Yep, today's my birthday. I'm 48. I think as a woman and particularly a Southern woman I'm not supposed to say that out loud but I really don't give a rip. I've embraced the fact that I'm aging. We all do if we're fortunate. I am thinking of a young friend today whose older brother isn't going to get that chance and I ache for him. I ache for his mother, his dad, his extended family. 21 is too young. I can't begin to imagine. Sweet Oakley I don't know if you'll see this but you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers today.
So forgive me if I choose to be grateful to be alive. Pardon me if acknowledging my age is breaking some social bullshit taboo. Honestly of the decades I have lived thus far on this earth my 40's have been my favorite. For me, forty something has been about finding my voice and not being afraid to use it. I've written more, spoken more, advocated for myself and others more in my 40's than in any decade before. Things that I was always passionate about but didn't feel like I had sufficient wisdom to be taken seriously about I can now begin speaking to. I know who I am and most importantly I LIKE who I am and those who don't like me are welcome to vacate my circles.
40 has been the decade of detox. Shedding toxic people. Leaving toxic organizations. Becoming a vegetarian for heaven sakes! Yeah nobody would have predicted THAT one in my 20s or 30s. I have another blog here. It's private for a myriad of reasons. I've had it for over a decade. Late last night I was reading posts from the last few years and it was quite eye opening. The whole reason for journaling I think is the ability to look back and see the changes that happen without one being aware of them as they are happening. A common theme over the last at least 10 years has been one of seeking health and wholeness. I live with a chronic illness, that hasn't changed, but I do believe in some equally or perhaps even more important ways I've made progress in that direction.
I grew up in rural middle Tennessee. I lived in a subdivision in a time when kids were free range. We left as soon as the sun was up and we were up and we weren't required to be back until the street lights came on. We biked and walked and in my case often roller skated all over the place. My grandparents on both sides of the family lived on acreage that was a combination of fields and woods. Us kids spent hours in those spaces. We were in 4-H and FFA and FHA and Scouts. I was bookish and artsy but my reading nooks and studio spaces were just as likely to be in the crook of a tree or atop a boulder as within a building. Living here I have to remember to make the effort to reconnect to that side of me.
I'm lucky. To be an urban environment Memphis has a ton of green spaces. I joke about living in the hood...and to a degree I do...but I live in the hood in a house with a decent sized back yard where I can grow things and stand barefooted in my labyrinth and ground myself. A yard with a great sprawling wild thing of a cherry tree that will be bursting forth in pink profusion before Lent ends. I remember being dumbstruck my first year here when on a visit to the zoo I made my way through a crowd of kids to see what exotic beast had them so fascinated only to discover a Holstein cow. Now I have friends with urban chickens and I'm daydreaming of someday owning a pygmy goat.
I have found a path that is working for me spiritually and emotionally. That's not a terrible place to be on the backside of 40 staring at 50 in the not so far distance. No, we're not where we thought we'd be financially at this stage in the game and no I didn't expect to still be here in the hood 22 years after we bought our "starter home" but in the ways that matter life is good.
Even being off Facebook for my birthday is good. I've got time to blog. I've got plans tonight with good friends. I just pulled a gorgeous pineapple upside down cake out of the oven. Potatoes are in baking to have with a salad for a late lunch. Austin has an interview in a couple of hours that I am sending positive thoughts out to the universe about. I might even have a nap. It is good.
And if you want to send me birthday comments, just hit that button down there or shoot me a message.
Until tomorrow, Peace.