Two months have passed since I started celebrating, and I still am celebrating. The event causing so much hoop-da-loo was my birthday. Not just any birthday, this year I rolled over into a new decade. I am now officially part of the Forty and Fabulous club.
To be honest the idea scared me. Forty seems old. I can remember when my mom turned forty. How could I be turning this age and still be figuring out life, confused about career direction, filled with questions, wondering what my place is in this crazy world? Yet, there was no denying the year I was born, and no fancy math formula can change the number of years I have been spinning around on this planet. To kick off my month+plus long birthday celebration I decided to do something that scared me more than turning 40 - go ziplining! I talked my mom into going with me to a new course that opened up this last spring at Skamania Lodge. Considering my life-long (yes, all forty years) fear of heights, my parents were highly suspicious that I wouldn't go through with the outing. With steely determination and a stomach filled with a gazillion butterflies, Labor Day morning mom and I joined several others to fly through the trees. And we had an incredibly fun time! I loved it! Yes, I was scared silly, but then I started having so much fun I didn't notice.
The gals at work took me out to lunch on the Thursday before my day. What better way to start a long birthday weekend than with a boozy milkshake at The Original? It was great time - and delicious!
I had the great pleasure of sharing my birthday weekend with the fabulous wedding festivities of Sharon and Manny. The event brought my brother and sister-in-law to town so the whole family was part of the fun. Sharon is an expert event planner, and her wedding was over the top wonderful. Welcome (officially) to the family Manny! (I'll confess, I love photo booths!)
The last birthday party I had was for my 21st; my mom attempted to throw me a surprise party, that wasn't much of a surprise. Since then my birthday has slipped by mostly unnoticed. Actually, my birthday has passed with minor recognition since early childhood. This year though, I didn't want to let the date be just another day, I was not content to be the wallflower once again. With some friendly prodding, Kate encouraged me to throw myself a party. I am so thankful she did! On Saturday a small group of friends gathered at Helser's cafe on Alberta for brunch - my favorite meal, and then we got creative in a glass-fusing class, each making a fall leaf plate. It was such a delightful day. We had a serendipitous moment at the cafe when a regular patron, over-hearing that we were celebrating a birthday, paid the bill for the whole table. He instructed our waitress not to tell us until after he had gone. Sir, whoever you are, thank you for the wonderful blessing!
The weekend was a trifecta of celebrations - my birthday, Sharon & Manny's wedding, and Amy + Chris' 1st anniversary. Sunday mom put her party planning skills to work again, wisely dropping the 'surprise' part this time, and had an open house for Amy + Chris' anniversary since they and many of their friends were in town for the wedding, and for my birthday. It was a weird mash-up of people from so many parts of my life, but an enjoyable afternoon chatting, eating (my one request was for my favorite cupcake - the PMS from Kyra's), and of course laughing. I even got a photo with me and all my 'brothers' (love these goofy guys). That night, one of my favorite TV shows, Foyle's War, had a new episode on PBS, a perfect ending to the weekend.
On Monday, my actual birthday, there was no way I was going to be working. I haven't worked on my actual birthday for four years now, this was not the year to break that trend. Instead, a friend and I headed to my favorite place - Cannon Beach. The first stop was at my favorite coffee shop, Sleepy Monk, where we waited out the last spitty cloud to pass allowing the glorious blue sky and warm sun to make their unexpected appearance. We walked the beach, I played in the waves (and got very wet), ate at the Lumberyard, and had a most enjoyable day.
The celebrations started winding down after that, but a few more outings with friends have peppered the last month. This summer when I thought about my birthday, it brought on anxious trepidation. Now that it has passed, a smile creases my face at the good memories and fun times indulging in so many of my favorite things. All the celebrating has reminded me, my life is rich with wonderful, amazing, loving, beautiful people. And isn't that what life is really about - relationships? Age is just a number, an accumulation of years, but the people that pass those years with you, that is what really matters. Forty years in, and judging by the love that was lavished on me this birthday, life is hunky-dory good.