Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Gift

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.


  1. "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" - that's so true for me, too, that it made me tear up with the mirth of surprised revelation. Thank You.

    OOooooh, big mysterious trip! I can't wait to find out what I should have done a few years ago to mark my own milestone, if I hadn't been broke and depressed! I don't know if you're going to share your plans in advance, or keep the big reveal until after you experience it. I'd understand the latter.

    It's good to have something to look forward to.

    G x

  2. 40 is fucking brilliant. I am turning 43 this month and so feel that I can speak with authority.

  3. "...I've felt so ready for 40. And beyond, actually...." Man oh man, do I like your attitude or what! You have such a graceful way about you.

    And the trip? You deserve it. It'll be a perfect way to welcome in another beautiful year ahead....

  4. Good for you! That's the best gift you can give yourself! I wish you safe travels... and a happy birthday! :-)

  5. I love how you explained it. I am earning that degree! ;-)

    I want to know where you're going on your trip. It sounds fantastic. So glad you're doing this for you. I have no doubt you can face whatever is ahead.

  6. Again with the awesome!
    40 ain't bad at all :)

  7. don't forget about the grey pubic hair. what the hell is up with that?

    40 is fantastic, i humbly welcome you to the club.

    can't wait to hear about the trip.

  8. I can't wait to turn 40, too! Oh. What? I did? Never mind. Congratulations, kid. And don't be nervous about what life may have in store for you. You're strong enough and healthy enough to handle it all. Just throw your arms wide open and shout, "YES!"

  9. No need to doubt yourself. Look at your life the last few years. You have proven over and over again that not only can you handle anything that comes your way, you handle it with humor and grace. You have yourself figured out. You're golden.

    Excited to hear about this trip. I am imagining it to be fabulous.

  10. Ooh mystery trip!

    You'll be brilliant at forty because you are already brilliant and awesome.

  11. Motto just turned 30. I feel left out now.

    I hope your mystery ticket is for Japan. Or Antarctica.

  12. I am only half way through my 30's but I understand completely what you are saying.

    I just recently had a friend say "I like becuase you don't give a damn about if someone likes you. You are you and I like that about you."

    It took me back a second but she was right. Somewhere in my 30's I've stopped caring so much if people like me and I have started to enjoy life more because of it.

    There is something wonderful about aging and frightening at the same time.

    Don't fear what you don't know because it will only hold you back. And if you have made it through life this far you will have the strenghth and power to deal with whatever comes your way.

    Happy next century:)