Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to me - Over The Hill edition

Today is my 40th birthday. Yikes! And while I want and should be feeling like Charlie and Snoopy above, today I've mostly been thinking about my mom and a conversation she and I had on her 40th birthday back when I was in 7th grade. Back then, the thought of being forty was totally unfathomable to me. I thought for sure by 2011 we'd be flying around in space cars and that I'd have 4 kids and be living in some Blade Runner-esque world. When mom turned 40 she was super excited but also a little frightened. At the time she was contemplating leaving her job and beginning a whole new career, and she was dealing with the fact that her beloved mother was very sick and probably in the last months of her life (which turned out to be correct). Of course, she didn't share any of these big concerns with me; instead she talked with me about how when you're a teenager or young adult you tend to make all these plans that never actually become realized. And that that's okay. That the whole "everything happens for a reason" "God always has a plan" sentiments are actually pretty true. And how things are are how they were meant to be. My mom told me that when she was a freshman in college she imagined herself at 40 as being some famous artist living in Europe with a gaggle of children and some fancy bohemian husband. But that her reality, living in the nation's capitol, mother of an only child who she was raising practically on her own because of her husband's out of town job; was a better reality, and the right reality for her.

So here I am forty years old today. And I don't have a space car. Nor do I have any kids, much less four. I'm not a famous photojournalist working for National Geographic; my dream at 9. I'm not a marine biologist; my dream at 19. I'm not a famous novelist; yet. I work in health care, with Medicare policy. I live by myself with a dog I inherited in a lovely modern home in Seattle, WA. I have wonderful friends. I'm doing ok. This is my reality. It's the right reality for me.

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