Well, here I am — it’s May 1st, and tomorrow I turn 52. This seems like a good time to ponder some of the events of the last 12 months, and to identify lessons I’ve learned and those on which I still need work.
To begin with, I am happy to be alive. That’s a pretty big deal, at least for me. I spent years, decades not appreciating that at all; I gave my time to a combination of sadness, and giddy desperation, during which I worked as hard as I could to be happy, but at which I nearly always failed, resulting in too much sex, too many drugs, too much alcohol, and way too much misery. I always managed to put a polite face on things, at least for strangers; anyone who’d known me for a long time could tell I was desperate.
Strangely, recently, I have had an opportunity to observe my new, innate happiness bubbling to the surface, to overtake sadness and remorse, to return me to an understanding I’ve not had in my life, that by being joyful, I overcome feelings of failure. I have apologized. And now I am done carrying around that heavy weight of guilt, and that strangely comfortable burden of misery I carried for so long.
I am participating in making my dreams come true. I have hoped to be a writer since my teens; I have finally put aside that fruitless hope in favor of actual action. I’ve written a few dumb things, but by far and away I’ve developed a healthier perspective using this creative highway for self-reflection. In the wake of self-reflection, I have discovered a newer, more creative venue for communicating my words and feelings — poetry.
My life is invaded by pleasant activities: knitting, an activity I never realized would be so much fun in company; walking, an activity I have let go by the wayside over the winter, but to which I intend to turn my attention once again; a slowly growing circle of friends, who give me reasons to be interested in life and the world around me. As simple an activity as sitting with a cup of tea in the morning, talking to other women my age gives me a new sense of connection and belonging to the world. That in itself is occasion for joy.
I have also found a group of like-minded blogger friends; we support each others’ writing and photography, and music, and the trials of our lives. These new friends have shown me that I am not the all-suffering waif I thought I was; rather they’ve helped me to find my own strength, and bolster my own voice. I love everyone in my blogosphere, and I am grateful for the laughs, and the deep concern and caring I have received from my new friends.
I have many more lessons to study and master; I must find a way to enfold tact and regard for others into my writing. I know that I must learn to stop assuming that what I feel about someone is the objective truth. I hope to learn to decrease my tendency to take things personally, and I need to understand that my new sense of freedom does not free me of responsibility to respect each person for the sacred individual they are.
So, I face my 52nd birthday with excitement, and wonder, and hope, and joy. Happy birthday to me!