In the Armenian tradition, when you have a birthday, you “enter” the following year. For example, I turned 39 this past November, and therefore entered my 40th year. This has always caused me to think I’m a year older than I actually am. I believe that age is just a number, so it’s never bothered me that I do this.
So at my last birthday when I turned 39 and immediately started thinking I was 40, I started contemplating how to celebrate the big 4-0. I LOVED turning 30. Loved it. A singer friend from NYC came out and performed at our house and we celebrated with friends and family. I was happy to leave those uncertain and tumultuous 20s behind, and I’ve never looked back.
I’m looking forward to my 40s, and hopefully will bring in that new decade with a trip to Paris. But all this talk about my 40s is a bit premature. I’m still 39.
The boys were home last Monday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. They both learned about him at school leading up to the holiday. They asked my in-laws if they remembered when things weren’t “equal” for boys and girls, when African-Americans had to sit at the back of the bus and go to different schools and use different bathrooms. They were amazed that my in-laws watched the “I Have a Dream” speech on television.
In reading through the worksheets on MLK they brought home, something stood out to me that I had never noticed before. King was gunned down when he was 39 years old. I always thought he was so much older, but he was my age. He was killed trying to make the world a better place, and he accomplished his dreams and is a hero. At 39 years old, what have I accomplished? I hope to at least be a hero to my own children by my care for them and being an example on how to treat others and teaching them to know Jesus.
It made me stop thinking about the decade to come or even the year ahead, and just focus on today.
OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.