In 2 days, I will be 31 years old.

I honestly thought by now I would be way more disciplined and way more mature.

Today, I received a letter in the mail that was in reply to a thank you note I sent back in May.  It was a note thanking me for my note.  The writer recently went through a divorce and assumed my note was to condemn or at least offer well meaning, unwanted advice.  My letter was simply a “thank you for changing my life when I was in 10th grade”.  Seriously, she did.  I can’t imagine giving advice to someone who is married, let alone someone going through divorce—that’s as ridiculously funny as me giving advice on how to survive on the moon or how to enjoy eating mushrooms.

The number 1 subject that I have offered advice on this year (besides the flu and how to take care of your feet) is….drumroll please….Dating.  And even on that subject, I am absolutely positively no expert.  I only talk about it because I hope women who have been sorely disappointed will find hope, joy in the journey, laughter in the comedy of it all, and sometimes a “I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me!” moment.  And yet, in all of that, I have concluded, I will be just fine if I never get married.  I couldn’t imagine being ok with that before.  But I am, I really am.  That doesn’t mean I will stop talking about boys…shoot, I will talk about boys till I die.  I will be the 100 year old telling young ladies about dating in the good old days while I hold the hand of my newest boyfriend at the nursing home.  He won’t even remember my name and he might even smell a little bit but I will pinch his cheek and tell him just how cute he really is without his dentures.

Life is about risk taking.  Life is about putting yourself out there, going for it even when you are afraid, praying more than you talk, telling stories that make people laugh, finding people to do life with and then sucking the life out of life as long as you have breath.

My 30th year has been…fun, liberating, wild, interesting, weird, record-setting…a year I don’t plan to repeat.  Ever again.  Nope.  It was good but it is over.  I grew a lot. I found myself in new places with new people doing new things.

This past year, I went to New York and Uganda, said goodbye to my sister and her family as they moved to Arkansas, watched more episodes of Psych than I care to admit, turned off the TV for 3 months, did an acting class for 6 weeks, was a bridesmaid in a wedding, got robbed, had a lipoma removed from my leg (a bill which was miraculously not given to me),  went to many new restaurants, made some new dishes, went to many Broadway shows and some concerts, did snowboarding for the first time, and have loved having a wonderfully generous and understanding roommate who has seen me in lots of different moods and just keeps forgiving me.

It’s been a year of new dreams, new plans, new vision, new chances.  I have not once wished to be younger.

And at least once per week, someone remarks, “You’re thirty?! Are you kidding, you look 22!” and I just laugh.  You bet I’m gonna claim 30 as my age as long as they all keep saying I look 20.  Once they start saying I look older than I am, then I start lying.   🙂

One more thing.  I have to mention one more person.

He has been everything to me this year.  He has stood beside me, helped me, given me wisdom, joy, and a song.  He has led me through the valley of the shadow of death more times than once.  He keeps giving me breath for one more day.  He truly is everything to me.  We have gotten closer this year.  We really have.  As I have let go of condemnation and feelings of rejection, he has whispered his unending love in my ear.  He truly is my best friend.  Thanks Jesus, Thanks for sending your Spirit to speak life into my soul this past year.

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