"Yah, I'm quasi freaking out," I tell my gaggle of girlfriends, their eyes immediately beginning to roll in half humor, half disbelief as many of them had already entered into their 40s. For months I've been sharing the same story of fearing this Monday's birthday, something about the number "35" sounding so daunting, so "half way there" and so much steeper than any number that came before it.
Aging has never meant much to me, the naive and consistent belief tucked back in my head that anything and everything I love will live forever. To this day, my 60-something parents, little brother, grandparents (who have survived multiple heart attacks and cancer) seem as they have from the moment I was placed in their arms: sprite, wise, hilarious and capable of anything. They are the same people I fall in love with day in and day out, for all that they do, are and everything in between. Behind my little rose-colored glasses and likely pink sparkled heart, they've not aged or changed a bit since my little tootsies were imprinted on my birth certificate.
At times it's physical: the weight of 50 extra pounds, the grays that pop up in unruly places, the skin that misses that glow and elasticity of youth. And don't even get me started on the cellulite, sagging booty and belly roll. Good gah the cellulite and belly roll...
Other times it's the emotional: the one moment on your rare quiet drive that you consider if you've done enough so far, what you even want anymore and if you can even recall a memory from yesterday give you're constantly just chasing life and time.
Then there are the moments where you don't think of it at all and when that rare time comes when you have to cite your age you think, "How the hell old am I?" and fight to even remember.
Luckily for me, this Monday marks the re-brand and anniversary of my company, a project we've been working on tirelessly and enthusiastically since the day I set foot in the door. Therefore, the cake will be about 20 years, not 35, and the day will be filled with blood, sweat and tears to ensure all goes as close to as planned as possible. In other words, avoidance is the magic answer.
In addition to avoidance, I'll stick with gratitude and listen to those that go before me who say I still have an entire lifetime ahead. The chance to reinvent. To fall in love again. To live, to breathe, to cherish. And I'll continue to live my days like this with this amazing life I've been given and continue to be thankful for it with every beat that lands in my chest wall. And for those that warn me of all that magically falls apart at 35? Well, I love them for speaking their truths and will go to them when it all feels like too much to digest. I anticipate we'll have a good empathy and laughter session of it over wine.
So 35-shmirty-five. I've got you. I've got them. And more love in my life than a universe can hold. Thirty-five ain't got nuthin' on that.
Which was your birthday that got you riled up for the first time?
Cheers and thanks, my beloved friends!