Happy Birthday to me.

“What do you want for your birthday?”

Nothing.

(I don’t say this to my mother, because she’s my mother and she wants to buy me a birthday present, which is lovely.)

“Um… earrings, I guess. I can always use more earrings.”

Which is true because I have an earring addiction. And I’m okay with that. I no longer justify it or try to explain to people why I love big dangly earrings. Yes, they often get caught in my giant mass of hair. Yes, They even hit my shoulders sometimes because I’m a short type of person, so my neck is the opposite of swan-like. But I like them, and I will always enjoy getting more.

Not justifying why I like things is only part of the reason I love being 36 today.

YES, I just told you how old I am. I’m not vaguely in my thirties or having my twenty-ninth birthday for the seventh time. (haha) I’m 36, and I’m doing pretty well. I need to lose some weight. (Partly because I’m a writer who sits on my butt all day, and partly because I love good food. And wine.) I have little wrinkles around my eyes and my mouth, which the girl who does my facials calls “expression lines.” (That’s good. I like having expressions.) And I still have stretch marks from carrying that gorgeous child who makes me laugh.

I’m 36 today, and that makes me smile. Because for thirty-six years, I have lived on this planet, in a family that loves me, having adventures and learning new things. Traveling and exploring. Making new friends and cherishing old ones.

Don’t ask me to give away any of those years.

They’re thirty-six years of triumphs and challenges. Heartache and love. Each year and milestone brought me a little closer to the person I am now, and each contributes to the ongoing work in progress that I am.

I’m not finished yet, but I know who I am. I’m a daughter and a mom. A writer and a publisher. I like big earrings and nice handbags. Walking in beautiful gardens that I don’t have to tend and swimming laps because it is so, so quiet. I like writing about love and mystery and fantasy. I like creating worlds for people to fall into and forget themselves, but hopefully find themselves, too.

What do I want for my birthday?

Nothing.

Not because I don’t want to celebrate my birthday (trust me, celebrating is going to happen), but because I am at a place in my life where I am very content. My son gave me a card this morning. He picked it out himself, probably because it has birds on it and a lot of my art features birds in flight, and there was a quote inside:

“No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.”—William Blake

Ah, that wise little boy. I’m soaring on my own wings now, so I’m just going to keep flapping and see where I end up at when I’m 37. And 38. And all those numbers after that the world tells us we should be scared of.

I am not scared. I’m excited.

What do I want for my birthday?

Nothing except new adventures and the occasional pair of big earrings.

And maybe a new tattoo.

(Okay, definitely a new tattoo.)

Posted in Life, Women.

22 Comments

  1. My thanks to your wise son for excavating that lovely Blake quote, and to you for sharing it. This big fan wishes you a delightful birthday and hopes you get LOTS of long dangly earrings!

    PS: My favorite birthday meme is “living proof”.

  2. I so love this! I share many of these thoughts with you as I turned 40 last month. I’m not afraid of being 40. On the contrary, I embrace it. I’m going to use all the experiences I’ve had up to this point, to make this year and all the plans I have floating around in my head, that much better! I’m so with you on the nice handbags, good food and weight loss (partly because I sit and READ…haha), too. Oh, and the wine! 😉
    Here’s wishing you a fabulous 36th year and many more to come! Keep the love, mystery and fantasy coming!
    xoxo

  3. Have a wonderful birthday! I always dread the big “what do you want for…” question because the things I want can’t be purchased from a store. Enjoy your day, post a pic of your tattoo (if it’s in a photo-friendly spot) and have fun with that lovely boy of yours!!

  4. Congratulations on another year to share your life & love with family & friends and your talent with the world! You are a very wise woman at such a young age ;-)! Enjoy your day & celebrate Tuesday on your book birthday! 🙂

  5. I hope this birthday is the best one yet and there are even better ones to come. I’ve had 55 so far and consider each one a personal accomplishment. When you consider the alternative, I think birthdays are marvelous. I wish for you extra special earrings with lots of sparkle. In another life, I think I was a crow, because I seem to be mesmerized by anything that sparkles. Oh yes, they most definitely must have sparkles. Happy Birthday!

  6. Happy birthday! I see why you write so beautifully, you just see life that way and you’ve just made me see it that way, thank you! Enjoy your ear rings and your family 🙂

  7. Happy birthday to my new favorite author. Never thought I, at my age, would have gotten so enthralled with vampires! But here I am, at 2:00am still turning pages which I can hardly wait to read, but I don’t want the story to end. Conundrum!!!

  8. Hope your birthday was lovely, your attitude would seem to indicate that happened. I know it’s a bit trite, but age is just a number, life is what we live and that’s what matters.
    And now I must thank you for a gift. I just finished reading the first book in your Elements series and I am completely hooked on the fascinating plot with all the historical references, as well as Gio & Beatrice. I fell in love with both of them. I just downloaded the second book on my Kindle and am planning to do some serious reading tomorrow. I knew when I read the story you posted on fanfiction you were very talented. Nice to see that you publishing original work. Plan to read everything.

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