35. Wow. It seems I have issues with 35. It seems adult in a way I'm not really prepared to deal with. The beginning of middle age. Old enough to be President. Closer to 40 than 30. Like I should have something to show for my life by now. Just three months ago I was deeply depressed by this upcoming milestone. While the shape of my life hit everything I "should" have needed to be content, I was unhappy. Beaten down by daily routine, desperately lonely, and frustrated by my inability to find fulfillment in my adored husband, vivacious son, and beautiful house.
And then everything started falling into place, things I'd given up on ever getting back or having in the first place. There are two posts from 10+ years ago outlining what I wanted from life; and today those dreams not only still hold, but as my 36th year dawns I find that I have fulfilled them; in spirit if not in letter.
Here's the first post, from February 2nd, 2002: http://jnanacandra.livejournal.com/132730.html. (This one, from a year later, is also relevant: http://jnanacandra.livejournal.com/318356.html) If you ever ask my husband how we got together, he will place that first post at the center of the story, as being when he realized there was at least one other person out there who had the same vision of family as he did. And we've spent our lives since in search of that family; building what we have ourselves, of course, but trying to hold space for others to join us. Thanks to the accident and a few heartbreaks, though, I at least had pretty much given up on that part of it. I wasn't even sure if I would ever date again; my resources were stretched too thin as it was.
And then D, S, and K started coming over for dinner, and convinced us to go camping with them, and the dominoes started falling too fast to follow, and now I cannot conceive of our life without them. They are our family. And as much as I normally loathe the metaphor of a romantic partner being your other half, for its implication that you are not a complete person by yourself, I still cannot think of a better way to put it than that I had a hole in my heart that was D-shaped, and never knew it until it was filled. Our children, only six months apart in age, are best friends (and fight like siblings). While we don't (yet?) have the single household envisioned in my dream, it almost doesn't matter; we spend most of our non-work time together already and the biggest thing a single household would net us is less time driving!
With the support of a larger family, my physical limitations no longer chafe every moment of every day. Every little thing from doing dishes to having a bad pain flare has become less stressful. My house is cleaner. I've had energy and inspiration for painting, even with Aiden out of school for the summer. My garden and my one remaining fish are sadly somewhat neglected, but now it is so much easier to find which things in my life are truly sources of joy and which were just filling the empty spaces. Every moment of hell and heartbreak in the last four years is worth it, now, if it got us here.
My wish, my one wish for my 35th birthday, is that I never lose this feeling of joyful wonder at what my life has become. I am incredibly lucky, and this may well be the Best Birthday Ever.
Note: D, S, and K will remain pseudonymous here for privacy reasons, but if you know me in person (and don't already know who they are) feel free to ask privately.