IT IS MY BIRTHDAY!
I am a little obsessed with birthdays. Not just mine, but people close to me. I think birthdays should be celebrated and not just a day we shrug off and joke about how we’re getting older. You have lived another year! You have had new experiences. You have done things. You have built relationships. These are things to celebrate! If you don’t believe my obsession, ask anyone who knows me. I tell people all month that my birthday is coming up. I throw myself parties. I have #23DaysOfKarlyn on Instagram (@karlyn_wilkes). I. LOVE. BIRTHDAYS. I was born on Thanksgiving Day so maybe I had the thankfulness gene fused into me at the hospital.
During college I had themed parties. Karaoke, Harry Potter, Disney, and Prom themed to be exact. The rules were simple-come prepped for the theme or get it. We had some fantastic costumes at them all and we always had a lot of fun.
Looking back at this year there is a lot of laughs and things to smile about, but there is also a lot of heartache and sadness. This year has arguably been the toughest year for me. I had to learn what all went into a deployment. Thankfully Jason was not in a combat zone, but deployment was still hard. For 9 months of my 26th year I was without my partner. I had to learn how it felt to know I wouldn’t get to see the man I love for almost 270 days. No physical contact. No way for him to hug me and tell me it will be okay. Communication was spotty because of the 15 hour time change. When I got up and was going to work, even though it was super early, he was going to sleep. When he woke up, I was in the midst of my afternoon of work. When I would be going to bed, he would be at work. It was an endless cycle of missing each other, of short texts without much depth. It was hard.
I also had to leave my job, my friends, and the place that had been my home for 8 years. Moving is exciting and full of new adventures, but it is also hard. It is hard to leave the people I spent every day with. Hard to leave my roommate and best friend. Hard to leave my routine. Hard to leave the places I know and the people I go there with. I had a job that I absolutely loved. I was a strength and conditioning coach at my alma mater and worked with some of the best athletes in the country on a daily basis. I enjoyed my co-workers and had many friends through my job. I had a church that gave me friends, worship, fellowship, conviction, and made me excited about my walk with God. I left pseudo-moms and people I know I will keep in my life forever.
I also built deeper relationships with people. I was able to make some new friendships and deepen many that I already had. I relied on my friends to help me during this hard year. I am forever grateful for that. I learned about the strength I have and how to lean on God during difficulty. I learned, thanks to a therapist, that I am allowed to be sad and tell people I need them. I am allowed to say no and stick up for myself. I do not have to be the strong one who holds it together. I know these lessons will stick with me and help me through the next deployment or the next difficult move.
I also got to do some super awesome things! I got to visit a college friend and camp in Taos. I visited my parents and gallivanted around Europe for 5 weeks. I had a weekly happy hour group with some of the most amazing women in Lubbock. I cuddled with my puppies. I hung out at the pool. I had my 10 year reunion of winning the state championships in basketball. My little brother got married. I laughed way too hard at reality TV. I went to Disneyland with my little cousins. I watched the broncos win the Super Bowl. I ran 1000 miles. I had girls trips. I went to balls, weddings, and baby showers. I got to welcome my man home. I had so many positive experiences.
To everyone who has been with me at any point in my 27 years, thank you. Some of you I may no longer keep in close contact with, but you still made an impact on me in some way. To those of you who helped me through this past year, you rock. Now, let’s party like its 1989, happy birthday to me!