On 42

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
On 42

I turn 42 tomorrow.

Birthdays are always reflective, at least once you pass a certain age, and mine is made more so by the fact that this birthday will be sandwiched by a funeral on one side and a wedding on the other side (and a black eye in the middle.)

On one hand, at 42 birthdays have become so much less of an event (as a dear friend of mine recently pointed out; “really, who gives a @#!*?”). On the other hand, at 42 birthdays are also so much more of a gift. By this point we know that it is a blessing to be able to celebrate a birthday. It is a gift to even receive that day.

At the funeral I attended this past weekend, a friend of the departed distributed packs of flower seeds that she had tilled from her own garden, so that we may all be able to remember this ending, and the one we lost, next spring when life and all its blossoms begins anew. At the wedding we’ll be attending this upcoming weekend, I’ll be able to watch my daughter spread a path of blooming flowers to signify the lives that are being intertwined and all that is beginning in that moment. It’s truly amazing to think about the cycle of life, and how endings are always accompanied by beginnings, and how beginnings and endings are all around us, all the time. For me, these latest two are simply reminders not to forget that.  But they are also reminders not to forget about all that takes place in the middle.

So, tomorrow I will pull out the fantastic pink high top converse that my husband so lovingly got me as I hit the 40-mark, and I will soak in the day and I will paint it with gratitude. I mean, what else should I really spend the day doing but saying thank you?

Thank you to my amazing husband with his creative mind and loving spirit and amazing daddy skills. Thank you to my unstoppable parents and their daily support in our lives. Thank you to my most remarkable children who surprise and delight me every moment of every day. Thank you to the Colts. Thank you to my dynamic employer and the fellow colleagues that inhabit my work-life, who feel more like family than anything else. Thank you to the length and beauty of the actual family that surrounds me, from siblings to in-laws to nieces and nephews to cousins and more. Thank you to the crisp fall air and the sight of mums and pumpkins. Thank you to friends that go back decades. Thank you to warm soup and good wine. Thank you to messy houses and endless piles of laundry. Thank you to a steaming mug of coffee. Thank you to the sunrise and the sunset and the strange hot air balloons that have recently been spotted in our neighborhood. Thank you to random pets and black eyes. Thank you to the invention of “bathowers” (bath + shower) and Taco Tuesdays. Thank you to music and thank you to silence. Thank you to laughter; thank you so much, laughter. Thank you to good books. Thank you to cookies and cucumbers and mini-vans and drive-thrus and funny t.v. and purple pens and boots. Thank you to big purses and big hugs. Thank you to holidays and get-togethers. Just… thank you, to all of it.   Tomorrow I will consciously stand in awe of all the blessings that fill my “middle.”

What blessings can you find in this day, birthday or not?  


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.