37 Thoughts on the day after I turned 37


My birthday was yesterday. I turned 37 years old, which seems a little ridiculous. I don’t feel that old and simultaneously,  I also feel much older. Anyhoo… here are 37 birthday thoughts, just a day late.

  1. I get lax on leaving birthday greetings on facebook walls, but then my own birthday hits and I smile at the kindness from all the friends and family.
  2. On that note… how fun is it to get real mail? Birthday cards are the best!
  3. A few people sang to me yesterday. That makes me smile.
  4. Last year, Grandma Benton sang to me on my birthday. It was the only time in my life that I remember hearing her sing.
  5. Grandma sang off key… way off key. It took a stroke for her to lose the inhibitions and filter that kept her from singing loudly. But it was the most beautiful serenade I have ever received. I miss her.
  6. This was my first birthday without a grandparent. That’ll age a person quickly.
  7. I spent my morning at the church, hosting coffee for church and town people who wanted to stop by. IT WAS FUN!
  8. In the afternoon, I helped the Presbyterian Women take treats for coffee time to a care center and IT WAS FUN!
  9. I used to think I really liked adolescents and teenagers. I enjoy talking to them and asking all sorts of questions.
  10. Turns out I just like people. I enjoy talking to most of them, no matter their age.
  11. I was feeling a little old after asking my husband my age. (Since 30, I’ve never really known my age without stopping to subtract 79 from the year.)
  12. Then, I talked with Helen. She’s 106. I’m just starting the 2nd 3rd of my life if I live to be 106.
  13. She said it’s lonely after 100. Most of your friends are gone.
  14. I asked if she made new friends and a smile spread across her face. “New friends are good, too,” she said.
  15. We let age become a barrier to friendship too often. I want to have friendships with people in every decade.
  16. Another woman at the care center asked me if she could talk to me. Would I listen?
  17. I put on my concerned and attentive pastor face. I expected a deep theological question. I went to seminary for this, right?
  18. Turns out pastors aren’t just needed for deep theological questions.
  19. “My roommate snores. How am I supposed to get any sleep? What should I do?” the lady asked.
  20. Fortunately, I was an RA in college. This is freshman college roommate territory. The circle of life, if you will.
  21. I suggested she try to go to sleep before her roommate. Or ear plugs.
  22. Ear plugs are great because you can sleep without anyone disturbing you– roommates, phone notifications, loud and hungry kitty cats…
  23. Then I thought about all the people walking around with headphones or ear buds, deadening the sounds of life around them. I wonder how many cool moments we miss because of headphones.
  24. Listening is hard work, but good. I’m going to listen a lot as a 37-year old.
  25. One of the women I had coffee with was in her eighties. I told her I just wanted to listen to people like her because I wanted to learn stuff.
  26. “Oh, I know a lot of stuff,” she said. “Some of it I can even remember.”
  27. Can you imagine in fifty years when people my age are in their 80s? We don’t have to remember much now because we document the important stuff on social media. What if we lose access to pictures and files? What will we remember?
  28. “Oh, I can google a lot of stuff. Some of it might even be important.’
  29. I don’t know what to make of 37. I get ordained in three days. The rest of my years, I’ll be a reverend. Best get all the heretical thoughts out of my head now.
  30. At General Assembly, someone approached me about being part of the young clergy women group. The group’s for women who are ordained before they turn 35. I was already almost too old. “Oh, you don’t seem that old. I’m sorry you can’t be in the group, but you can read our blog.”
  31. All due respect to young clergy women and men… I want to be in a group with the old clergy women. They know more of the stuff.
  32. Excluding the gifts from my husband, the best birthday present I received this year was from our neighbor Tom, who sprayed the wasp nest hanging from our house. Can you imagine a better present than a dozen dead wasps and a cool geometrical hive?
  33. The way wasps build a nest intrigues me.
  34. The way wasps might chase and sting little nieces visiting this weekend terrifies me, though.
  35. Steve got me two new place settings of fiestaware and the 37 year old me is giddy about them. That’s old lady glee.
  36. He also got me a “Fear the Tree” coffee mug and sticker– he kindly tolerates and encourages my obsession with the Stanford Tree. Pray for him.
  37. What a great birthday. What a great year. What a great life.


(You think this list is long? Can you imagine what Helen’s list of 106 things would be??)

About SaraBSutter

I serve as the pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Goldfield, Iowa. My husband Steve and I are excited to be in a friendly small town and look forward to the years ahead. In addition to nerdy church stuff, I love reading books, writing, good coffee, cats, and football.

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