This week I had a birthday. Normally, birthdays sort of bother me. I spend a lot of time thinking about particular birthdays of the past: the one, at 16, where I hung out in a car until midnight with my sweet friend Amy so we could celebrate our birthdays together (hers is June 12). The birthday I spent crying about the boy who had broken up with me earlier that day…and that was the one where I was skinny and hot, but also? Who does that? Shame on him. My 21st, where I wore a shiny gold dress to a club called The Edge and danced in a cage and then fell down half a flight of stairs – drunk on Midori sours…seriously. The thought makes me simultaneously laugh and throw up in my mouth a little bit. The one right after I had Lucy where I drank half a beer and thought I would die – I was 30 and remember thinking about how people did BIG things for 30th birthdays. That day I mostly felt like a giant boob. My point is that, at 36, I’ve decided to not ever be bothered with that trivial stuff anymore. I’ve decided this is the year I will take back June 11th.
This year has been one of the best years of my life. Honestly. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m really happy with my work – I’ve found a happy place in teaching – or if it’s because my children are old enough now that I can stand back a bit and relax and enjoy them more? I’m not sure. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve finally decided that this extra 20 pounds is really not that big of a deal. I just feel like each year gets a little bit better for me, and that all the stuff I worried about when I could fit into that shiny gold dress doesn’t matter at all anymore. Sure, I’m not that skinny and cute, but I’m also not that skanky and stupid.
I’m hoping that my 36th year will include more traveling and less whining. More eating delicious food and drinking really good wine, and less worrying about where those calories are heading. More time spent with family living far away and less time crying about that family not living in Kansas City anymore. My 36th year will be about FINALLY getting started on my masters and not letting the excuse of kids, money or time get in my way. It’s not a new epiphany…it’s just about finally getting off my own back. Women are way too hard on themselves and I’m finally seeing some of that. This year will be about loving myself more and criticizing myself less. I hope that some of you will hold me to it.