Thursday, June 15, 2006

You say it's your birthday . . .

Oh. It’s not? Well it’s mine!

I turn 37 today. Three. Seven. Thiiiiirty seeeevvvven. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like say, six. Or sixteen. Or hell, even plain old thirty.

I am trying to absorb the wise and very zen philosophy of my good friend Karen who said not to sweat it - that it is only a number. After all, that’s largely true. It’s really only a teensy tiny part of who I am. I’ve always believed age was more of an attitude anyway. Throughout my life I’ve known some very old 20-year-olds and some incredibly young 60-somethings.

And I also truly believe that each and every one of my 37 years (37!!) has helped shape who I am today, which I like to think is a pretty OK person. I don’t lie. I don’t steal. I don’t even (usually) speed anymore. I hold the door for others. I don’t yap on my cell phone in the middle of public places. I don’t tailgate. I think it’s important to be polite and say “please” and “thank you,” even though most people don’t do either anymore. I believe in karma and think it’s critical to be kind to others (including animals). I believe in the importance of charity. I pray. I try not to take what I have for granted and to be good to the earth. I take care of my family and myself. I love my children, my husband, my family and my friends. I am infinitely blessed.

So why am I having such a hard time with this? Why do I stand with my nose three inches from my mirror and scrutinize every little line, cursing every year that has played a role in putting it there?

Aren’t those lines the result of the laughter, the tears, the joy, the pain, the infinite sweet surprises that every day life brings? And OK, maybe all that sunbathing in my teens played a role too, but I still think each one of those lines tells a bit of a story. A mini badge of honor paid in full with raw emotion.

So, yeah. I’m 37. To today’s college students I’m ancient. I’ve got a few gray hairs, a bit of a “mommy tummy,” and a few wrinkles on my brow. I also have an amazing history and, I dare say, a lot of really great years ahead of me. My family is young and full of promise. Life is good. And I have high hopes that it will continue to get better.

To paraphrase a quote from one of my favorite women, I’ve still got life by the lapels. It’s a bitch and I’m still going to kick some ass. Maybe I'm not zen, but I'm not giving up either. And that is just going to have to be good enough for now.

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