humor

Before 40

Last week, I turned 39. So it might seem strange that I’m already thinking about my next birthday.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to age out of childhood. I was always more comfortable around adults, so naturally, I wanted to be one. I fantasized about being one of those cool older women, with gorgeous gray hair, rock climbing into my 60s, kicking ass and taking names.

Never mind that I’m terrified of heights and have never rock climbed a day in my life. IT’S MY FANTASY, OKAY?! (Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash)

What I didn’t anticipate was that I’d start having a midlife crisis in my 20s. By 30, my master plan of aging gracefully came to a screeching halt. I was freaking. The. Freak. Out.

What am I doing with my life? What’s the point of it all? What if I never figured “it” out?

The crisis, in many ways, continues to this day. Perhaps suggesting we have more of an existential, versus midlife, one on our hands. This can’t be it. This can’t be all there is. Accumulating baggage and trying to unload it. Accumulating more baggage, attempting to unload it. Over, and over, and over. An endless series of life lessons, distilled into messages that read like a crappy, floral-covered mug.

Love is the answer. Live in the moment. Breathe.

My 39th birthday was filled to the brim with love and celebration. It always feels deeply humbling and bittersweet to be on the receiving end of so much kindness. Face in the sunshine, puffy white clouds, heart full – full of gratitude, but also the knowing that every puffy white cloud casts a shadow. Darkness and light. Hope and despair. Two sides of the same coin, forced to exist together to hold any value.

And maybe that’s at the root of all of our crises. The idea that there’s anything to hold onto. A certain person. A certain age. A certain weight. A certain feeling. A certain bank balance. A certain outcome. In the quest for certainty, we miss out on so much.

So over the next 11 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days, as I wind my way towards my biggest milestone birthday yet, I’m going to try something different. I’m NOT going to sit here and type out a list of all of the things I want to make happen before I turn 40, which was my original plan.

I’ve already checked countless boxes. Hiked/run/biked all the miles. Surpassed my own To Do lists. If any of that held the Key to Existence, Oprah would have interviewed me by now.

Annnnd still waiting.

The coming year will be as likely filled with promise as it is with heartache. There will be picture perfect moments with people who raise my spirits, and lonely nights with a bottle of wine that whispers, “You’re unlovable.” Suns will set and rise, and laughter will come and go, and instead of trying to hold onto any of it, this year, I’m just going to ride the waves.

F&@*. That sounds like a floral-covered mug.
Just For Fun, PSAs

Thank Your Lucky Charms: I’m Hosting My First Guest Post!

Well. Chipmunks. Well well well. I promised you a guest post from my best friend, Jenn, this week, and she has begrudgingly graciously obliged.

The thing is, she owes me. It’s a long story.

You’re in for a treat.

Which I hope is clear based on the fact that this is my first guest post in a year and a half of blogging.

No pressure, Jenn!

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As all you fabulous and wise Go Jules Go readers are aware, I am the lucky soul who gets to call herself Jules’ real-life BFF, as well as her heart’s — or at least her liver’s — inspiration.  You wonderfully literate folks also recently learned that last Tuesday was my birthday.

When I’m not busy reading flattering blog posts penned in my honor, I like to think of my birthday as infrequently as possible.  Way less than annually.  Every four years like the Olympics actually sounds too frequent.

Like a double chin dented by the rubber band on a party hat, birthdays over a “certain age” remind us that, although the cake is gone, the scars remain.  The buoyant charm of youth faded long ago, but the birthdays keep coming.  Like Groundhog Day, with epsom salt.

I still recall (who knows for how much longer) the days when I’d carouse for hours, stumble to bed at dawn, and then pop up at the alarm, ready to start another glorious day of being young.  These days, mornings at my house sound like a wounded herd on the move.  A herd that knows its way around childproof caps.

I didn’t always hate birthdays.  Once upon a time, nothing pleased me more than getting another year older.

It’s like she just saw her first pair of mustache glasses.

As an old man once said, youth is wasted on the wrong people.

These days… let me not mince words.  These days, I hold birthdays right up there with fungal infections and rectal exams.  Both of which, you’ll be tickled to hear, multiply exponentially with — you guessed it — birthdays.  Sigh.

While I still have my faculties, let me leave you with a final thought on the aging process.  The more birthdays we have, the more we realize that we travel from cradle to grave at a breakneck pace, and not all our body parts will cross the finish line.  So enjoy your kidneys and your knees and your ability to sleep through the night while you can.

And live each day as if it’s not your birthday, my friend.  Because time is one big Donner party, and you are magically delicious.

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How do you cope with birthdays/the aging process?  And how much do you love Jenn? (Well, just forget it. She’s mine.)