What a happy birthday it is!
Each year, my age increase somehow surprises me. For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking “Really, 27?” It seems like so many years. And I suppose it is. Years running around and playing as a child; years of adventures and learning new things; years of discovering new passions, meeting new people.
Society tells me I should be afraid that my 30’s are drawing so near, that I should run screaming towards a plastic surgeon or a botox clinic. God forbid I should grow “old!”
I think these members of society must never have had a bad bone marrow draw. Now that’s something to run from!
What these naysayers don’t understand is that it is an honor to turn 27. I don’t look at this birthday as another step towards impending doom, or even an achievement over death. I look at it as a gift.
During the past 12 months I met fellow survivor Chelsea Tiegen, reconnected with Lauren Padgett, watched Andrea Wood get married and find out she will soon have a baby boy! I went back to dance class and reconnected to a community I once feared I’d lost. Austen Everett found me just in time to change my life before she lost hers. I heard my doctor say “the tumor’s gone” and “there’s no evidence of disease.” I ate way too many pastries from Bakery Nouveau and rocked a bald head at a NOFX concert. I returned to Maui where the man of my dreams changed my life when he put a canary diamond on my finger. I prayed for the first time in many, many years. I had dinner with my parents, the most loving people on the planet, almost every Sunday and had fantastic talks with my cousin Lauren during long car drives to dance class. I grew some crazy curls on my head. I hiked through the woods with Angel and ran screaming from a snake. I watched hours of “The OC” and explored ate a big mac with Megan Gwirtz. I ran 13 freaking miles in 3 hours! I watched sea turtles swim towards Maui. I read Jane Eyre for hours with my kitten sleeping on my lap. I fed an elephant. I ate the best ice cream EVER in Vancouver. I touched a human brain. I fell deeper in love with my fiancé than I ever thought possible.
Who would give that up just to be younger?
If there is a God, I think he created a physical analogy on my face when he designed my smile. It is physically impossible for me to smile without my eyes crinkling shut. As a result, the years have left me with faint creases around my eyes. Perhaps not society’s idea of youth or beauty, I would not trade these smile markers for anything.
So, I am endlessly grateful to turn 27. After all, we don’t all get the chance to.
And who knows what this next year will give me?
The only reason I was able to do any of these things over the past year was because of the love and support I received from those around me while I fought cancer. If you want to celebrate with me, please consider making a donation toThrive Through Cancer or the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.