Three weeks from today, I will turn 34.
Just typing it, I feel like I need to stop a minute and let it sink in. Age is something that truly has never really bothered me- I've never minded getting older. It's a privilege. It's a right of passage, a sign of strength. It's something too many don't get to do.
For reasons I really can't explain, this year I'm finding the thought of another birthday a bit daunting.
Just for the record, I don't think 34 is old. I don't think my youth is gone or that life is over... but 34. There's just something about it that is stinging me a bit. I've decided that I need to shift my focus from whatever it is about that number that is getting to me, and rather focus on what a wild ride this past year has been.
My 33rd birthday was extremely bittersweet. On the eve of my birthday, I celebrated with a few close friends (all whom I rarely see) around a fire pit at my house, and couldn't think of a better way to ring in a new age. My 33rd birthday is also the day I first asked for a divorce.
The next two weeks (aka 'my first two weeks of 33') were rough, to say the least. Lots of talks, tears, anger, soul-searching, questions and prayers. By the time I was a month in to 33, the divorce was officially being drawn up and I was living alone again. (The process, emotions and prayers that went into asking for a divorce is enough for an entire post on its own...)
A few months into 33, I took another BIG leap: I decided to quit a job that I loved. I was finding myself in a rut, needing a change and something unexpected sort of "fell" into my lap... so I jumped. And I fell, flat on my face.
It didn't work out. I failed. This spring, I found myself without direction, without a job I loved and without a plan. More prayers, more tears, more soul-searching led me back to working for my hometown, a community that I love more than just about anything. I do miss my old job, my colleagues and so much of what I had been doing for the past five years, but I am glad I took a risk and tried something else. I'm even glad that particular "something else" didn't work out... it was scary and new and exciting and I didn't succeed- but I learned SO much about myself in the process, and am a much braver person for the experience.
I can't even begin to say that my 33rd year has been full of bad, scary things. I've become myself again. I'm in an amazing, healthy, fun relationship. I've seen myself transform from a cynical, often pessimistic person into someone who truly looks for the positive. I've watched family members reach huge milestones. I've seen friends experience true happiness and been able to share some of their fantastic moments. I've made new friends, and reconnected with old friends. For all of the lows, the dark days and the scary parts of the past year, I've enjoyed plenty of views from the mountaintops, too.
This year has been one for the books. I've learned more about myself this year than ever before: the good, the bad and the ugly. I think these lessons are what has led me back to wanting to write again. To share, because the life I'm living- in all of its good/bad/exciting/boring glory- is worth it.
So, here's to the last three weeks of 33. I plan to fill it with just as much love and laughter as I possibly can... and probably as much red wine as I can responsibly handle.