cislyn: (Default)
Today, I'm 40 years old.

There are a lot of narratives about getting older, a lot of stories we tell ourselves collectively about what it means and what it's like and what's expected and how it goes. Bunches of them deal with regret. Time is marching on, you're not who you used to be and time is running out to be that person again (for some reason) or to be someone else, someone more awesome. Pretend you don't have a birthday, have a midlife crisis, create a bucket list and yearn and yearn and yearn.

I'm not really into that.

I find myself here, smack dab at 40, exceptionally happy with who I am, and with what my life looks like. I'm really, really, really lucky. And I'm doing pretty ok - I could do better, in lots of small and big ways, of course, but that's how life works. There's always room for improvement, for growth. I could be better at so many things, and a better person in so many ways. I don't feel a sense of loss, though, for being where I am and being who I am now. I don't feel I wasted time or that I'm running out of it, either - I spent time, and sometimes unwisely, sure. But not wasted. I don't feel regret. And it's pretty great.

Today I'm feeling lots of things, but the most easily identifiable emotion is gratitude. I'm happy to be here, in the world. I'm grateful for the awesome people in my life. I'm grateful for the opportunities I have, and have had, and for all the good stuff. I love that I'm creating things. I have amazing people in my life, up close and far away and all manner of in between. My cats are fluffy and adorable, and my home is filled with games and weird things and books and I have the chance to make stuff and have great conversations and read nifty stories pretty often. I'm lucky.

It's silly, but I don't really feel like 40 is a number that applies to me - maybe that's because in my mind 40 means something Stolid and Dependable and Seriously Adult and Having a Career and all sorts of other macros which I should probably expunge from my mental space, because they're really very ridiculous and I know better. Or maybe it doesn't feel like a fit because I can remember so many other birthdays so very clearly. I remember running around with friends from school in my grandparents' living room with construction paper unicorn horns on our heads. I remember birthday parties that were girl scout sleepovers in Mrs. Simon's living room, with cupcakes and popcorn and root beer. I remember skate parties and quiet dinners out and apple pies and so many things. I remember my 16th and I remember my 21st and I remember my 27th and 35th.

And every time a birthday rolls around I tentatively pick up the new number and tilt my head and squint at it a bit and say "nah, doesn't really feel like me." Every time. I'll be 80 (I hope!) and looking at that number and shaking my head, saying "eh, doesn't really fit me, you know?". I don't know if any number ever really feels like it fits. I've always been better with words than numbers, anyway.

My thirties, as a whole, were great. I figured out a lot of who I am and who I want to be, met some of the most wonderful people, and started getting so much better at the things I love. I learned stuff, and I made stuff. May the next decade also be one where I grow in unexpected ways, and meet amazing people, and do my part to make the world around me a better place. Hello, forties! Let's be friends.


cislyn: (Default)

December 2016

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