I love Birthdays. Seriously love them.

It’s the one day of the year when you can do whatever you want, within reason, and it’s completely and totally okay. Feel like eating an entire cake? Wouldn’t recommend it, but if you want to – go for it. Want to sleep all day? Or get a massage? Or buy a frivolous coffee drink, or two? Sure. It’s your Birthday. Have at it.

People want you to be happy on your Birthday. You’re showered with messages and phone calls, cards and gifts, and social media takes on a whole new level of excitement with each Birthday post notification.

On your Birthday, you feel extra loved and cared for. Who doesn’t want that?

I know I do.

This year, I started my special day by attending church, and brunch, with my family. It was the perfect way to begin this new chapter. The service was on the importance of making space for silence and solitude – two things that aren’t always easy to come by nowadays in our world of electronics and constant connection.

She talked a little about cell phones and how instead of sitting in the silence, we fill the space with games, social media, texts, scrolling through news, and on and on – the options are endless.

After listening to her speak, I felt convicted and challenged.

Have I become uncomfortable with silence? How often do I allow myself to be still?

Not often.

In fact, when I’m at home, I usually walk around the house with my phone in hand. I carry it with me from room to room as I make beds, put away laundry, water plants. It’s like an extension of my body.

I realized, as I listened to her speak, that in my next year of life, I desire to sit more in the space of silence and solitude. To not be afraid to go into a room and just sit. Breathe. Meditate. Pray. Be still.

And that’s not all I hope for in this next year of life.

I want to write and paint more. My dream is to write a book. Maybe that dream can become a reality? I long to fill canvases with brightly colored paint. To sit. And create. With words. And color.

I desire to spend more time investing in the lives of those I love – with handwritten cards and words of affirmation, meals and coffee drop offs. I want to be present. And available.

I long to have a deeper relationship with God. And with those He has put in my life. My husband. Children. Extended family. Friends. Neighbors.

I wish for more time outdoors, in nature. I hope to try new things. And have adventures. Be intentional with my time. And view each day as the beautiful gift that it is.

It’s easy to focus on the the wrinkles and gray hairs and parts of the body that are starting to sag as we get older, but if we look past the superficial exterior – aging really is a beautiful thing. The older I get, the more I grow into myself. I’m comfortable in my own skin, and not as reliant on the words or praise of others to let me know I am okay. I’m not afraid to say, “no” and won’t own things I don’t need to. On the flip side, I also try to be quick to apologize for the things I do need to take ownership of.

Birthdays are like a reset for me. Another year has passed, and a new one, filled with incredible potential and possibility, is beginning.

As I reflect on this past year, my heart feels a deep sense of gratitude. There have been highs, and lows, and lots of in-between. There have been times of great joy, and moments of sadness. We have received good news, and news that was not easy to hear. There have been struggles. And successes.

I used to think that being in your 40’s sounded so ancient. So old. Now, I believe it’s the best decade I have experienced yet.

No, I know it’s the best decade I have experienced yet.

And I imagine, with each passing year, it will just keep getting better.

I would love to here what you think. Please feel free to comment below.