I've taken to reading old journal entries like I'm sorting through items of an estate sale. There are things that shine like new with indeterminable value and things that have seen better days and could use some polishing. I'm kicking up the dust and it is settling quietly on my brain and I'm remembering, remembering, remembering. Today's year is 32.
From my journal dated 8/5/2008:
today is my birthday. i'm 32. i can't really say i'm not doing something i thought i'd be doing by now. my life is pretty happy. and every second i'm given i'm grateful for. 32 might be a very positive year for me. i mean, the ladies here at the office brought me a hershey's chocolate fudge cake. so, that's a good sign.
A couple of things about this:
I only actually thought I was happy on that birthday. The truth is, I was in an unhappy, mentally denigrating relationship (more on that later), I had left NYC to live in a place I didn't actually feel I belonged. I actually ended up being totally right about 32 being positive in the end, but man was it a torture. I got my heart broken but I also ended up getting in the best shape of my life and I traveled pretty much everywhere that year. 32 was a huge year of growth for me and if I was outlined in pencil sketches when I was 15, traced over in permanent marker when I was 25, then I was colored in with oil paints when I was 32.
Also, I remember that cake. The women I worked with at the law school gave that cake to me and I think I may have eaten two huge pieces of it.
More from the journal entry:
last friday he took me to huntington to the cinema arts center to see "brideshead revisited" and to eat indian food. he had never had indian food before and i could tell he was impressed. he was bored out of his skull by the movie but he remained a sport about it all. which rightfully he should since i've had to sit through roughly 29 hours of baseball this year.
If I were to write a book about that relationship, I'd call it: Delusions and Denial. I remember that movie night really well, largely because it was the moment when I realized I might be with the completely wrong person for me and then I'd spent the entire evening wishing I was alone. He was not, as I said "a sport about it all"; he acted put out at every turn that evening and when we talked about each other over dinner, he didn't know pretty basic facts about me. It was that conversation that slashed through the rest of the evening and was really the beginning of the end, though I was in deep, deep, dumbass denial. A lot of people experience this type of thing when they are young and impressionable. Not I. I do everything late in life...and I mean everything. (Expect a wedding invite at some point this decade). I'm happy this happened when it did because, knowing myself at 22, I likely would have fragmented and drifted off into space. Also, he wasn't a genuine food lover. The Moroccan dinner I mention would have been way more enjoyable if he hadn't been there. I have forced my memory to snapshot that dinner with one very tall, ex-shaped hole in the middle. It's better that way, trust me.
That same night:
we also made a stop at the huntington book revue which is probably the best bookstore i've ever been to. i bought a copy of the "golden notebook" to add to my ever growing collection. this time i was able to limit myself to one book though i kept picking up and putting down others.
I still love the Book Revue something fierce, though I haven't yet read that copy of the Golden Notebook. I did try a few years ago but my heart wasn't in it. I should find it and pick it up again.
The end of the journal entry:
this weekend is radiohead. i think you could say i'm pretty excited about that.
That was just after In Rainbows came out, I believe. It was at an outdoor festival, back when I used to do that kind of thing. Now that I'm older and looking back, I'm mature enough to understand that just because Radiohead usually releases a new album and tours around one's birthday, doesn't necessarily mean one's soul is inexorably linked to the band, their golden creative output, and their unrelenting genius by the sheer fact of being born. After all, just cause you feel it, doesn't mean it's there. Except that last week I saw the one of the top two concerts of my life and it just happened to be Radiohead. And it was a week before my birthday so......
To sum up:
When I was 32, my heart broke, then grew back with a light scar across the middle. I learned how deeply I enjoy being alone, particularly when compared to being with someone who should know me, but doesn't. That year, I renewed my passport, got on planes and saw a thousand pathways unfurl before me. Maybe it happened a bit later for me than most people, but just remember that I'm (almost) 40. I don't care about that.