So today I turned 45.
It sounds so freaking old, I am still having trouble believing that I am somehow attached to that number.
Statistically, and according to my genetics, I am just about mid-life right now. Today. This very second.
Is it half-over? Or is it just half-revealed?
I have my kids. I have my health. I have an un-effing-believable group of friends. But there are days when I wish things were just a tidge different.
I don't have much money, nor do I have the things that moneyed folks have, but that kind of "stuff" has never been very important to me.
My credit is awful, the only thing I really own outright anymore is an 11 year old truck. We live paycheck to paycheck...heck, sometimes we barely make that.
Someone might read these things and say, "How in the world can she be even remotely happy? Where could any joy be found in that kind of life?"
Well...I'll tell you. I find the joy in the little things. Like having a group of 10 girls, all in 8th grade, running up to me with hugs at our first confirmation meeting last week. Do you know any 8th grade girls? Then you know how remarkable that scenario is.
I find the joy when I walk through the front door after a tough day, and my dog is so happy to see me he howls, starts rearing back like a stallion and actually smiles at me as he comes in for a hug. I find it when he and I take early morning walks, and the only sound I hear is the far-off honking of some random geese and our footsteps on the path.
I find the joy when a parent at school pulls me aside and tells me that I've made their child's life happier.
I find the joy when a friend calls me up and asks if I'd like to go out for an impromptu lunch date.
I find the joy in the butterflies I feel at the beginning of a new relationship....even though I am probably the most cynical, least romantic soul on the planet, it's good to know that those butterflies have survived.
I find the joy when my favorite waiter buys me a birthday shot.
I found the joy when I looked around my best friend's house the other night, the night of my big birthday party, and saw the beautiful faces of the best friends a girl could ask for. A house full of people I respect, people I admire, and people I love. Some friends in that house have been part of my life since I was a scewed up teenager...some have only known me as the screwed up middle aged woman, but they were all there, helping me celebrate another year survived on this Earth.
I found the joy when I clicked on facebook this afternoon and saw what seemed like an endless parade of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNY" posts. Seriously, if nothing else, facebook has made birthdays better.
I found a little bit of joy when I realized today that I'm coming down with a doozy of a cold. And then thanked God for only giving me a cold to deal with. I know it could be worse.
I found the joy when a friend stopped me at school today to tell me her daughter couldn't believe I'm 45. "That has to be a joke, mom" her darling daughter said, "she is not 45."
I'm finding the joy night after night as each new, fresh t.v. show is unveiled. Hello, Modern Family, CSI (Ted Danson? He might be ok.) and tonight, Terra Nova. I even watched Two and A Half Men with Ashton (not sure about this one...is it just me or has Ashton Kutcher only ever played one character, ever? And that's Ashton Kutcher.).
So you see, I am finding the joy where I can. And I don't have to look far. For every hurdle I've had to jump, for every heartbreak I've had to endure, there has been a joy to be discovered. If I hadn't been through what I've been through, those joys would have been harder to find, if not impossible. And not only harder to find because I am growing more and more blind every day (seriously? I have to take my contacts out to look for mustache hairs.) but because now I know what's REALLY important in life.
Good kids, good friends, good times.
I can hardly wait to see what the next 45 years has in store for me.