Coming of Age

I once read that if you're a "Hobbit", you come of age at 33. Well, today is that day for me.

I usually don't think much of birthdays, but this year has hit me a bit hard. Four years and four days ago I received an artificial disc, and every year since then, for every birthday, I've always thought "By this time next year things will be better."

But you know what...no more wishing. It looks unlikely to happen, and I have to deal with what I have. I have to reassess what I want out of my life, and how I'm still going to be able to accomplish a dream or two despite my physical/health condition.

I had a great start in life, and seemed ahead of the game with school, work, life in general. But I've stalled the last few years - basically since moving to Ohio - and in some ways have gone backwards. The pain has taken away a lot of my fight, but I need to get it back. I have to, end of story.

So today as I "come of age," it starts a serious conversation in my brain of where I want to go in life. I can't rely on old dreams, I need to create new ones. I need to try and regain a little of what I've lost of myself that I'd like to get back.

In terms of my day, it's probably my least exciting birthday ever. Working all day; co-worker asked for the day off, and I wasn't going to deny my staff a day off just so I could take off for selfish reasons. What would I do today, anyway? I suppose travel somewhere, as I have no qualms about traveling on my own. Brad is focused on his intensive week long class, so no dinner tonight with him except maybe some fast food at home in between his studying. The parents wanted to meet with me downtown for dinner, but didn't feel right doing it without the husband. So basically your standard day. Maybe this is another part of the "coming of age" thing, but I'd hate to think that it means an end to anything fun. Someone please tell me that's not what it means, because if that's the case then the rule must be broken.

It's kind of like my 21st birthday. I woke up in Lafayette, Indiana at a Red Roof Inn, met with a guy selling calling cards for breakfast at Denny's, then sat in a company/regional meeting all day. Pizza Hut for lunch, where I was toasted with Pepsi beverages. I drove home in the dark and spoke with my family and friends on the car phone on the way back home to Grand Rapids. Instead of going straight home I went to work, where I spent time talking with the owner about operations stuff. Got home about 11:45pm, opened my cards and a gift from the folks, and went to bed. Pretty pathetic, but I will say the following weekend I basically went on the "21st birthday tour". Managed to drive to different cities in three different states for my work responsibilities but met up with people I knew along the way and celebrated every night until dawn. Good times.

So as for my 32nd year? How will it be recorded in my memory, and on this blog?

Career - Very satisfying; found those traits I was forced to lose at my other job and found I still "had it." Finally felt I had reached a little bit above where I was when I was 27 and left my job in Minnesota.

Marriage - Considering everything, I think still strong. Today also marks the day Brad proposed eight years ago. I occasionally (jokingly) chide him for proposing on my birthday, since if things don't work out my birthday will forever be scarred. But so far, so good. I learned in a communications class once that by now we should have had many thoughts of leaving each other or possibly throwing the other one out a moving car, but I can say on my side I've never once thought that. I have a great partner in life.

Health - The never ending battle. Had a successful surgery, which considering the fact that it had a very high possibility to leave me bleeding out on the table and dead (it really was a very dangerous surgery, and I was warned many times in advance) I'm happy to still be here. I have a great spine, but still need to figure out why my body continues to attack itself. I thought in my younger years I treated it quite well; it would be nice if it would "work with me" once in awhile.

Personal - Largely due to my health and a somewhat depressive state it caused, age 32 was a time where I found myself really separating myself out and limiting communication. To communicate you need stuff to share, and I just didn't much to share. I'm still trying to get myself to "snap out of it." I miss my family & friends, and really need and want to spend more time with them this year.

Travel - It might be weird to make this its own category, but it's one of the things that makes me most happy. I got to do a little traveling, but no true, real, relaxing getaways. We spent a lot of time in Maryland because of the surgery, but it wasn't true travel. Did drive through Delaware and a small part of New Jersey, so was able to add two new states to the list that I've now been in. Saw Philadelphia briefly, but more importantly walked through Independence Hall. Drove through Chicago many times but never had a chance to stop. Drove to Iowa and back (and repeated a week later) so my Grandma Grimm could be here for my mom's birthday. Drove and flew to Iowa to see Brad's mom many times, though the last time was for her funeral. Did a few day trips to Pittsburgh, and went to Wheeling, WV to a casino one afternoon just to kill some time. Also managed to to go to Athens, OH and see where my brother was living/going to school. Traveled to Put-In-Bay again. So, that all being said, maybe I did out more than what I thought. However, I think the key word at the beginning was "relaxing", and unfortunately most of the traveling was done with limited time. This upcoming year I'd really like a trip to someplace warm where I just "be" all day.

I'm not quite done with being 32 yet. Today might be my birthDAY, but I was born at 9:17pm Pacific Time. Since I'm in the Eastern time zone, it technically means I won't turn 33 until 12:17am tomorrow morning. So if you don't mind, I think I'll get to work and try to make the most of my remaining hours before I officially "come of age." Bye-bye, 32. There goes yet another year.

P.S. This little guy is courtesy of the husband for my birthday. He'll go right next to my little Chicago Bears cub on my desk.

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