When I flew to Minneapolis last week, I smiled at the nice lady at the Delta counter who looked at my driver's license and said, "You have a birthday coming up."
"I do," I replied with a hint of glee in my voice.
Then, when I stood in line at the security checkpoint, the officer was really checking out my license, tilting it back and forth under the light. He handed it back and said nothing. I looked at it and noticed the date.
"I didn't realize my license was about to expire," I said, so surprised the words fell out of my mouth. I recalled the day I got the license—how 2013 felt so in the future, too far away to comprehend.
"In six days," he replied. Thank goodness it was only a two day trip.
Monday, I began my birthday sitting in the rain, in traffic, apparently along with the rest of the entire world. A few miles and 45 minutes later, I arrived at the DMV. I dodged puddles in the parking lot and darted inside. And it was the craziest thing. Under the glare of yellow fluorescent lights, the line was moving right along. The lady at the counter was so cheery. I filled out a form, snapped a photo (not bad, by the way) and was out the door with my new, non-expired license in less than 15 minutes.
Despite the rain and traffic, I made it to my facial, and then to my pedicure, on time. What a relief, I know. There should be a hashtag for that. #birthdayproblems. At noon, I drove to the school to pick up Dillon.
Shawn, the kids and I headed to the beach for lunch. We were hoping the 40 minute drive would prompt the little ones to nap in the car on the way. Of course, that didn't happen. So lunch was a lot like dinnertime at our house. We ate quickly, paid the check and left.
The sun peeked through the clouds and we decided to take a walk on the beach. We went down to the lighthouse, to the place we've spent many summertime days. But the beach looked different. It was quiet, deserted. The light wasn't the same.
The tide created tiny islands in the sand.
The kids ran free.
And my husband and I kept looking at each other and saying things like, "Wow. This is awesome." At some point in the day, he asked me what I wished for. What do I want from my 39th year?
"Just happiness," I said.
Of course that's true, but it's a bit simplistic. I know me. I have goals and aspirations, and that doesn't change because my driver's license says I'm another year older. What I really wish for is the chance to teach myself how to live without angst. I want to learn to release the stress associated with striving, the fear-based anxiety that rises in the midst of all that's out of reach. I'll continue to work hard and push deadlines and roll with the tide, but I never want to lose my peace of mind in pursuit of a dream. I want happiness more.
I know I'll blink and it will be time to renew my license again. But in the meantime, I want to live like that's so in the future, too far away to comprehend.