I had just finished a run at Milliken Park. Being my birthday, I pushed myself a little bit further than I wanted to go. Grabbing a Gatorade from my car, I pulled off my headphones and plopped down under the shade of a tree. After a few minutes, I breathed deeply and looked around. A mother and child were feeding ducks by the pond in the distance. A steady breeze slid clouds across a deep blue sky.
It was one of those moments ripe for deep personal reflection. I stretched out my legs and lowered my head down to the earth. Looking up at the rustling green leaves, I began to talk to God. Yet after a few minutes I noticed something out of the corner of my eye: it was a Canadian goose charging right at me. I grabbed my stuff and scurried to my car. Geese and swans look harmless but they are actually feathered nightmare beasts. I learned this in college.
I had to chuckle to myself as I sat in the car. I felt like I was about to have an epiphany. And not just any epiphany, but a birthday epiphany. I tend to put this weight on May 21 because my personal calendar turns over another year. I feel the need to get my crap together, to recenter, to have moments of profound insight. Sometimes those moments come, but more often I get chased to the car by a Canadian goose. Insights come, but they come trickling in from all over the calendar; not just on my birthday.
Yet there is something to be said for taking stock of one's life and so that is still something that I will try to do.
I am not going to miss being 31. There were many good things that happened, but I could write paragraphs on the difficult parts of that twelve month journey. In fact, I just wrote and deleted two paragraphs trying to sum it all up and then wrote and deleted another two explaining it from another angle. I am going to make a strong attempt at not dwelling on those things. Today I am 32. That does not magically change things, but it does give me hope.
This year I want to recover a closeness in my relationship with God. I want to not live in fear of what others think of me. I want to be brave yet gracious. I want to actually pursue my calling wholeheartedly. I want to apply the lessons I have learned about myself and my insecurities with others. I want to love my family and friends and build stronger community. I want to stop referring to this period as one of destabilization, but of new possibilities.
Reading that, it all comes off as a bit cheesy. But those are my hopes. With the help of God and others, I hope that pieces of those hopes come trickling in even if the occasional Canadian goose gets in the way.