“Big” Birthdays?

Certain birthdays are supposed to be epic. They are “milestones.” They are looked forward to eagerly…or with trepidation. They are significant markers of time passing.


I apparently live on a different timeline.

Sweet 16? I spent that summer right after my birthday in Mexico. At one point, we participated in a big, village-wide Quinceneros party to celebrate a girl moving from childhood to adulthood on her 15th birthday. My turning 16 paled in comparison. (And back then, you didn’t get your driver’s license until months later since you couldn’t start driver’s ed until you were already 16.)

I had friends who moaned about turning 20; stressed over leaving their teens behind. My teen years were not so stellar that I wanted to spend more time there. And I had gotten married at 19, so turning 20 was an afterthought that year

What about turning 30? A friend or two were stressing out about still be unmarried at that age…about their biological clock ticking with no children on the horizon. Me? When my mom asked what I wanted for my 30th birthday, I responded that all I wanted was for this baby I was carrying to be BORN already! (And, indeed, James—baby number 5—WAS born on my 30th birthday!)

40? Nah. Still not a “big one” for me. At 38 I hit “mid-life-crisis.” I grieved all the things I would never do. I laid in bed for a few days feeling sorry for myself. Then I put together a scrapbook with pages decorated to fill with photos each time I accomplish something I dreamed of doing. My oldest two children left for college the next summer. 40? Forty was an insignificant transition when it came (unless I count having just birthed our youngest child a few months earlier…)

"milestone" or not...time moves on

So now I’m looking towards my 50th birthday in May of next year. Will THIS one be a milestone birthday? I’m certainly moving toward it with intention, and with introspection. But “milestone”?? I’m not so sure about that. The five years leading up to it have been significant—husband’s life-threatening cancer, death of a son, wandering the western USA in an RV for 9 months, getting EMT certification, moving to become directors of a mission in NM. Certainly no shortage of significant, life-changing events during this time. But none of this has been connected with turning 50.

Oh well. I guess I won’t worry about it. I’ll continue to enjoy the good times whenever they occur. And I’ll try to keep walking through the challenging times. My “milestones” may not match with decade-birthdays…but I certainly have plenty to celebrate, no matter what the date!


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