So, last Sunday I celebrated my 29th birthday. I went into the weekend feeling a little sorry for myself. I made fun of my husband for being older than me (by a month) and probably irritated my friends and family who are  older than me by a few years and some by a few decades. I whined and I wined. I mean, no one really wants to get older, right?

When the actual day rolled around, I reflected. I realized that what it means to grow older means so much more to me now than I expected it would or could.

I’m a planner. Always have been, always will be, and when I was younger, I thought a lot about “growing up.” I daydreamed about my wedding, what it would be like to be a real grown-up with a job, having kids, yada yada yada. Well, now I’m here and I’m almost 30, and I’m thinking, what’s next? What do I plan for now? Then, it dawned on me! The rest of my life, and Emma-Kate’s life, and Andrew’s life is what’s next… There is so much life ahead, and that’s just plain awesome.

Yes, the fact that life goes on and there’s more of it left to live is obvious, but what I mean to say is that I had one of those why-didn’t-I-get-it-before? moments. I am where I’ve always wanted to be – I have an amazing husband, a beautiful daughter, tons of loving and supportive family and friends, and a DREAM job. Now, when I think about my birthday, I think that the best part is that I’ve lived another year, I’ve learned, I’ve grown and I’m excited to see what comes next.

This is a point in my life that I’ll likely think back on as a major milestone. I finally feel like the “grown up” I’d always dreamt of being, and the future that’s in front of me is wide open. There’s still dreaming and planning, but it’s a different kind of dream. A different kind of plan. I’m not fantasizing about what my life will be like, I’m dreaming of the future of the life I have now. To me, that is powerful. It’s inspiring. And I can’t wait for what’s to come.

And of course, no blog post is complete without a photo, so I’m including a new headshot that my friend and videographer, Jason Shivers, took of me during a recent project…. So, here I am. Smiling and darn happy about being 29.