Today I completed my thirth-ninth* year. For those of you who are bad at math, that means I’m 39, not 40. Please. What’s the rush?
(Did I really just admit I’m thirty fucking nine years old?)
Over the past several months, some have called me brave. Maybe I’m just honest.
Imagine that. Me, honest. I kinda like it. Although, brave is good too. Let’s go with both.
So we’ve arrived at three facts:
- I am 39 years old.
- I am brave.
- I am honest.
I said to a new old friend tonight, The older we get, the greater our capacity for joy, and the greater our capacity for sorrow. I will add to that: the greater our capacity for gratitude. Thanks to plantar fasciitis, I haven’t run in over two months, and yeah if I could wave a magic wand and redesign the world it would include me running. But I’ll never have that wand, so I accept that I can’t run. Part of being a runner is the injury, the rehab, and the rebuilding of fitness. This cycle applies not just to my running. I’ve seen it unfurl in all facets of my life. I am grateful for that cycle, because without it I would never learn enough to get better.**
It’s been 20 months since I asked my ex-husband for a divorce. But those first eight months went by in a fog of panic, numbness, anger and grief (so they don’t count). I’m still not quite sure how I made it through without falling apart completely. Today feels like the anniversary of when I first woke up to my new life. As I was walking out the door to take myself to my birthday present (24 hours in a hotel on the ocean–I love hotels and I love the beach) I realized all the things I had done for myself in the past 12 months that I had either been afraid to do by myself or had believed I was entitled to receive as a gift from someone else. I bought myself big things (an apartment) and little things (a French press). I tackled serious projects (a kitchen renovation) and learned how to play (I give myself time to putter). I saw my own beauty (even at an awkward age–check out this photo from middle school) and I admitted when I was wrong. I taught myself how to negotiate, and how to live peacefully with a bad decision. I went 13 months without coloring my hair and mostly abandoned make-up, not because I didn’t care about keeping up appearances but because I so desperately wanted to see exactly who I was. I got reacquainted with neglected parts of myself. TK, meet TK. She loves speaking Italian, making corny jokes, helping others, and spending time with her family.
Either I trust you, or I’m just feeling especially open tonight. Whichever it is, I know that my capacity for gratitude has exponentially grown over the past twelve months. I’m even grateful for the injuries, both literal and metaphorical, because the rehab that follows only makes me a better runner (and a better human).
Happy birthday, Sunshine. It only gets better from here.
*Don’t you always think that “ninth” should have an “e” in there? Nineth? It looks wrong both ways.
**”Get better” in both senses of the expression–to improve, and to recover.