Today, rather than clean my apartment or shave my legs in mad preparation for a visit from a Midwestern boy, I find myself accepting the fact of being newly single two days before my 35th birthday.
My 30s have been a weird ride. When I turned 30, I decided to clean house. I left a long-term relationship with a man, a job, and a state and moved to New Hampshire to start fresh. It was the best decision I ever made.
Now, halfway through this decade o'mine, I'm feeling an odd surge of strength again. I'm picking myself up and dusting myself off and looking to myself for answers. I've decided to step outside myself and watch--to see who this person is and what she's going to do next. I'm tired of being unsure and hopeful and sad. I'm interested in being confident, determined, and feisty. I need to take the wheel and drive.
I am going to get to a place where I no longer have to hear the sentence I've heard more than once this week, the worst sentence I've heard so many times over many, many years: You can do better than this. What's heartbreaking about it is that it hits the gut and between the lines I hear, "We think more of you than you think of you." That will no longer do.
Recently, I was at a cookout with a couple girls I know and several new acquaintances. Many beers into the night, a girl in her mid-20s turned to my friends and me and told us she wants to be like us--strong, confident, bold. I laughed inside, thinking, Girl, you have no idea. But it was also an incredible compliment--one I needed more than I knew.
Birthdays are up there with New Year's Eve and September as times for reflection and renewal. And the things I'm thinking about for the future? Well, they all fall under the heading of Being Authentic. Though it may appear to those in my circle that I'm pretty authentic to begin with, I feel boxed in. Dear readership of three, I am not entirely sure what shape this will take on, but it's bubbling up and I can feel it. I sense more travel, more reading, more writing, more crafting, and a wider net and support group. And what I hope to glean is that self love that I've never possessed. I told myself 2010 would be a good year. Maybe what I really meant was that 35 is going to be a great year.