My birthday is coming up in a couple of days. Last year at this time-hell, last year a month EARLIER-I was in a depression about the upcoming date. I turned 35 last year, and I dreaded it terribly. I cried and felt depressed and figured I might as well just give up because I only had like three good years left.
I don't know-it seems like once I passed the actual landmark date, though, everything changed. Another year has gone by and I feel maybe better than I have in years, as far as life stuff goes. It doesn't seem to matter much anymore that after four kids, my bra less boobs hang down to my waist and my ass keeps on jiggling long after I have stopped shaking it (which I really only do when I am in the grocery store and the kids are with me and they are pissing me off so I want to embarrass them). It doesn't seem to matter as much that I am not where I thought I would be at this juncture in my life-because I LIKE where I am, for the most part. I believe that there are things about my life that could be different or better, but perhaps for the first time in my life I am confident that with time and hard work and the occasional small bit of luck, I will get where I want to be. Believe me, this is not my nature-for a lot of reasons, I have spent a large amount of my life just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Now, though, I am well aware that bad things ARE going to happen-because hey, it is LIFE-but that I can actually be content even through it all.
And I have these wonderful friends who remind me that I am loved. Jacquie took me to lunch and shopping on Saturday, to pick out a new outfit to wear to Seattle. Yesterday, my dear friend Janet fixed a feast for me and the kids, and also gave me a new book, one I had read and loved as a child. On Tuesday, Steve is making dinner (my favorite that HE makes, hickory-smoked pork chops), and then on Wednesday-the actual day-the kids and I are going to Jacquie's for dinner. Thursday night, then, I fly out to Seattle, the tickets for which were given to me by the friend with whom I will be staying. This type of largess is not something I have had in the past, and maybe for you "normal" people this kind of stuff is daily fare, but for me, this is what gets me through the day. Not just on my birthday, but every day. I think I have just been paying better attention this week, because I have been the recipient of so much love in such a short period of time.
I think-believe-that it is true that the more love you give, the more you get in return. Part of my recovery-from alcoholism, childhood abuse and trauma, a terrible-on-a-thousand-levels-marriage-has involved both learning how to give AND how to accept love and kindness and generosity, which is never very easy for me. Because, you know, I like to do things myself. I don't need help. I am strong, in control, have it all handled. But all the years that I lived that way, things were slowly falling apart at the seams, and I had to start all over and learn how to say "I can't do this. I need advice/a listening ear/a shoulder to cry on/a safe emotional haven." In doing such a simple thing like asking, I have been given so much more than I would ever have believed possible. By the same token, I am so much more able to give those things in return.
Along with my book, Janet gave me the best possible card she could have. On the front, there are pictures of four sets of legs-three dressed in high-falutin business shoes, dress pant, heels. The fourth? Blue jeans and tennis shoes. Inside was the caption, which applies to my birthday and my LIFE: "It's your birthday. Accommodate NO ONE." I love this. This is who I am learning to be, and am finding that people love me more honesty and fully than they ever have before.