A few years ago I wrote the below excerpt just after my 31st birthday. Despite the optimism expressed, 31 was not a stand out year one way or the other. In many ways it was difficult.
But these first few weeks of 35 have been really great and I find the below excerpt uniquely expresses my optimism so I pulled it from my archives to share. I am also reasonbly sure that on my 35th birthday - like my 31st - I forgot to make any sort of wish when I leaned over the cake my mom made for me, surrounded by so many loving friends and family. With so much love and support surrounding me I just didn't think I needed anything more. Rather than feeling pressed down with what feels like a milestone birthday, I feel accomplished, confident, strong and buoyed up. I think completing a major goal like Ragnar days before probably helped.
At any rate, I'm facing 35 with an optimism I can only equate with my 25th year. A birthday I celebrated my first summer in New York City. And that year certainly brought about some amazing opportunities and changes.
The lights went off, the singing started and two trays of cupcakes with far too many candles approached. Someone yelled "make a wish" as I closed my eyes, sucked in as much air as my asthmatic lungs would allow and blew as hard as I could across the first tray of far too spaced out candles as another onlooker advised me against spitting on the cupcakes. . . I ran out of air. There had to be nearly 40 candles and I maybe got 20 in one puff. Maybe the rule should be you are only the age of the number of candles you can blow out on the first attempt. Maybe I hit 25.
My failure to extinguish 31 candles (plus the others that were for "good luck") in a single blow means my wish won't come true. But what happens if I got caught up in the moment and forgot to make a wish? I know what the wish would have been, what it should have been and what it always is. It is the same wish I trot out upon seeing a single star twinkling in the sky, the first star I see at night - when I manage to look up past the neon lights, past the skyscrapers and find a little strip of sky with a star (not a plane) strong enough to stare back. It is the same wish I repeat without thought when I read some silly email forward that promises me my wish will come true if I just answer their very serious questions honestly and pass the email to my 20 closest friends. The same wish that creeps to the forefront of my mind and tugs at my heart, unnecessarily reminding me it is still there even when I don't have so much as a wayward eyelash to wish upon. Waiting. Hoping one day to move out of the closed-off, heavily guarded area at the back of my mind reserved for secret hopes and fantastic dreams to settle into the open forefront where sunshine and laughter will welcome the wish into reality.
I just failed to think it. I forgot to make my worn-out wish.
So maybe my failure to take a moment to aritculate the tired, over used wish means this is the year it will come true because I forgot to spring it from the lock-box, dust it off and use another set of candles to help my wish along. Maybe a forgotten star is already working on the wish and it has slipped out of the box without my noticing.