I turned 36 last week . . . here is why that is AWESOME

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Rewind to a week ago, it was the night before my birthday.  Yes, you know, that day that we tend to dread as we get older.  A conversation with a friend went something like this:

   He said: “Tomorrow is your birthday right?”

   I said: “Yes (with that tone of, don’t remind me, it isn’t as fun as it used to be when we were 8 and got My Little Ponies and pizza sleepover parties)”b2ap3_thumbnail_birthday_girl_36_35_button.jpg

   He said: “That’s AWESOME”

   I said: “Uh, I guess!  LOL   I wouldn’t really consider using that word to describe getting older”

When I got home I went to bed, didn’t think much of it.  The next morning, I was woken up by two sweet little boys bouncing into my bedroom yelling “Happy Birthday Mommy!”  I was surprised when my 7 year old said, “It’s Your Birthday, It’s going to be AWESOME! “  There was that word again, AWESOME.

A few hours later, as I glanced through the hundreds of Happy Birthday messages from friends (as well as acquaintances who seem to post once a year when they wish me a Happy Birthday – because let’s face it, we all know we do it), I noticed one person said “Happy Birthday, hope your day is AWESOME this year and every year!”

So, it got me thinking.  Could turning 36 years old really be AWESOME?  Perhaps I had been looking at birthdays in my 30’s all the wrong way!  So many of us, after our 20’s tend to think negatively about our birthdays, no matter how old we are getting.  But, maybe we shouldn’t.  I have done a lot in my 36 years so far, but when I think about another 36 I know there are so many more experiences that still await me!

When one first looks at the meaning of AWESOME, you may notice that it is partially defined as “inspiring an overwhelming feeling of fear.”  Well of course as we get older this is what our birthdays do to us.  We start to feel older, look older, and our self-confidence (especially in women) can start to turn downhill.  But that day, when I turned 36, I decided to look at it in a different way. 

Fast forward to now and here I am a week later reveling in all the glory of being 36 and what it means to be AWESOME!   You see, I took a look at what the rest of the definition of AWESOME says: “very impressive: inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, inducing awe.”

We as moms and women in a society defined by thin, gorgeous models don’t take the time to stop and realize how AWESOME we really are.  I am here to tell you all that you need to feel good about yourselves and toot your own horns sometimes, or at least on the one day a year that should be ALL ABOUT YOU!  Your Birthday!  It is hard to speak highly of ourselves.  It is hard to feel vulnerable or judged.  But, I am here to start; I am taking a deep breath and telling you why I am AWESOME.  Now, I apologize for my day of AWESOMENESS being a week late, as it is no longer my actual birthday.  But, as you will see in a minute from the below paragraphs, I have been a little busy and well, tonight feels more like my actual birthday with what is getting ready to happen!

Certainly as with any mother, there is the obvious, I have 2 beautiful little boys who are my world!  But, I also pride myself so much on what I am doing for me and accomplishing that also keeps me “Whitney” and not just “mom.”  I work full-time outside the home 40 hours a week!   I make AWESOME personalized crafts for people.  I run this non-profit organization and keep up with trying to gain support to give back to the community as much as possible.   I somehow keep our world organized and moving without losing my mind and I am pretty pleased most of the time that my stress level stays fairly low.

But, for me, this year, on this birthday, my definition of AWESOME has been taken to a whole new level! You see, I grew up singing and dancing and have always loved performing, especially in Broadway musicals.  I took a huge leap of faith a few months ago and decided to audition for a show here locally.  I haven’t done a show in a long time and I decided it was time I did something for a change that was for me.  I was nervous and scared and quite frankly in AWE of all of the AWESOME girls in the audition room that day!  Girls that were much, much younger than me.  Girls that were thin and gorgeous,  LOL.  But I held my head high and I did what I knew I was good at.  To my surprise a few weeks later I got a msg from the Director telling me he was casting me as one of the leads in his upcoming show!

So, here I am, in all my glory of being 36 years old, opening a show tonight that I have always wanted to perform in.  Actors sort of always create this little bucket list of shows in their head that they always wish they could play.  For me, one of those was Velma Kelly in Chicago!  Today is the day that I get to fulfill that wish.  When the curtain goes up at 7:30 pm at CenterStage of Louisville, I will be there on stage as Velma and for 2.5 hours I hope the word people will see on my face is AWESOME.  I am one of the oldest in the cast, and though I may not look like a lot of the other younger cast members, my heart is in it just the same.

b2ap3_thumbnail_I-m-not-36.jpgIt has taken me longer I think than anyone to remember my lines - yep, the forgetful mommy brain doesn’t go away just because I decide to do a show.  It has taken a toll on my body, which I thought I had gotten into pretty good shape after having two babies but nope, kicking your face off and climbing over chairs just isn’t the same once you have early arthritis set in!   I went into this remembering in my head what it felt like to be 18 performing in high school musicals.  I forgot that I know have another 18 years on my bones that don’t quite remember what that used to be like!  LOL  But in the end I still pinch myself that I am doing this at all. 

I hope that my performance comes off as “impressive” and gives other moms an “overwhelming feeling of admiration.”  If nothing else, hopefully people will at least clap really loudly for me as I cartwheel in the finale every night!  I remember doing those when I was 10 in gymnastics class and being scared as I closed my eyes and pushed my legs over my head.  I am still a little nervous each night when I head into that cartwheel, especially because after 2 hours of dancing in three inch heels, I feel like my legs are going to give out.  But, boy is it AWESOME when I stand up!  It really has been a labor of love.  I love that I am showing my kids how important it is to have something you work really hard at and you are devoted to.  I love that I am showing other moms that anything is possible when you believe for at least a day that you are AWESOME and that this day and everything about it is AWESOME! 

If you want to see what I mean, come see the show!  Details are below because hey, it wouldn’t be right for me not to tout it right?  But, I encourage you to do something AWESOME for you and find your day to be AWESOME too!  All moms deserve it, whether you are 26, 36, 46 or any other number.  It really is just a number; your day is all about what you make of it.

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The musical will run from September 4th-20th, and tickets start at just $20.


Performance dates for Chicago are:

Thursday, September 4 - 7:30pm

Saturday, September 6 - 7:30pm

Sunday, September 7 – 2 pm

Sunday, September 7 - 7 pm

Tuesday, September 9 - 7:30pm

Thursday, September 11 - 7:30pm

Sunday, September 14 - 2 pm

Sunday, September 14 - 7 pm

Monday, September 15 - 7:30pm

Tuesday, September 16 - 7:30pm

Thursday, September 18 - 7:30pm

Saturday, September 20 - 7:30pm

Box Office: (502) 238-2709. 
Box Office Hours:  Monday- Thursday 9 a.m.- 8:30 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday Noon-5 p.m. 
The Box Office and Will Call open one hour prior to show time.
All performances are held in the Rebecca Barnet Linker Auditorium at the Jewish Community Center located at 3600 Dutchmans Lane in Louisville, KY.
The theatre opens for seating 30 minutes prior to show time. All seating is General Admission- first come, first served.