I've been so looking forward to this. I've felt ready for this exact year and what it contains. I've been excited to take on a pretty big birthday, knowing that numbers have been challenging to me in the past, but feeling proud of the accomplishment this year represents.
So far, and I know this isn't how it usually looks, but, I've pretty much loved aging. Life has only gotten better for me as it's gone along (ah - the benefits of a rocky start), and somewhere around 37 or 38 it started getting better in a different way. The late 30's are like an advanced degree in Life with a major in Common Sense and a minor in Not Giving A Damn. Things start to make sense in a really good way. The perspective shift I've experienced in the last couple of years is like nothing else I've experienced to this point. It's better than I even knew to hope for.
I mean, sure, you're aging. You slowly get wrinkly in weird ways that you can't really hide. Things hurt. Digestion is different. Sleep is hard. You've crossed an invisible line. Instead of asking how old I am, people ask if I mind if they ask how old I am. Wha? At some point it becomes really clear that you're no longer the target demographic for almost anything.
But you don't care. Remember that minor you got in your late 30's? This is where you put that degree to use. Being 30 is like having x-ray vision goggles and a magic bullshit detector and not knowing how to use either but kind of having to act like you do. Being 39 is like having all the special powers minus the need to appear smart or together.
I've felt so ready for 40. And beyond, actually. But something has happened in the last month or so and I've really been doubting my ability to face what comes next. I'm scared. There is a lot of loss in life. What if I'm not strong enough for the hard parts? I know I won't always feel this way about aging.
I booked a special trip - a really special trip - for my birthday. I've been saving my airline miles for ten years -- the last time I used them was for my 30th birthday trip to Italy with my sister. A few weeks ago I cashed in enough miles for a first class ticket to what I think will be the perfect place to accept 40. I'm scared. And excited. I have a little over two months to open my mind and my heart wide enough to get there. I hope I can do it.