I turned 36 this month and I still love celebrating my birthday. Presents and parties (sans the pinatas and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey) are still fun but I love being with friends. Each year I think, “This has been the best birthday ever,” only to reach the next birthday and think, “This is the best birthday ever.” I stopped to think about that little phenomenon and came to the conclusion that each year I am excited about life and about the life God has given me and that I get another year of it and that I have great people with which to share it. No matter what city I am in, great friends surround me and support me and celebrate with me.
This year was no exception. I got up really early, spent a couple hours in my car, shared my story with a church in Henderson, TN, spent a couple more hours in my car going back to Nashville for what I called a Super Birthday Mac-n-Cheese Bowl Party at a friend’s house. This was likely to be the last birthday that I celebrate as an actual Nashville resident so it was a tad bittersweet. But man, what a great time I had, hanging out with Shelley, Joe, April, Stephanie, Greg and Lucas, and just being and eating dessert hummus and watching football and marveling over Madonna’s halftime show and texting our friend Shelby who was working in Indy. It felt good, being with a group of friends that have watched me grow up in Nashville and have been inspirations and mentors to me. It just seemed like the perfect culmination of my life in Nashville.
That’s what made this birthday the best, and every birthday the best. Yes, there is the miracle of life for which I am grateful to God. But there are also the relationships and friendships because those go beyond the 24 hours of a birthday party (though, I typically take the full month of February to celebrate my birth month). My friends, my confidants are with me every day or available to me every day, and I am so blessed to have them (you!). And while I’m confident that Nashville connections will last beyond my residency, I will still miss the daily or weekly or monthly face-to-face interaction that I have with them. It has been a great 14 years that has resulted in more wonderful friendships than I could have imagined.
It’s almost a little too weird for me to think about where I will be next year for birthday #37. Much will happen between now and then, and there will be a giant “good bye” party in there somewhere as well. So until then, I mean to capture as many friend moments as possible this spring, starting with this big “thank you” for your friendship, prayers, and support.