In a couple days, I will be thirty three years old.
I don't even know what to say about that. I suppose I should be happy that I've made it this far.
But I'm looking around myself, and I can't see any of those comforting sort of landmarks that indicate a productive and worthwhile (read: normal) life.
I feel like I've let go of everything that made me legit, or even just me, and all I have left is a scared, disappointed, inexorably aging, lonely heart.
I have no children.
I have no husband.
I have no home,
not even a plan.
I haven't earned a doctorate in anything.
I haven't published any books.
I've never been on tv,
or learned kung fu.
I can't even play the piano.
I am absolutely certain that I have not lived up to the potential that has been seen in me.
I'd give back all those awards and scholarships, but I'm sure everyone else has moved on already (and besides, I spent the money).
But here are a few things I do have.
I have family and friends who love me more than I'll ever understand. People of diverse ages and interests and languages and cultures all hold me in their hearts and number me among their dear ones. I am loved. If this were all, it would be enough. But it's not all.
I also have three diplomas, two certifications, multiple certificates, and various recordings, pictures, and program notes all bearing witness to the fact that I am capable of starting something and seeing it through to the end.
I have two passports full of stamps, spanning twelve years and four continents.
I have a tattoo that reminds me that I am not alone and that some messages are important enough to be carved into your arm.
I have thousands of crazy notions, precious meetings and partings, random adventures, and spectacular opportunities all simmering away in my memory, like ingredients in a delicious gumbo, adding flavor as they steep.
I have survived failure, rejection, neglect, loss, loneliness, bitterness, confusion, doubt, and far too many fears (rational and otherwise).
I have learned the value telling the truth (and the cost), and I know how to stand before several incomplete pictures of the future and make a choice.
And while this particular birthday finds me in what feels like a crazy free fall, I have thirty three years invested in a relationship with a God who has never once failed to catch me.
So maybe it is a happy birthday after all.
Happy Birthday to me.
I am glad to be here.