Usually, birthdays act on me like New Year's Eve does on others: I reflect on the previous year, bemoan the changes I DID NOT MAKE, and set goals for the coming year.
To be honest, it's often a less-than-enjoyable time for me.
You know. . .kind of melancholy and 'can't believe I let another year slip by'-ish. I think about all the moments wasted in worry or anxiety over things that, after all, ended up just fine. I consider all the plans I had that I never carried through because of time, resources, or just plain energy. I wonder at how I managed to squander all those precious moments with my husband, family and, especially, my God.
It makes me kind of blue.
But when I start to get cross with myself for not being a little 'further along the path' in some areas, or find myself heading toward a bona fide pity party, I force myself to look even further back and see how far I've come over the years.
And I start to come out of it a bit.
(I'm a work in progress.)
This year, I tried to start at that point, rather than end there. I tried to go into my birthday looking at the big picture of how much I have grown and achieved and progressed over the years.
My goal was to jump right on over that 'woe is me' bit to the bit where I remember that, actually, I'm pretty dang blessed.
And it worked.
Instead of getting progressively more blue in the lead up to the big day, then remaining in a bit of a funk for the whole big day itself, I sort of just bypassed all that and went straight to a sense of gratefulness that I'm not where I started and am not done growing yet. It was kind of awesome.
And because I wasn't wasting time mired in various forms of regret, I had time to reflect on a couple of things. Not only am I in a personal trajectory that, if you zoom out a bit, is heading in the right direction, but I'm also being constantly re-made in purpose.
First, a child, then a student, a professional, a wife, a mother, then a complicated mix of all those things. And now, a writer, too.
Forget looking regretfully at the past. . .I have a future to look forward to!
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18)
(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)