Turning 43

Once again I have defied the known Gods and Universe by continuing to exist for another year (she says as she writes this blog post before her birthday so it will post on time, duly noting that she’s inviting said known Gods and Universe to kick the chair right out from under her). 43 is a funky age. It’s a funky number. Not entirely sure how I feel about it, yet, but I figure that if it’s funky, then I should be funky, too.

I’ve finally decided that I should probably do something with my life. I mean, if I’m going to continue to exist on this mortal plane, I might as well. Gotta do something to kill the boredom and keep shit interesting.

To that end I asked for and received The Remarkable Life Deck: A Ten-Year Plan for Achieving Your Dreams by Debbie Millman for Christmas. See, I know nothing about getting my life together or being a somewhat functioning adult or really even what I specifically want for my life. This is supposed to help me do that. Which is good. I need all the help I can get.

It’s basically a deck of cards that asks you questions about your life ten years from now. What does it look like, where do you live, what are your relationships like, what is your career like, etc. The idea is that you go through and answer each card as thoroughly and honestly as possible. Dream big and write those dreams down. By doing this, you actively put those answers and ideas in your brain pan, which encourages you to live and work towards them. I’ve been answering the questions since I got the deck at Christmas and I’ve found that for most part, it’s not much trouble. I live 90% of my life in my head anyway.

What is a little surprising is how totally unhindered I am about writing all of it down. I am completely undeterred by the prospect that this might not work. Maybe it’s because I know me and know my potential for failure. Maybe I’m not actually too invested with the outcome, but more the process. Who knows? I’m having fun with this. No harm in that.

I have to admit that things are weird for me lately. I’m going into this new age much more upbeat and much lighter than usual. Dare I say I’m optimistic? For what, I don’t know. Maybe I left my last fuck in 2022 and now completely unburdened, I’m able to skip through life rather than trudge. Will that last? Will I biff it and fall? Will my mental illnesses tidal wave me when I least expect it? I don’t know. But I’m not going to worry about it in the meantime. I’m just going to enjoy this feeling as long as it lasts.

Like I said, 43 feels like a funky number and a funky age.

I’m looking forward to getting funky.

The Thing About Getting Older–Birthday Edition

The past two years I’ve taken the week of my birthday off. The whole week, plus Martin Luther King Jr Day. Comes to nine days off in the name of my birthday.

Some people may call this excessive. There are many loud folks who criticize people for celebrating their birthday week or birth month. And to them I bid a respectable fuck you. I spent too many years not celebrating my birthday, and not because I dreaded getting older like so many women.

Part of my not celebrating comes from having a birthday close enough to the holidays that people are fatigued of celebrations by the time they get to the anniversary of my birth. They are partied out. And I can relate. I’m usually at the end of my of my holiday rope by then, too. But still. It’s my birthday.

Another part comes from the fact that several of my “big” birthdays -sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one- were rendered insignificant for one reason or another. There were a couple of times that my birthday was used as an excuse to get together only to have that gathering have nothing to do with me. Clearly just an excuse…or worse, an after thought. This string of disappointments hurt. I’m not going to lie. To prevent myself from experiencing that disappointment again, I became one of those people who didn’t like my birthday.

My birthday? Pfft. No big deal. It’s nothing. Just another day. I didn’t do anything for my birthday outside of any sort of family celebration that might be happening. I rarely made plans. It got to a point where I didn’t expect anything, not even from myself.

However, I was not meant to be a person who hated their birthday. I have far too much ego for that. And over the years my intent to not celebrate became me celebrating for myself. It was my special day, even if it was a secret. Even if I was the only one who did any celebrating.

Sometimes I’d do things with my friends, but many times I was alone. Hell, for my 40th I ended up going by myself to see Knives Out. Coincidentally, that was the last time I went to a movie theater.

My 40th landed on a Sunday and I had planned to take the weekend off for it, but wasn’t able to.

I fixed that for 41. I took the whole week off and was gifted with the King holiday as a bonus. One of my coworkers asked me what I was doing for my birthday, thinking I was taking a trip. In the middle of a pandemic, not so much. So, I told her I was doing whatever I wanted. And I could tell that she thought a week off for my birthday was a bit much. Particularly for a lowly part-timer. Tough shit.

This year I had planned to take a trip for the week of 42, but it didn’t work out because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.

But it was still my birthday.

So, last week, I was off work and I did whatever I wanted.

And I’ll do the same thing next year, too.

Turning 42

I’m kinda looking forward to being 42. First of all, I do not fear aging. It’s a privilege denied many and I’ve earned every year. Second of all, 42 is the meaning of life, the Universe, and everything, so it’s bound to be something of a magical age, right?

Okay, I kind of admit from this vantage point it’s sort of hard to see that potential.

41 was a bit of a bust.

I was hoping to do more and most of the time I barely had the energy to do the bare minimum. Like, I’ve been stuck in some ruts before, but this time I was too tired to care I was even in a rut. It’s hard to pull yourself out when you’d rather take a nap.

And while I did spent 41 giving fewer fucks, I didn’t really accomplish much else. At least I spent most of the time with either pink or blue-black hair. 41 was a bit of a drag, but I showed up.

As I said, I think 42 has the potential to be magical. What kind of magic? I don’t know. Maybe black magic. Perhaps some dark arts will be necessary to make something out of this year. I’m starting off on a sour note by not being able to take my birthday trip, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be taken eventually. Maybe all of the magic will come from finding a way to salvage things in the middle of trying circumstances once again. But the point is I should probably haul my ass out of the rut to give that magic a shot. Who knows? I might be surprised.

I mean, it’s doubtful. I’m a Capricorn, so my realism will ultimately win out. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to have a good time. Even if it’s just a new hair color.

Here’s to 42.

Turning 41

Okay, so if you don’t count the pandemic and the political unrest, 40 actually wasn’t too bad. I’m sort of sad that it’s over since I really didn’t get to do much with it, though I did make some small personal progresses.

I’d like to do more of that for 41.

In some spiritual beliefs this is called stepping into your power. That’s what I want to do. Or do more of that, anyway. Cross off more things on the Big To Do List and give a few less fucks.

Look, if someone is going to continue to drop the ball at their job and keep letting me have birthdays, then I’m going to continue to find things to do to fill the time. And the older I get, the more I want to do other stuff, the stuff I didn’t think I could do when I was younger.

I’m feeling 41 is going to be a time for new things. I want to try new things, do new things. I realize that might be somewhat limited due to circumstances, but I’m sure I can work something out. It might be nothing more than learning to make a new recipe or learning a new craft, but it will be something shiny.

I think I’m also going to take some time during 41 to plan for 42. I never do anything big for my birthday. So, if everyone cools out for a minute and we get the pandemic under control, I’d like to take a trip for 42.

But, first 41.

Cheers to that.

Turning 40

Is turning 40 still a big deal? I guess for some people it is. I know I’m excited about it, which is kind of the wrong reaction. There’s still that stigma of 40 being old. It’s an age that women especially deny. I never quite understood that. I’ve earned every year.

It’s possible that because I never thought I’d live this long I am so chill with it. I figured that I’d do myself in at some point, either as the result of my depression or a fiery explosion of my own creation, most likely some sort of car accident because I’ve had far too many close calls. Or I insisted on petting something that I shouldn’t. That’ll probably be the way I go. Anyway. Getting to 40 seemed like an impossibility. I figured I’d biff it long before then.

But I didn’t and now I’m here. Granted, I’m not in the place I probably should be, not the one I want to be. I have failed at so much shit and have achieved none of the milestones I should have. And yet…I feel okay. I’m not depressed (and I’m usually clawing out of a winter depression during my birthday). I’m not down on what I haven’t done. I’m not bummed with getting older (honestly, I still feel 25…that’s probably part of my problem). I’m just kind of enjoying the moment.

A moment that I probably should have planned something super cool for to celebrate, but my long-term planning skills suck, so never mind.

Honestly, I’m rather looking forward to seeing what my forties brings. Since I haven’t done all of the things that I’m supposed to do, I won’t be doing the next things that I’m supposed to do. There’s an unplanned feel to it that I’m rather enjoying.

Here’s to hoping that it’s a good time.


Turning 39: The Last of My Thirties

I have once again completed a trip around the sun and once again I find myself looking around thinking, “Holy shit. I’m not dead yet. That’s wild. I probably should have planned this better.”

Since this is the last year of my thirties, I figure it to be a sort of a victory lap. I went into my thirties thinking that I’d have a good time and it’d be my decade. And though I did have a few good years, it was really hard in a lot of ways. I went through some shit. I’m actually looking forward to getting into my forties.

I suppose I should be disappointed. I’m 39 and I haven’t checked off a whole lot of things on society’s To Do List. Hell, I haven’t checked off a bunch of things on my own To Do List. I’m kind of a failure.

Oh, well. Too late to do anything about it now.

So this year I send off my thirties and prepare myself for my forties. I have no idea what that’s going to entail. Ideally, there will be more success than I’ve had. More fun. More good times with people I adore. Ideally, I’ll get to meet new people and see new places because ideally I’ll make more money and therefore be able to afford that. Maybe I’ll even get an idea of what I should do with my forties.

But for now I’ll leave it loose. No need to put high expectations on 39. After all, I haven’t really plotted anything so far. Why start now?

Should be a real swingin’ time.

Turning 38: Pretty Neat

I have successfully completed yet another trip around the sun. And it was pretty okay.

Last month, one of my cousins had a birthday and the upside down smiley face she used when she announced that she was twenty-four made me think that perhaps she didn’t dig the idea of being twenty-four. I don’t know. I’m barely literate in emoji.

Whatever her intended meaning, my interpretation of it got me thinking about how people tend to have those dreaded ages. For my roommate it was 40. For a lot of women, for some reason, it’s 40. For some, it’s 30. Mine was 13. I didn’t want to be 13 because that meant I wasn’t a kid anymore, I was a TEENAGER, and that just sounded like a fate worse than death to me. Because after teenager is adult, and who the hell wants to be that?

Not me and I’ve avoided it spectacularly.

I think I lucked out getting my dreaded age out of the way early. Now when other people are bemoaning their impending 50th or 25th or whatever, I’m turning 38 like, “Holy shit, how am I still alive? Someone should be fired for this.”

One thing I’ve noticed in my slide down the hill to 40 is that I’m loosening up some. Maybe it’s the meditations and affirmations I’ve been doing. Maybe it’s the realization that I’m getting beyond the age of expectations. It’s harder and harder for society to place expectations of certain achievements, attainments, and behaviors because I’m too old now. It’s too late. There’s no hope for me.

It’s the release of that pressure to live up to these arbitrary benchmarks that’s got me feeling loose. It’s not that I’m now going to abandon everything and become a useless lump. Some might argue that I already am one because I’ve always been one. No, it’s not giving up. It’s the shifting of focus from what society wants to me to be and achieve and the stress caused by the cognitive dissonance of that to what I actually want to be and achieve and the lack of stress from striving for that without any inner conflict.

Makes me feel pretty optimistic about 38.

I think it’s going to be some kind of chill.

Turning 37: I Can See 40 from Here

birthday hatThirty-seven years ago today I was ripped from my mother’s womb in a most undignified fashion and I’ve been disgruntled ever since. But, I do so love my birthday. I will milk this day for all its worth and I will do it with no shame. I rarely do anything remarkable on my birthday, but believe me, I believe my birthday to be a special day and I will use it as my excuse to do anything.

37 is an interesting age, I think.  From here I can see 40, a dreaded number for some reason. I guess because 40 signals middle age to so many people and middle age is the next step to being old and if there’s anything this society fears, it’s the concept of being old or seen as old. I can relate to that to a certain extent. I certainly don’t want to be seen as old because the connotations of that involves being fixed in mindset, less likely to engage in fun.

But I don’t mind getting older.

I don’t know. I just don’t think I have anything to fear from getting older. In many respects, I’ve always been an old soul, always seemed more mature and responsible and knowledgeable for my years. But then, at my advanced age I still watch cartoons and dance in public and sometimes dress like a toddler who got to pick out her own clothes and dress herself like a big girl. I feel like I’ve got a good balance going here.

I suppose I should be in panic mode. At 35, you’re just on the hill. At 36, you’re just over, but 40 is still at a considerable distance. But there’s nothing between 37 and 40 to block the view. Now here I am, in full view of 40 and I’m still struggling right along, not having checked off one item on society’s to do list. I should be mired in a pit of self-loathing right now, but I’m not.

I suppose if I hadn’t spent much of 36 in a major dialogue with myself about my life I would be panicking right about now. Instead, I’m feeling pretty zen, like maybe, just maybe, I can swing this life pretty okay and be happy doing it.

I have no fear of 37.

I think we’re going to get along just fine.

Turning 36

heartthrobHere I am, turning 36 only a couple of days after David Bowie died, and my brain is having a lot of thoughts.

The first thought is that I had no idea that I would be this affected by the man’s death, in part I suppose, like many, I never thought about him being anything other than immortal. But also, as much as I enjoyed the man and his work, I don’t think I’d ever call myself a David Bowie fan. I think the only thing I own is his greatest hits album, though I’ve definitely listened to much more than that. I just didn’t spend the money or have the devotion required to call myself a fan, I think. And yet, news of his death has left me prone to tears.

In seeing all of the very lovely thoughts and remembrances scrolling along my social media feeds, all of which were quite touching and it was amazing to see how this one person affected so many people, a certain sort of theme kind of captured my mind.

Existence and reinvention.

Existing as you are, whatever you are, that day and existing as that human until it’s time to be something else, then reinventing yourself into your new existence. That’s basically what David Bowie did during the course of his career. And people dug it because they could relate to it. They could relate to every phase of his being no matter what the outward projection was. They could relate to that honesty and that otherness that they maybe couldn’t quite accept or express in themselves.

This isn’t meant to be some kind of poetic eulogy of questionable quality. It’s supposed to be about me turning 36. Which I have done. Successfully. And it is at this successful turn so soon after this significant human’s demise that I am thinking about my existence and my need for reinvention. I’m thinking about my need for honest expression in general, for the honest expression of my otherness. I am thinking about my ability to be in my truest form.

Heavy shit, I know.

The age number is arbitrary, though I know people will enjoy elbowing me in the ribs while pointing out how close I’m getting to 40. But I’ve been having my mid-life crisis since I was 28, so that number holds no superstitious sway over me. If anything, being 36 has promise since it’s divisible by 3 and that’s the sort of thing I like.

I’m sure I won’t spend the whole time I’m 36 brooding about my life and all of the questions in it. I’ve got shit to do, after all, and I’m crap at multitasking.

But I bet I pause more often this trip around the sun to check my existence.

35 Now

birthday hatI’m going to be honest with you about something.

Yesterday, when I officially turned 35, I was more put out about the fact that I had to run errands and go grocery shopping than I was about turning 35.

When it comes to my birthday, I am like a toddler. It’s mine, mine, mine! I don’t have to! It’s my birthday! I get to do whatever I want! And I don’t want to be a grown-up and do grown-up things!

Which brings me to my next reflective point about turning 35.

I am now on the downward slide to 40 (“Hands up! Test your nuts!” as we used to say while riding roller coasters) and as such I’m sure there are people looking at me, possibly wanting to poke me, wondering what the hell is wrong with me. I’m 35 now. I’m supposed to be a grown-up. I’m supposed to be this, that, and the other with a real job and a mortgage and bills and all the trappings of adulthood. I’m supposed to be striving to meet society’s expectations of a woman of my advanced age (and weight, but that’s a different post). What am I doing?

This is actually something I’ve reflected on quite a bit in the month leading up to my birthday.  I gave serious consideration to the fact that I’m still dodging a big part of the standard adult business and that maybe I should consider, you know, straightening up and flying right.

But I just can’t make myself do it, kids. I knew it back when I was 12. I remember being supremely unhappy at the prospect of being 13 because that would mean I was a teenager and after teenager was adult and there was so much of that life stage that I didn’t find appealing. I liked being a kid and I’ve always been very bitter about the whole growing up thing.

Here’s the thing. I KNOW I can adult. I could adult with the best of them. I’m very good at responsibility. I’m so good at responsibility that I’ve been known to take on responsibilities that aren’t even mine. I’m very reliable and dependable and organized. I’m mature. I’ve been mature since I was little. I have all of the qualifications to be a good and proper adult according to society’s standards.

I just don’t want to BE an adult.

After years of doing things I hated in order to live up to someone else’s standards, trying to please other people, I realized that I have no desire to adult. It’s an epic drag and it’s not for me.

I’d rather do things my way, if you don’t mind.

So if that means being 35 and not being grown-up, that’s perfectly cool with me.