Reflections on a Birthday

Ahh, Facebook.  As I opened it up yesterday morning, ready to check out the birthday love coming my way from family and friends, I also clicked on the "on this day" section.  Laughing at the ghosts of birthdays past, I was slapped in the face by my status from 11 years ago: "[Emily is] greatly looking forward to being 23."  Woah.

First of all, it's crazy enough that I have been archiving my life for 11 years on FB.  But then to think that I typed those words at 22 years old?  I'm not exaggerating when I say I barely remember that girl.  I do know exactly what I was doing at that point, chronologically speaking.  I was very much enjoying my "bonus" year of college (not everyone makes it out in four, guys.) and was busy juggling work at The Boys & Girls Club, school, and rehearsals as Velma Kelly in my college's production of the musical Chicago.  I remember I was super psyched that the director decided Velma wouldn't dance in "Razzle Dazzle" because it meant I was cut early from rehearsal on my birthday and could go to my favorite bar, Stirrups.  Judge me.  I deserve it.

The thing that I wish I could remember is what I thought my future would be at that point.  I was getting ready to student teach in the spring and I probably thought I would follow through and get a job teaching high school English.  But did I want to stay in my hometown?  I genuinely don't remember. I know that I wanted to get married and have kids eventually.  I had already abandoned my plan of moving to NYC to be an actress in hopes of being a mom someday.  (Yes, actresses all over make amazing moms, but it was just not what I saw for myself.) But when I typed that status I wasn't even dating anyone. I don't remember what I wished for when I blew out the candles for 23, or if I even had candles.

Fast forward 11 years. I turned 34 this year. Concert tickets, a fancy dinner, a fire pit (long story), cards, flowers, and two balloons that were really more for my kiddos than me, and I am spoiled. I forgot to make a wish when I blew out the candles this year, and truth be told I really didn't blow them out - my 5 year old did. And that was perfect. 

I know there are some people who used to know me who see my personal online presence and wonder, "What happened?"  I feel it.  I don't perform right now because I hate the idea of missing bedtime every night for rehearsal.  I don't work outside the home because it's not what's best for my family at this point. And I'm not crazy anymore because, well, besides being 34, I have 3 kids and dancing on tables doesn't seem apropos as often as it used to. But I wish they could see that even though my world has gotten simpler, with that simplicity comes peace and happiness that my 22 year old brain couldn't imagine. This may not have been what I had planned 11 years ago, but it is so much better. 

So what do I wish for 34? I wish for a healthy family, continued stability, and maybe some success writing. And I wish that in 11 years, I can look back and laugh fondly at 34. We should all be so lucky.