Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A New Year

Today is July 5.

29 years ago, in 1977, I came into this world rather uneventfully…my Mom went into labor after the fireworks that night and I was here by lunchtime. I joke today that I just wanted to see what all the commotion was for.

Almost 7/7/77. But not quite.

I like to think of myself as the “encore” to the fireworks. You know, when you think they are done, and you’re just about to grab your keys and try to find your car, BAM—here comes a huge unexpected burst of noise and color? That’s me. :)

My first word was “no.” As in, “No—don’t you dare tell me I can’t do something.”

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m already 29. When my parents were 29, they had been married for almost 7 years and had both of their kids. It makes me realize how young they were.

I’ve been very blessed with this life of mine. This training has me feeling pretty reflective lately, and the more I train and the more days go by, the more I realize how lucky I am to be able, both physically and emotionally, to do this. 29 years is a long time, but still not that long.

29 years old.

That’s the age that, when I was a kid, I heard a lot of people my parents age joke that they were turning on their birthdays. “How old are you, So-and-So? Why, I’m 29—ha ha ha.” I remember hearing that when I was a kid, thinking, “No you’re not. I know you’re 37.” I always wondered how 29 became this arbitrary line, as if no one wanted to be any older than that. As if after 29, everything goes downhill.

I look at my parents lives and see how much happiness they have had since they were 29, and I just don’t buy it. I don’t buy that it goes downhill from here.

So in my 29 years, I have experienced a lot of things, but not nearly as much as some people.

I’ve gotten to cross the finish line in 2 marathons, smiling both times, family by my side.

I got to go to college and make some of the best friends I could ever have hoped for.

I’ve been to Disney World twice.

I’ve watched too many loved ones lose battles with Alzheimer’s, Lymphoma, heart disease, and cancer.

I’ve backpacked the Grand Canyon with some of my closest friends.

I stood under a waterfall in St. Lucia and Puerto Rico.

I married my best friend.

I’ve leaned against the Berlin Wall.

I’ve been denied an opportunity I really wanted.

I received my M.A. on a full scholarship.

I’ve caught a ball with my face and broken my nose in a softball game, hit one career home run, but never any triples.

My big toe was bitten by a crab in Cape Cod when I was 5, and my Dad didn’t believe me until we got out of the Atlantic Ocean. We still laugh about it.

I have a picture of me in front of the Twin Towers—the same tower I and so many others lost a college classmate to on September 11, 2001.

I’ve been really scared.

In my short 29 years, I’ve felt unbelievable pain and loss. But, the joy I’ve felt outweighs the pain. For every setback I’ve had, I’ve been blessed and lucky to have what feels like 10 good things happen.

This Ironman is coming up, faster than I ever thought it would. I know that this day will be full of challenges and probably a lot of pain. In fact, it will probably be the most painful and challenging day I’ve ever had in my 29 years.

But if that’s the case—if on September 10th I feel the most pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life—then on that day, (to paraphrase the great Lou Gehrig)

I will be the luckiest girl on the face of the earth.

28 comments:

Flo said...

Happy Birthday!!!!! My daughters due date was July 4, 1977. I, of course, wanted her to be born on 7/7/77; no such luck. She held out till 7/19. Have a great birthday!!!

bunnygirl said...

Happy Birthday!

29 is a great age-- so many things come together between 28 and 30.

Trust me, it only gets better.

Here's to many more birthdays!

TryAthlete said...

Happy Birthday Sara!

RunBubbaRun said...

Happy Birthday!!

Doing great in your IM training.. keep it up..

Have a great day.. hope to ride with you'all this weekend at IMWI.

Scott said...

Happy Birthday Sara. OMG you couldn't pay me to be 29 again (well maybe physically....). Don't believe anyone who tells you that it's all downhill after 29. In fact, it doesn't get really GOOD until you're 40!

The way you put yourself out into the universe give me great joy.

Jodi said...

Happy Birthday, Sara!

Chad Austin said...

Happy Birthday! Dang, to be 29 again.

"I like to think of myself as the “encore” to the fireworks."

I like that.

walchka said...

Happy Birthday Sara. Great pics btw...

E-Speed said...

Happy Birthday!

TriBoomer said...

Sarah,

Happy Birthday!

Lovely post. It's posts like yours that has me hooked on reading blogs and inspired me to start my own.

Stay tuned...

Spence said...

Hippo-Birdie Two Ewe!!! 29 was one of my favorite years... but I gotta say, women in their 30s are just the best...so you have EVERYTHING to look forward to. Enjoy the last of the 20s and know there are only good things to come. Yay for Cancer birthdays!!

Spence said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe said...

Happy birthday!

I'm 37 and in my case, looking back, life didn't really begin until I turned 30. Right now I'm having the time of my life and I wouldn't trade it to go back to my twenties.

Of course, I do know lots of people that started to decline in their thirties. You only get out what your put in though. If you keep up the exercise, the healthy living and your competitive spirit, you'll have many great years ahead of you.

marz_racer said...

Happy Birthday! I'm also a 29 year old triathlete persuing the Ironman goal. 29 is young, I'm just getting started. If life is downhill after 30, does that mean I will race faster next year?

DaisyDuc said...

Happy birthday lady!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks goodness we don't celebrate 29 like 21 because that is an awful lot of shots!!

What a wonderful encore you have been!

Age 29 is going to be your year!

Kim said...

Happy Birthday Sweetie!!!

Sounds like your 29 years on Earth have been filled with memories that you will take with you forever.

Did you drink 29 beers in celebration?!

jkrunning--Just Keep Running said...

Great post Sara!! Happy Birthday. I love your reference to the post fire works surprise.

Wil said...

AHHH! Happy b-day sis! You puppy! (OK, I'm only three years older. Still!) We're are SOO celebrating this weekend for you! And your post totally gave me chills...

Just12Finish said...

Happy Birthday Sara! You can absolutely be the encore, and I'll keep thinking I was the reason for the fireworks in the first place (7/3/**)!

Looks like you've lived a full life till now. You're right, the fun never ends, but you won't have the same kind of fun from 30-40 as you did from 20-30, unless of course you don't ever act your age.

And THEN, life begins at 40 ;)

Running Rabbit said...

Encore to the fireworks...cute.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope you are eating cake!

Eric said...

Happy B-Day girl. 29...Big freakin' deal. Age is what you make of it, feel young, be young. Just ask Aimee, I'm a 16 year old in a 39 year old body, raging hormones ;0

I already think you are the luckiest girl on earth and I'm lucky to have you as a friend.

Michele said...

Hope you had a great Birthday.

Loved the post

rice said...

I hear life after 50 is nothing but a series of illnesses one of which is going to kill you.. Can’t say anything for sure on that, I’m not 50 yet but I can tell you that life got SO much better after 30. I looked at it as a point were I was done the first 30 years, I got at least 30 more to go and I got all the basics covered. I know how to walk, read, spell (most of the time, but there is spell check) All these things done, so its like hitting the ground running. It’s awesome. I did start, at 30, sending my mom and dad flowers on my birthday every year, I just thought that they had a little to do with me being able to enjoy this life. Have a great one.

Cheers.

Rice.

greyhound said...

29 and solid iron. And how blessed to know how blessed you are.

Can't wait. I'll see YOU at the finish line.

qcmier said...

Buon compleanno!

BuckeyeRunner said...

Happy Birthday, Sara!!!

Siren said...

I cried when I turned 29 because it was so close to 30 and I sobbed when I turned 30 because I guess I thought my life was over. Turns out it was just getting good... I was never so happy to learn that everything people say is true - it felt like life really started for me at 30. You've already had so many fantastic experiences you'll know how to handle the fabulousness of your 30s no problem!

Sherri said...

Happy (belated) Birthday, Sara! I love this post. I love the list. I turned 29 this past Sunday, and already, I feel like it is just the beginning. Again, Happy Birthday and here's to many, many more!