Two days ago was my 23rd birthday.

Something funny happened between my 21st and 23rd birthdays where getting a year older lost its appeal. I joined the bazillions of adults who don’t want to get older, who resent the passing of time. And for most of us, it isn’t actual youth that we lament. I don’t feel old. I know I’m not. What makes 23 more uncomfortable than 22 are my own expectations for myself, unmet for another year. The passing of another year forces us to revisit those ideas of “I thought I would be _________ by now.”

But the blow of another birthday was softened considerably this year. I started the day with a gathering at the house of some friends from the Mission. It was our monthly prayer meeting, complete with a delicious cake with my name on it. This would have been enough to make the day special.

Then I went out with Laura, my supervisor’s wife and a great mentor and friend since we have been here. We went and got tacos in my favorite trendy part of town, Palermo Soho. This would also have been enough to make the day special.

But then as I returned home from our evening out, I was confused to find my apartment full of people and balloons and food and WHAT IS GOING ON. It’s this sort of discovery that makes embarrassing words come out of people’s mouths. (Luckily didn’t happen.) My fabulous-sneaky-tall roommate had been planning the thing for weeks—amassing a guest list and balloons and party supplies—and I had been completely unaware. For  weeks.

There was a delightful mix of my favorite people in Argentina in attendance. I felt so full and so rich and so loved. By people that I hadn’t even met three months ago.

Starting life over from scratch is difficult, but it can be oh-so-full sometimes. And just rich. And my missing home and people and beach is okay because God fills the cracks with new people and scarves and besos.

This year, my birthday was not spent trying to measure up to my own expectations. This year my expectations for myself are eclipsed by the unexpected blessings from the Lord. Truly the beginning of contentment is freeing yourself from expectations and being grateful for the reality of His provision.

We’ll call it my resolution for year 24.



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