10 - At this point, having been around for my first full decade, was a great big deal! As a kid on a Navy base 10 meant getting your ID card. An ID card allowed you to go and do lots of things without your parents. Suddenly shopping at the convenience store, commissary and exchange was a possibility. My brother and I could now buy Debbie Cakes and Sodas to our hearts' content, or as long as our allowance lasted. The swimming pools and movie theaters, all options! Having that ID Card meant independence, it meant I was growing up. A birthday with no regrets only promise of great things to come.
20 - Now this one is a 0 without as much punch. You know the birthday between 18 and 21. It is still the turning of the page from adolescence and childhood to adulthood. Most of life and the big life decisions are still in the future but at this point they are mine to make. Like lots of people, during these years I was consumed with finding a partner to do life with, choosing and moving into a career, buying a home and a car...so many decisions made that have impacted the rest of my life. They were all made with little idea of what I was doing. I can see that now but was clueless then.
30 - The middle of child-bearing and child-rearing. At this point I had 2 girls and would soon have 2 more. I was still working as a teacher. This was such a busy time with home improvements and little kids that not much thought was given to really long range things. At this point the major patterns of life that would continue through today were put in place. We were active in church and community, committed to kids and home and family, willing to do things ourselves and starting to slip into a rut. But it was in this birth year that I decided to learn to do the things I really wanted to do, so I learned to decorate cakes and sew. Sewing changed everything, became an overwhelming obsession and the fuel for much of my life. It's interesting, that choice has driven design, time, hobbies and is the primary reason I'm a band uniform mom.
40 - The year of massive change. A move to Virginia. A call to ministry. A seminary education. Return to employment and then ordination. I call it the year I turned everything upside down. These are the years when that haunting feeling began to creep in. The feeling that I might wake up one day and have missed my own life. That one day, the girls I had invested my life in were going to leave me and then what? Having left what was home and the picture of life we had built over so many years in Georgia, having found out we were living in a rut and seeing the picture shatter, having done the hard work to get out of the rut, these things meant the future was wide open as well. What now?
50 - And so I've made it to 50, 51 really. It seems at this point that life needs drastic change every decade to remain living and not begin dying. It's less predictable than I always thought it was, way more out-of-control and both more fun and more painful than I'd have ever believed. This year I did way too many funerals and have found they marked me deeply. I have a sense of the urgency of life that I've never had before. I can see the downhill slope and am aware of its presence. At 5 years each I'll only own 6 or 7 more cars! Some things will simply never be and others will happen without plans.
This would be really scary, and it is some times. This would be really wild, and it is sometimes. But there is one constant that kept me at 10, 20, 30, 40 & 50 from utter fear or wild abandon. There is one constant that I know can be counted on at 60, 70 & even 80. Before the first 0 birthday, even before the day of my birth there was God. No matter where i went or what choices I made, there was God. No matter where I go or choices I make, there will be God. I'd like to say that settles all anxiety, calms every nerve, gives certain direction for the day, week and year...but it doesn't. What God does do is provide hope, not the fulfillment of my wishes, but hope in a greater plan than I can imagine. Hope in love and provision. Hope in the future, what ever that may look like.