As is pretty typical for a woman reaching this milestone, I'm taking inventory; ticking off accomplishments, perceived or otherwise with chewed up pencil is a laborious process. In addition to looking forward to a time in my life when I cease to actually give more than half a fuck about what people think or say about me (releasing that ball and chain was the greatest thing I ever did), I'm looking back on the decade that was and damnit if I don't really like what I see.
I didn't pass any typical milestones in my 30s...didn't get married or have kids (are these things typical anymore?) and I didn't buy a house or become the head of anything in my career. I am less worried about any of those things (though the career stagnation/backwards current is a constant source of frustration for me lately and I'd still like to be married one day). What I did do is travel the world and collect experience after experience that I consistently have to remind myself belong to me, that I didn't read about them in someone else's memoir. I finally realized that I have no more time to lament all the bullshit I don't have but want or don't want but have. Again, a revelation that changes life as we know it..you can actually decide to be happy. Sometimes.
I'm compiling a highlight reel. And I'm going to be sharing a few bits of it all week. Here's scene one:
On my 30th birthday, my sister threw me a surprise birthday party at Botanica Bar on East Houston. It was 2006 and the biggest song that summer was Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." I drank a lot of Chimay (a new discovery of mine after being marooned too long on Whateverischeapest Island) and I have photos of myself in a green skirt and white shirt, my hair long and curly and I don't appear to be even thinking about leaping over a milestone. The photos from that night are peppered with smiles and sweaty faces (August birthdays) and old friends and new friends and boyfriends who are no longer around and husbands of friends who are around but not around us. I was working in Jamaica, Queens and living in Astoria and I was in love with every man I saw and feeling so optimistic. In a style very uncharacteristic of me, I wrote only the following in my journal that week:
i had a great birthday. so there's that. oh and there is always sushi. and dignity. always dignity.
But I remember. It was, in fact, one of the most memorable nights of my life and it augured well for my new decade. I look back at photos like this one...
|Note the Chimay glass
...with two of my oldest friends and I think about how that was just yesterday only it was ten years ago. I can still feel the air in there. I can still remember what we talked about and how it felt and how lucky I was and still am. I like this memory because it is a salve to those aforementioned pin pricks. It's a massage. Or a message. A message from the dewey skinned old me: you are ok.