping chairs off because it rained and everyone won’t fit inside. Sometimes it’s a turkey with the fixings and sometimes it’s hot dogs and a margarita jug that turns into a drum. Sometimes it’s local restaurants that feel as cozy as home and sometimes it’s takeout on the floor. It’s work friends and music friends and book club friends and the kids’ friends and life friends and family, because, honestly, in life you get to a point where it all kinda feels the same. Your people are your people. 

for kids who still want to talk to me and share their accomplishments and worries, and a few who still want to cuddle. For messy rooms and sticky counters and that ketchup-y face, for the missing scissors and tape and the one who drank the last Bubly, the dishes in the sink from late night second dinners, last minute panics over stuff they have to have or places they have to be, concerts, parent nights, Spirit nights, fundraisers-for-the-love-of-God, trips, meetings, showcases, shoes everywhere, road trip selfies, dinner debates, spontaneous milkshakes and coffee, the people who made me who I am. You ARE the joy of our lives!

– for healthy parents who are still with me. And at 46, I think that doesn’t need any embellishment. 

– for a husband who is my partner in literally everything. It’s not lost on me that we moved to South Carolina to work together and that’s about the only thing that has not happened yet. But the trick is… we are together in everything. Because of that, Rod is also in the running community and publishing world, and I am in a rock band and still understand telecom acronyms. More importantly, no matter how chaotic it gets, every single day – EVERY SINGLE ONE – starts and ends with the two of us. The best ones have a motorcycle ride in the middle.

– for the faithfulness of a Savior who protects and cares for and guides me. His presence does not forsake me when I am neglectful or rebellious. His strength trumps my every weakness. His love is the foundation of all I am and all I do. His grace is sufficient for everything. If you see light in me, it’s His.

My Gramma

Nine years ago on my birthday, my Grandma Capriotti took her last breath. I am still convinced that she sent Jack to us. Having our last baby was a complicated journey and a total surprise, and he is the only great-grandchild she didn’t live to meet. Jack injected something I don’t have words for into my life, but ultimately, I think it is peace with the world. I didn’t get to know my Grandma very well until I was an adult. The older I get, the more I understand and appreciate her. She didn’t fuss over a lot and she was happy to sit and chat and eat with her people. She died when she was 96 after being healthy for most of her days. Because of that, I believe I still have about 50 years to go. And believe me when I say, I am just getting started.

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