(Disclaimer: This was written pre-pandemic, in January of the year our world completely changed.)
I stepped into this new year, new decade of 2020 feeling a deep sense of calm. This was the word that revealed itself to me as being the foundation for my year. Last year the word was quietude. Previously, ease. They’re all related, although each word ultimately holds its own precise meaning. Ease was about the active work of easing pain. Quietude defined my steps out of pain and into healing, much of which needed to be private, quiet. Calm has felt more welcoming of others and the outside world, informing the way I want to interact: calmly.
2020 is particularly exciting for me because I turned 40 in January. Firstly, I love that 20 + 20 = 40. I love sh*t like that. It feels poetic and divined. Secondly, in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I would look at my reflection and laugh, thinking or sometimes even saying out loud to my self, “40? I’m 40? How strange, I don’t think I look 40. I don’t feel 40. Maybe no 40 year old actually feels 40!” Sure, I have some white hairs and wrinkles, but, FORTY? I remember when my parents turned 40; I thought they were sooooo old. And now, ME? I’M here??
Thanks to my husband’s insistence, we threw a party. We rented a pavilion space in a cool but understated Shanghainese restaurant in NYC. We invited about 30 friends, most of whom showed up; a few were knocked down with the flu and had to cancel at the last minute. Also at the last minute, we opted to make it Open Bar. I was turning 40 for crying out loud, and people are trudging through a snowstorm!
It was a fantastic evening. Cocktails and food were absolutely delicious and aplenty. Only a few people actually knew each other beforehand but everyone was saying what a “good group of people” had gathered. Half of my friends, including my husband, stood up and gave impromptu speeches. It was very special.
The next day, my husband and I went off to the Mark Hotel for an overnight staycation in the city. We had done similarly on his 40th birthday 4 years prior. It’s not easy (or financially viable) to get away like this, so it was a real treat.
My actual birthday was a couple days later and when it arrived, I felt kind of like I had finally arrived. I felt calm. Content. Clear. I had made it this far; that counted for something.
Forty feels like I’ve lived some life. I’ve had some experiences. Some really dark and challenging ones. And, I made it through. I feel overwhelmingly grateful and lucky.
Forty feels like I can finally own my point of view. I’ve earned that right. And the funny thing with feeling this way is, I also have the feeling that I don’t need anyone else to agree with me. My own perspective is clearer and stronger, and that in and of itself is enough. I don’t need any other validation. I thought that if I had a strong opinion about something, I would need to convince others to think the same as I did. But in fact it does not work that way. Maybe this is confidence.
I have been overwhelmed with love and appreciation for my family. Our little unit of 3 + Kinley the doodle. It has somehow become almost effortless to focus on the good instead of being dragged down by the inevitable “bad.” The less I am perturbed by and reactive to Ryker’s and Kinley’s “bad behavior,” the less it actually happened. Yes, I’m including our 2.5 year old dog in this thought process because she can be very annoying and stressful! Although actually, most of the time, I think she’s just being a dog. As Ryker sometimes reminds me, “A dog is a dog.”
It is into this frame of mind, this state of being, on my own individual level as well as our family unit as a whole, that a Soul has chosen to be a part of our ride. I can’t help but think his/her timing is impeccable.
Here we go. Second time around.