I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been…

I am soon having a birthday, three weeks actually.  I am told it’s a “big” birthday, but I love my birthday any year, every year, so to me they are all pretty big, but I get it, this is quite the thought, to have been alive for a half of a century to celebrate the “big 5-0!”  I will not be at home for this birthday, and I will not be with my mom and dad for this day and I will not be with my daughter, or her daughters, for this day.  I will be with the man who makes my heart sing, in Mexico, at a resort, on a beach, probably drinking a very non-whole30-compliant cocktail, maybe for breakfast actually.  A trip we saved up for, for years, and while we have watched many, all really, of our friends and families take vacations, and wished them a good time and safe travels, we were always wishing for when it would be ‘our time,’ and here it is, our time to have an adventure together!  I am planning to be beside some sort of Mayan ruin in Tulum on the day my parents celebrate the day they first became parents, and I suspect I will be thinking about where I have been, and where I have yet to get, and how infinitesimally small I am in the big picture, in the big scheme of things, in our big galaxy, in our big universe on my “big day.”

I have been many things in these years on this earth; I have been a much wanted baby daughter, I have been a much confused teenage girl, I have been a not very well cared for wife, I have been a read a book every night I tuck you into bed mother, I have been a cheated on girlfriend, I have been a top of her class college graduate, I have been a hard worker, I have been a prosecutor’s office volunteer report writer, I have been a pack a day smoker, I have been a person who quit smoking, I have been a read a book before I tuck you into bed Nana, I have been a design your own house with your mom and build your own house with your dad woman, and I have been a so lazy on a Sunday all I did was go from my bed to my sofa and crochet and watch Pride and Prejudice in front of the fire kind of person…

I have been many things to many people, and I have been many things to myself…I have been so blissfully happy and I have been so breathtakingly devastated.  I have been so proud and I have been so disappointed.  I have been so fearless and I have been so scared.  I have been so confident and I have been so embarrassed.  I have been so strong and I have been so weak…I have been a shoulder for a friend to cry upon and I have needed a friend to cry to…

If I have learned anything as I begin my 51st trip around the sun, it’s that I can be and have been, whatever or whoever I need to be, when I need to be her.  I have loved so much that I thought I might explode, and I have hated so much that I thought I might actually be capable of violence…it is amazing when you think about different moments of the life you have lived and realize how so very far you have come and what you have experienced, and yet, how there is so very much you still want to do…

I saw a photo a few weeks ago that said “Wonder Woman is a state of mind” and I have been thinking about those words since I saw it.  I have become the person I needed to become for every situation I have lived through thus far.  I’ve also had a lot of thoughts these last few weeks about the life I still have to live ahead of me, and what ought I do with the lessons and experiences that were my “before.”  Like most women, I guess perhaps men too, I am not at ALL where I thought I would “be” by the time I turned 50, and I never achieved the success I worked to reach, or the financial comfort I worked to secure, or the world travel I hoped to enjoy, but I did learn a lot in these years on this big blue ball…of ALL the things I have learned I suppose the most important is that I can get through anything, as  I found out, sometimes really by accident, and sometimes in the most painful and horrid ways, and I am MUCH stronger than I thought.

I found out that I can take a lot of upset and still come out smiling and hopeful, and full of optimism for another day.  I found out that I can handle so much more than I expected I could.  I found out that even when you think you can not take one more breath because things are just not going your way, you inhale again and things somehow sort themselves out…not necessarily how you wanted them to sort out, or maybe the resulting outcome you were expecting did not materialize, but you wake up the next day and the sun is coming up and you survived hours that you thought might finally be the hours that do you in…

These are all the BIG thoughts I am thinking as I near this BIG day.  As I write this morning, this day is the 1st anniversary of my daughter’s new marriage, and the speech I wrote for her that day started with, “as a parent, you can’t wish for much more for your child than for her to be happy and loved” and as I think about those words, I think maybe as a person, you can’t wish for much more than this for yourself, than to be happy and to be loved…and here I am, both.

I don’t know how much more blessed or lucky I could hope to be as this birthday nears…I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been, and my heart keeps on beating and loving and growing, and I keep dreaming and imagining and planning…I never stop believing that the things I think are important, do matter, and I never stop believing that every day I can make some difference in some way to some body, and that being positive is good for my mind and my body and for the people around me…I have far to go but I have come so very far and I am, after all, the author of the rest of my story…

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