I recently celebrated my 27th birthday. For some reason, 27 sounds so much older than 26. I feel like 26 is still mid-twenties, and 27 sounds more like upper twenties. Kind of like I might as well be 30. But I'm embracing it nonetheless. I definitely don't feel like I'm in my upper twenties. I've been feeling very youthful lately, whether it's a subconscious mental countering of my age, or the excitement of our recent move, or something else entirely, I'm not complaining.
It is rather funny, though - each year, we've had some major life change. And for some reason, it always ends up being on my birthday. This year, we were preparing for a big move, so we spent all day packing, cleaning, and loading our belongings into a van to leave town the next day. Last year, we had just moved back to the Midwest from Hawaii and were interviewing for a job in St. Joseph, MO, sleeping in a stanger's home. The previous year, we were transitioning out of Nashville, TN and into Maui, Hawaii, and were living with friends. The year before that, we were moving to Nashville from Springfield, literally walking around in the southern summer heat, turning in resumes in downtown Nashville (btw, I actually got a job that day - happy birthday to me).
We were sitting in Waffle House the morning of my birthday this year, before the packing and cleaning process, looking back and laughing about all of these memories, reminiscing funny stories and situations. And then I realized that I couldn't really remember my birthdays before all of those years that we had big life changes or transitions. I have distinct memories of the last few years, because there was always some crazy transition happening in our life. But I can't remember the normal more "traditional" birthdays. I'm sure they were wonderful, but I then realized that I much prefer the adventure-filled, non-predictable, non-traditional birthdays - the ones that you can look back on and smile about.
And because my husband is amazing, we always had a time in the midst of the craziness that we took and celebrated. This year, we went out with friends the night before my birthday, he took me out for breakfast and coffee the next morning, then after packing, we had a bunch of our youth group worship team kids over for an epic night of playing in the rain and playing music outside. Last year, we got a hotel room and ordered chinese food. The year before that, my friend took me out for an all-day snorkel boat trip in Maui. The year before that, Brannon bought me a hiking backpack and it came in the mail the day we moved from Nashville. I remember our upright piano in the doorway, halfway between our living room and the moving truck, him on one side and me on the other, when the package came. He threw it across the top of the piano, smiled and said "Happy birthday."
Every year, I have a very special specific memory of turning another year older. Another adventure, another crazy situation, another memorable experience. And I wouldn't trade any of them for a "normal" birthday. So here's to many more years of crazy memorable birthdays - I hope it never changes.
So in honor of this being Father's Day "week", I'd like to share a fond memory that I have of my dad...
I remember standing out on our back balcony when I was younger, probably about 11 years old, with my dad and my sister. There was a clear sky and a full moon, and the moon was much bigger in the sky than normal. It was so bright against the midnight blue sky it was almost blinding. And it was beautiful.
“I want you girls to always remember this moment,” he said.
We agreed, and there was something inside of me that wondered if I would remember it. So many memories are constantly lost. I suppose if you tried to remember everything that happened in life, every meaningful moment, your mind might explode or fold into itself.
But I did remember it. Fifteen years later, I do still remember that moment. It made me want to purpose to remember more meaningful moments in life.
My sister recently drove to visit my husband and me in St. Joseph. The three of us went on a trail run while she was here at a trail that we had recently been frequenting. Although it still felt like you were running through a hot wet blanket, the trail was mostly covered by trees, a welcomed relief in the humid Midwest heat.
As we finished, it was dusk and we started heading back to our car. There was a grassy patch to the right of the path where the skinny trees were more sparse, and the ground kind of dipped down slightly, visually separating it from the trail. And in that patch, there were thousands of fireflies that seemed to come out of nowhere filling the entire area, their glow seeming to give out a much-needed warmth for our souls.
I am not the type of person who gets overly excited about things. I’m not a naysayer, or a particularly negative person, it just takes a lot to get my jaw-dropped. But at that moment, my mental jaw dropped. I felt like a kid again, like the adult mud that had been covering my eyes was wiped off, allowing me to see beauty once again.
It was like floating glitter, the shiniest glitter you’ve ever seen, like a scene from a real-life fairy tale. I’ve never seen anything so amazing. Nevermind that they’re bioluminescent insects whose butts glow. That’s a miracle in itself. But even taking that for granted, I was blown away.
I stood there for several minutes, just staring at them in complete awe. I leaned over to my sister and asked her if she remembered what dad said when we were younger. She did.
“Never forget this moment, ok?” I said to her.
She nodded in agreement. We stood there for another several minutes until the dusk thickened even more, then walked back to our car.
It's moments like these that make me want to purpose to remember more. That if had just latched onto more moments like these, then maybe I would've kept more of those precious memories. A good reminder to live well, and not easily take those significant moments for granted.
~ ~ ~
Dedicated to my dad, Jerry Pollock, who continues to work hard and make sacrifices for our family, while somehow continuing to create meaningful and memorable moments that are unforgettable. Thanks for all you've done and continue to do, Dad. Love you.
My husband and I like to take walks. And drives. The most interesting conversations seem to come out of both of these things. Maybe that’s why we like them so much. It seems to be a time in which we give each other permission to take a step back and take verbal inventory of our lives.
We were taking a walk the other day and started discussing how crazy it is that we live our lives largely based on our surroundings. Whether that be religion or the church, parental guidelines we had when we were growing up, the group of friends we hang out with, the society in which we live, the time frame in which we live, our culture, whatever it is. We make decisions and live out our lives based on a number of variables, for better or for worse, and whether we intend to or not. We kind of don't have much of a choice. We are controlled by these variables, controlled by our environment. And we are defined by it.
I'm not talking about making decisions based on what other people think of you - people do that, but this goes deeper than that. I'm talking about what we internally view as acceptable and not, right and wrong, good and bad, based on our surroundings. We are restricted by an invisible cloud of expectation.
For example, it would be highly unacceptable (or at least inappropriate - I'm sure some would deem it as "acceptable" for their viewing pleasure) for a woman to take her top off at a concert in the name of freedom and feeling the music. However, in the 60's, something like that would be almost acceptable and even prevalent. It wouldn't be viewed as inappropriate or skanky, but simply someone who is perhaps in touch with her body and wants to express it. Same country, same region even, but a different time frame changes it all.
And within these variables, there are varying schools of thought on issues, on what is acceptable and not. The obvious one being that if you have faith in a belief system, you tend to live based on what that belief system deems as acceptable and not. But even within that same belief system, you can have several differing opinions on what is right and wrong, acceptable and not. And it makes you just wonder if anyone really knows what they're talking about.
It kind of makes you want to start over. To wipe the slate clean with everything you've been taught, to exist somewhere that is outside this realm of expectation that we live our entire lives by. I wonder if most people go their entire lives living by expectations that are outside of decisions that they would personally make. Not that they would necessarily be consciously aware of that fact, as we all are conditioned to perform based on our surroundings. But it's a sobering thought nonetheless. It makes you want to take inventory of your life decisions, and even second-guess your daily choices. Which I guess isn't such a bad thing.
Well, I'm re-launching my blog. I've blogged on and off for a couple of years, but not as much since Nashville. So for all of you "Nashville Nobodies" followers, this will be a similar style with a slightly different story.
I enjoy writing. It clears my thoughts and is somewhat therapeutic. When I can't say it, I write it. And I like to think that I have something worth saying (or writing) every now and again. Hence, a blog. Purely selfish reasons. And for those of you interested in reading my rants and ramblings, tag along -- I'll try to keep things interesting.
There's not necessarily a "theme" to this blog, and I'm not trying to sell you something. I'm just a twenty-something girl that's trying to figure life out, as I feel so many of us are. Consider this blog my journal, an insight into my daily/weekly thoughts. And I hope that in some way, it will inspire you.
My intention is to provoke thought, not to necessarily find resolution.