I’m so sorry you didn’t get to have a piece of my amazing birthday cake, baked by my mother-in-law. Two layers of chocolate cake and one of vanilla straddling homemade cherry jam and slathered in vanilla bean buttercream so silky and vanilla-y that you might forget you typically like dark frosting better and then just to gild the lily, a healthy pool of chocolate ganache.
This is the year it all went to hell.
My eyes. My knees. My patience.
But it’s also the year I rose from the ashes — albeit slowly because, well, the knees. I started an exercise program and I am far from the strongest or the fastest or the fittest but I go, dammit, and I try since my stalled metabolism has left me no other choice. And while I have some fairly stiff competition for whiniest CrossFitter (ahem, Adrienne and Nicola), I feel pretty confident I have the edge in that category. Stuff’s tightening up and even though I have come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have the body I did when I was 25 (and didn’t appreciate), at least I can eat dessert again.
It’s the year I decided, screw it, I am not waiting for a publisher to green-light my book, I’m going to do it myself. I controlled my destiny and it’s been awesome. I got to design my cover and retain creative control and I get to be the one to hear directly from people that they like my little passion project. Pretty awesome.
I’m reflecting on all this now because it was my birthday earlier this week. I was always pretty pleased that George Clooney was my b-day buddy because he’s charismatic and low-key, but now we both have to share. A royal baby in the mix means from here on out, everything little Lord Fauntleroy does is going to get top billing. Over both of us. Sigh.
But back to the post at hand…
Every birthday brings introspection and reflection about what am I doing and where I’m going and what comes next, and this year it’s truer more than ever. It’s a big transition year. Huge. My oldest went off to college. The book that I have been writing and pimping for the past year or so has finally been published; those nagging extra pounds are slowly sliding off. My trusty silver Odyssey minivan — which I drove for nine years and replaced the gold Odyssey I piloted for five — is now schlepping a different, even bigger family around. As much as I resented it in the beginning, the minivan was … well, definitely on-brand. It wasn’t flashy, it just got the job done. I found it liberating to have a dinged-up car that was never washed or vacuumed but just took us places. I don’t know why but right now that old, old, ooooooold song “I am Woman” is playing in my head, but with these lyrics: I am mother, hear me snore; I Uber numbers too big to ignore…
Still, I s’pose it’s good to shake things up, take chances, make changes. In spite of all the transition, though, some things still kinda stay the same. Like my crackly knees.
This will also be the year I have to figure out my new place in this world and what I’ll do for the remainder of my Act 2. It’s a lot to think about. So, I’m not going to. Not just yet. I’m going to enjoy the moment — which I didn’t do on my birthday because there were toilets to clean and floors to mop and carpet to vacuum and middle-school graduation duties to complete — and polish off that last slice of birthday cake.
Here’s to 49.
One of my birthday gifts. I shall be doing some experimenting to see if really and truly a whole bottle of wine will fit.