Both of my parents threw birthday parties for my brother and I. Friends from school arrived, games and music played, goodie bags distributed and eaten, decorations in tow from ceiling to floor, laughter rampant, with this abundance of joy that filled the confines of our home. All the latter was a staple in my life until adolescence.
I felt cherished and oblivious to the passage of time. Every year, the presents would be carefully arranged near the birthday cake towards the front of wooden dining room table. Everyone watched as I unwrapped every box with anticipation. I smiled and waived into the camera. While I wouldn't want to return to my childhood for anything or anyone, I am fond of those memories, recalling and relying on each of them whenever I am down or doubtful.
When you're a small child, being in one's late thirties is foreign, that you almost never imagine it could arrive. And, yet, on the eve of my 38th birthday, here I am. Alive and living in New York City, single, still waiting for those dreams to happen, for my mystery man to emerge, to quell anxieties.
What I am fast learning now is how everything is temporary. Whether it be sadness, loneliness, discontent, or even happiness and comfort. All of it comes in waves during different phases. I used to fight some of those feelings, thinking that if I tried harder, perhaps resisted against it, something would change.
I want to believe that this year will be better. That more things will fall into place, making some sort of sense. I want to also believe that there great things are in store, whatever they may be, whomever they are with. I used to think so far ahead in the future, planning on where to live, what to do, how I should do it, and what outer extremities would attribute to my personal scope of inner happiness.
This year feels grown up more than ever. While loved ones flourish with their own lives, I am done comparing myself to those standards or achievements. I am savoring 38, realizing how far I have come from that sick little boy in rural Nevada who wanted to live in the big city and be an artist. I am going to love myself more, be kinder, not so hellbent on having more. I am going to try and be there for myself the way a good friend would, in the background, cheering, and supportive.
As I write this, I look out into my window, facing the falling snow, listening to the cars tread on the streets. A stem glass full of Sauvignon Blanc sits next to me along with a to do list with the must do things of the year. While my plans have foiled this evening as a result of the blizzard of the century, I am making the most of this time, alone for now or until the current weather pattern improves. I am not ashamed to admit that, nor should I feel weird or uneasy. I have an ease and gratitude in my heart. While I often didn't think I could get this far, I did. There must be reason for it all.
Whatever 38 has in mind for me, I am waiting.