Wednesday, August 25

Birthday Indulgence, Part One

I think it has been established that I like birthdays. I like my birthday, I like your birthday, I like the cats' birthdays. It's fun, although I have to admit I might enjoy your birthday more than my birthday. Sending birthday wishes is much more gratifying than waiting around to be a birthday queen.

My birthdays always make me reflect on the past, the present and what the future might hold. This year I am turning forty so I'd say I've been a bit more reflective than usual.

For the last few weeks, I've been thinking of it in decades because, well, I'm starting a whole new decade of my life in a week.

I don't feel old and I don't think turning forty makes me old. But I distinctly remember when my father turned forty and I think back then, forty did seem really old. Or at least really grown up.

My mom threw a birthday party for my dad when he turned forty. I think the only reason I remember it so clearly is because it was during that party that my mom got the news that her mother (who had been sick for quite awhile) had died. I remember my mom and dad and some of her siblings going into my parents' study and shutting the door. I remember going outside where my brother and cousin were playing basketball and telling them that something was wrong. I remember not really knowing what to think.

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent. At age forty, my parents had three kids, my dad had been a lawyer for ten plus years already. We lived in a big house and took summer vacations. And my parents were grown ups. Now here I am on the verge of forty and I don't feel particularly grown up, at least not in terms that I thought about it when I was young.

Now forty is the new twenty. Or thirty. Something.

Yet my nineteen-year-old niece thinks that her older sister is ancient at twenty-one. She doesn't even want to turn twenty. I tried to explain that twenty is nothing. Twenty is awesome. Twenty is a whole lot of trouble still ahead of you. Personally I couldn't wait to not be a teenager anymore. I had no problems with twenty.

And now I have no problems with forty. It bothered me for awhile. FORTY. Whoa. How did that even happen? How can I be forty and not be a grown up yet? Not have a career. Kids. A plan. Something. And then one day I realized that I was over it. I am going to turn forty and it's going to be kick ass. I may not have "those things", but who's to say I ever wanted those things? I have a good life. A completely awesome and stellar and over the top wonderful husband. Two cats with very large personalities and bellies. A cozy adobe house to live in. Lots of good food to eat. My own business (no matter that it isn't exactly successful at this point). Awesome family. And lots of good memories.

One benefit to having a horrible memory is that I tend to remember the good stuff more than the bad. And being a photographer, I have a lot of pictures of parties and rock shows which only reinforces the whole idea that it's all been about happy times. (Okay, so I remember the not so happy times too, I'm just saying. No need to dwell.)

And maybe I have grown up just a little bit. I've grown in my marriage and in my relationship with family members and even in my relationship to myself. I like myself more often than not which is not something I could have said in some of my earlier decades. I think as we grow older, we figure out what works and what doesn't and we just don't care as much either. I mean, not in a shitty way, but in a solid sort of I know what I like way. Life is too short to spend too much time doing things that we don't enjoy. And I don't mean that I can avoid going to the doctor because I don't enjoy it, but rather that I am not going to die if I miss that rock show or party or whatever. Or if that person doesn't like me. I have always been something of a loner and while it does get lonely at times, I've also just grown to accept that I function better when I get in a good dose of alone time.

Okay, that may not have come out quite right but here's hoping it made a little bit of sense.

All in all I am mostly happy with my life and who I am and where I am. I have bad days of course. Really bad days sometimes. But mostly it is good. And for that I am very grateful.

As for what the future might hold, I have no idea. I'm hoping the Etsy shop picks up in the fall. But even if it does, I'm probably looking at getting a part-time job in the near future which I am not excited about because I love my life the way it is, but I'm trying to keep an open mind to the possibility that a part-time job could lead me in a new and exciting direction. Hoping to get my ass back on a plane again so I can go to Spain again and visit friends on the east coast and maybe even take weekend trips. I'm pretty much open to whatever is ahead. (So she says now.)

Also hoping that I get a lot of sleep in my fifth decade. A LOT. I've aged tremendously in the last few years because I sleep so poorly. Or at least I feel like I have.

Tomorrow...the first decade.

1 comment:

  1. Great post - very thoughtful and thought-provoking! Birthdays are wonderful opportunities to appreciate all that was, is, and will be. I certainly hope this year brings many good things to you. Happy Birthday!

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