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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From the other side

It’s done. I had a great day yesterday. Thanks to everyone for your support – it made all the difference. It’s weird. Usually on birthdays, I don’t feel any different. This time it feels different. Like I have turned a corner and it is the biggest relief. 40 was this number sitting out there that I was dreading. I took a look at the nature of this dread and realized that I have achieved many of the things I feared failing at that this dread used to be connected with it. I used to dread being unmarried and childless once I hit 40. Well, I am neither. I used to dread being down and out and still incredibly broke like I was in art school when I hit 40 . Well I am a lot better off than I could have ever imagined. I am fortunate in so many ways. Just because I haven’t written the best American novel, been featured in the Whitney Biennial or consulted to Presidents and Heads of Parliament or more seriously attained my Ph.D. doesn’t mean my life is a failure. I actually feel really content and incredibly grateful for Dave and Ellie especially.

There is nothing more to dread. I have never dreaded 50 or 60 and have in fact looked forward to 70 and 80. Why? Because I have known, including my grandparents, some very engaging, hip 70 year olds. I have seen Dave’s 80-year-old grandmother travel to Australia with a friend - you know for a little adventure. They have all taught me that once you give up worrying about life and get on with living it, it’s a lot more fun. And, that getting older age wise does not mean you have to be old. It’s all in one’s head. Which is where I have been these past weeks and am glad to be leaving.

Speaking of fun, yesterday was I think the best birthday I have had in a long, long time. It’s the first one where I didn’t care about gifts but was just delighted to have contact with friends and family. Dave spent the day with me and it was great to be alone with him which is a rare gift. I got some unexpected flowers from Dave and Bonnie – thank you both! And I got several phone messages containing various renditions of “Happy Birthday to You”. All of which made me laugh and warmed my heart.

A twenty-something even hit me on when I was leaving a shop while waiting for Dave. It was one of those, “I still got a little something” moments.

My favorite birthday email was from my friend Rick who has been very instrumental in keeping me humble over the years. He strives every year to be the first to wish me a Happy Birthday and accordingly this email was sent just after midnight. I can’t share the whole message but the subject line was: “Happy 40th birthday old woman”. So you get the picture.

Thanks to all and back to the usual programming since I have just completed the last Harry Potter novel – which was so very excellent!