What I Want At 34

October 24, 2016

I had to take a quick selfie on my way into the subway, but this is 34!

On Friday, I turned 34 and kept it pretty low-key to celebrate the day. I slept in a little, went to brunch with Jordan at Sarabeth’s (lemon ricotta pancakes, oh my!), was forced to spend some money on myself, and, per my request, had a delicious fried chicken dinner with our family — all prepared by Jordan.

I also got showered with love through phone calls and messages, which I have to say, impresses me so. I’m the friend who thinks about your birthday sev-er-al times throughout the day, and each time tell myself I’ll call when I finish whatever current task I’m wrapped up in. Next thing I know (said in your best old black man voice), I’m calling at 9:00 p.m., if I’m lucky. Seriously, if you ever get a birthday call from me before 1:00 p.m., consider yourself to have experienced a real-life miracle.

As we walked around the city on Friday, Jordan asked me, “what are you hoping for this year?” It takes me awhile to process questions like these, so my first answer was the somewhat obvious, “To continue enjoying the people I love, our home, and our city.”

After giving it some more thought over the day and weekend, here’s also what I really want:

I want to end more of my days feeling like what I’ve done is enough.

Too many times, I climb into bed at night and start a list in my head of all the things I could have done or should have done but didn’t. Not only do I make the list, but I typically follow it up with beating myself up and wishing I had more, that I was more. More of some character trait — more disciplined, more punctual, more efficient, more kind, more focused, more energetic, more responsive to text messages (I’m sorry, y’all! I see your text, and God’s not through with me yet.)

This isn’t an excuse to not try or work hard, but it is permission to not be perfect. To realize embrace my limitations. To trust that God can take care of me in spite of those limitations. To move from a place of fear and judgment about where I fell short to a place of rest and acceptance about who I am as a child loved by God.

This year, after I’ve tried my best — or even just my pretty good — I want to climb into bed and say, “That was enough.”

Did you set any intentions on your last birthday? I’d love to hear them. storiedstyled34birthday

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  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 8:45 am

    This and all of this! I was reading and nodding/mmm’ing the whole time :-)

    P.S. 34 looks great on you! #selfiegamestrong

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      October 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks, my dear! I do a similar nod and inner smile when I read your posts!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    I agree with Christina, your selfie game is strong. You look amazing walking into 34 #blackdontcrack #melaninpoppin #benjaminbuttongrace

    Your hope for this year is one I’d like to embrace as well. I also go to bed ruminating on all of my deficiencies – Lord knows there are many but I have also been challenged by God to be in a place of rest. To receive His grace. To stop feeling like I need to work, earn, and strive to be seen by Him; by anyone.

    I didn’t have a chance to think about what I am hoping on my actual birthday but this year I’ve been praying “Lord teach me to number my days so that I may gain a heart of wisdom.” I’ve been learning to slow down, to take everything in, not to rush through life and its seasons too soon.

    I’ve also been thinking about the kind of woman a want to be: someone who loves with reckless abandon, fiercely and deeply, who walks in integrity and spiritual freedom, a woman at peace, a trusted friend and companion, more like Jesus. I know I won’t be all these things at once. I do trust that as I settle into each day listening to God’s voice these traits will become a part of me in due time.

    Happy birthday again my sweet friend! I love you!


    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      October 26, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks so much, my dear. Glad to know I’m not alone in my struggles for perfection, and I love all of the things you’re praying for. You’re right that we can’t be all the things we want at once, but it’s nice to take the steps to walk with God and see how He molds us. Love you!

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