For as long as I can remember, I have been looking forward to tomorrow. This anticipation might have something to do with spending my childhood and adolescence feeling much more at ease with my parents' peers than with my own. Whatever the reason, I have always felt that when I hit thirty, I would hit my stride. I felt certain that it would be a time of growth and a time of reckoning. And that is most certainly the case. It has been a gruelling and exhilerating six months since New Year's Eve, when I told myself quietly, "This is my year." In every area of my life, big, surprising changes. At this moment, my cup runneth over, and with everything.
My dear friend took this picture of me this weekend. Our children were playing together on the deck. The breeze through the window was warm and peaceful. We were eating olives, Mt. Townsend brie, and the last jar of the rhubarb ginger fig chutney I made this spring. I hadn't slept much. In the moments before it was taken, I had been crying. I love this picture. It is a candid picture of who I am, right now. It is a reminder to be compassionate to myself. I am exhausted by the intensity and variety of my emotions and thoughts. But I am, oh! so glad to be alive! I feel, for the first time, a grown woman. And yet, if I'm lucky I may expect another fifty years, or more, of beautiful life. I feel hopeful and curious. I feel sadness for the parts of my life that haven't turned out the way I hoped or planned. I can't say I regret--I feel so fortunate that this has been my life. And to everyone in it--I want to say thank you, and I love you. I feel ready to embrace the challenges ahead. Perhaps even the challenges I don't know about yet. As I reflect on all my heart contains, I may need to cry quite a bit tomorrow. But I feel pretty sure it will be my happiest birthday ever. So far. As Jane would say, Happy Birthday to me.