I lay on the lawn chair like a sack. My head was heavy from a happy-birthday cold and a few too many last-night-to-be-29 drinks the evening before. Was this really my 30th birthday? Shouldn't I have been feeling at the pinnacle of health and vibrancy on this day of days? Could the day have snuck up so quickly, and why couldn't it wait until I had time to shake this stupid cold?
The morning sun twinkled against the white plastic chair slats as I smashed my cheek against them, staring languidly down through them to the grass below. At least it was warm in the sun, and I didn't have to accomplish anything in particular today. I had grown accustomed to this feeling of listlessness over the past several days; I barely had the brain power to contemplate my passage into 30-dome.
I suppose the old and wise would tell me that this is exactly how life is going to be from now on. They would say, "Life is full of disappointments. Just accept that things aren't always going to turn out how you want." I tell you, no matter how many times I turn that adage over in my mind, it still remains unacceptable to me. There has got to be more to life than surrendering helplessly to every disappointment.
I never planned to be anywhere else than the lake for my 30th birthday weekend. And despite my cold, and the fact that several people who planned to come to my party had to back out, I (underneath the gloom) was utterly content to be there surrounded by my family. I had had more than a few moments of feeling sorry for myself during the week preceding the big day, and my family members, in their undying effervescence, cheered me greatly. After all, wasn't 30 when you stopped crying over people not coming to your birthday party?
The next day, at my party, my husband surprised me with a sparkling, retro, baby blue and cream reissue 1950s electric guitar. In the midst of my wallowing, I had almost forgot that there was going to be celebration - and presents - with my family and friends surrounding me. There was no longer any room, or time, to feel despondent. When I pulled the wrapper off that shiny guitar, I wept into my hands, completely taken by surprise. Everyone had stopped what they were doing when they saw the large, wrapped package emerge from the cottage. And now, as tears streamed down my cheeks and a big smile began to form on my face, they watched expectantly and then applauded as I held the guitar up exultantly for all to see. I gave my husband his well-deserved hug and stepped out of the gloom.
Perhaps this is exactly how life is going to be from now on (and always has been). Just when you think life has completely trashed the party, through the mess come the most beautiful moments in the shape of shiny electric guitars, elderflower liqueur, tears of surprise, those darling faces of your family around you, or a friend driving through the dark for 5 hours to see you in the last hours of your birthday. We must never take these things for granted. Luckily for us, life will never let us.
For your enjoyment, here is the series of photographs of me opening my guitar (taken by Ricky MacPherson):
Ryan even made me a sweet card with my face superimposed!