Well make me a cake and put a big ole 3 and 5 on top, ’cause today is my 35th birthday!
Please make it a cake without icing – preferably a buttermilk pound cake with a chocolate glaze. But I’d be happy with anything…as long as it is made in a bundt pan and comes with a chocolate glaze. Thanks.
Thirty-five has been looming in the darkness, just around the corner creeping ever closer, rearing its head and laughing at me every time I celebrated someone else who it had attacked.
Getting older is scary stuff. Wrinkles, cellulite, grandma hands, not being able to look at bread without gaining 5 pounds, and just the knowledge that I am getting older…it all scared me.
But that was then and this is now and I am not so scared anymore.
I’ve learned something in the last year. With age comes maturity, wisdom, not being defined by the world, and knowing who I am. I hope these things will increase with every year I gain.
I’ve been reflected on my life at different stages and how much I have changed…
The 5 year-old MacKenzie was a care-free kindergartener who spent her free time playing hide-and-seek and hanging from trees. She pestered her brother and spied on her older sister. She spent every Friday night with her grandparents watching TGIF and Baywatch and Miami Vice (apparently her grandparents left the room at some point). She loved being outside playing with her imaginary friends under the gumball tree pretending she had run away from home and “driving” the tractor with her dad. Her dad was her hero. Her mom was the most beautiful person she knew. She really had no worries in life.
The 15 year-old MacKenzie was painfully introverted. She had no idea who she was or where she belonged. She loved learning, especially science and English. She played in the band and took piano lessons. She skipped school the first day of turkey season to hunt with her dad in the morning, plant the garden after lunch and then hunt in the afternoon. She fancied herself an athlete, although she wasn’t super great at it.She wanted to be part of the “crowd”, to fit in, although she never felt like she did, but she had a close group of friends whom she felt comfortable around. Her dad was still her hero even though she didn’t like all the rules that were handed out. She had no idea how patient her mom was with her through the painfully awkward teenage years.
The 25 year-old MacKenzie had moved away from home and was living in Texas. She was an almost seminary graduate who had fallen in love with the dreamiest guy she’d ever met and would be engaged to him a month later. She had friends who taught her many things ranging from it’s not a great idea to ride Six Flags roller coasters when you are sick to how to confront someone in loving manner. She was part of a church and small group that she loved and that changed her for the better. She had figured started figuring out who she was and began liking what she saw looking back at her in the mirror. However, she was still filled with insecurity. Her introverted ways held her back in many ways and from many things. Her tendency to think she had to be perfect led her to beat herself up every time she hurt someone, made a mistake, or failed to live up to an expectation. She was fiercely independent. Learning to dependent on her future husband would prove a challenge her first year of marriage. Learning to depend on her Savior would prove to be something she would have to learn over and over. She had begun to appreciate her parents in the way that you only can after you have grown up and entered adulthood yourself. Her father still hung the moon. Her mother began the woman she could only dare dream of being.
The 35 year-old MacKenzie has seen more of the world and is still married to the dreamiest guy she’s ever met and has two beautiful children by him. She’s learned the value of having deep, growing, mature friendships. Friendships that last. Friendships that push each other towards Christ. She has embraced her introvertness but has learned not to allow it to be an excuse not to push herself to do hard or uncomfortable things. She has found her identity in the One who gave it to her. She knows what she wants to be when she “grows up” and finally has the confidence to go for it. She has learned the value in having people in her life who don’t think like her in order to learn from them. She is learning perfection is not the goal but leaning in to Jesus is. She had learned that she doesn’t know everything and it’s ok to admit it. She appreciates all the sacrifices her father made that she doesn’t even know about. She is still trying to learn from the example her mother has set before her.
Getting older…no it does not bother me one bit. I welcome the wrinkles – it means I’ve laughed a lot and hopefully that there is some wisdom behind the lines. Grandma hands will mean I’ve worked hard and, I hope, have grandchildren to hold in them. Knowing I’m getting older means I know I’m that much closer to seeing Jesus.
But I can do without the gaining 5 pounds by just looking at bread….