So I don’t know if you heard, what with us being so super chill and quiet about it, but it was my birthday last week. I know! We really should talk about it, considering we have basically kept it a secret up til now.
There was, as is my habit, a lot of Taking Stock around my birthday. Bless my heart, I love to have a What Does It All Mean convo with myself and having a birthday gives me permission to let it rip. One of the things I kept thinking about was how my life has turned out as a grown ass lady. I had very specific plans for myself as a youth and not one thing about it has come to pass. NOT ONE THING. Hey kids, planning is for suckers. Let’s break it down.
First of all, the fact that I am not making a living in some sort of artistic endeavor CONTINUES TO BLOW MY MIND. How did this happen? I live in the heart (sometimes the balls) of Libraryland now, probably for the long haul. When I think of the hours, days, weeks, years that I put in, painstakingly learning and practicing artisms, and how much joy that gave to me and how got-damned sure I was that that would always be my life? Nope, none of that. I really called that one wrong.
Second, this relationship stuff? WHAT. I was a kid who never pictured myself partnered up. All the way up into my 20s I was so not into that idea. I mean, ugh, WHO NEEDS DUDES, am I right? Who wants that shit getting in the way? NO THANKS. Except, um, there does seem to be this dude here now, and who has been here for many years, and has not brought any trifling Dude Shit into my life in any way, and I sort of love him more and more all the time. Huh. Look at that. Go figure.
Third, and this is sort of related to the No-Dude policy that I had, but I really thought I would be living in some sort of lady-pal utopia. Like, I would have this group of lady friends and we would all be super tight and hang out all the time and be each other’s family and eat cheesecake late at night like the Golden Girls and talk every day like the ladies on Girlfriends. Instead, what I did was move to a city of introverts where dropping by unannounced is Just Not a Thing and talking more than once every couple of weeks is Out of Bounds (y’all I love you if you fall into this category so don’t be mad about me calling it out but YOU KNOW I’M NOT LYING. RHODA AND MARY TYLER MOORE WERE ALWAYS UP FOR THE HANGOUT IS ALL I AM SAYING). So, no BFFs living next door for me. Booooooo, adulthood.
However, here’s the thing you guys. My life? It is the Greatest of All Time, ie the GOAT. Turns out I am pretty good at this library thing, and I get to work with amazing people and learn new things constantly and advocate for social justice, and I can be proud of myself for bringing integrity, and kindness, and humor, and collaboration to my work every day. I know we aren’t supposed to say these things, but I’m gonna. I work really hard, and I feel good about what that work is doing in the world and how I’m conducting myself in it. And I have this amazing person partnered up with me in life who supports my being my most authentic self, respects my personhood, and always, and I mean always, has been kind and unconditional to me with incredible consistency each and every single day since dinosaur times. Plus we laugh until our guts bust up and he’s sexy AF. Not sure how this happened, because I certainly wasn’t in the market for it, but there you go. And I may not have my little group of ladies to hang out on the lanai with every day, but I have my soul sisters all over the country who sustain me via phone calls, visits, texts. From Michigan to Illinois to California to New York to Wisconsin to DC to yes, Washington State, they create a patchwork of beautiful support that comes my way when it counts, and I love them with all my heart and they love me.
I have friendship and love and an awesome fam and meaningful work and laughs and comfort and energy and experiences and and and and and. I don’t sleep a lot because I have so much living to do in my days, I cannot WAIT for it happen. I get up early and go until I run out of steam and then go again and again and again. Some people in my life think I should slow down (that’s an argument for another time) but how can I when there’s so much life to be lived? I know that sometimes I can seem like I have rainbows shooting out of my ears and I can imagine how annoying this can be. But honestly. This life is so exquisite. It takes my breath away if I think about it. And I do think about it. Who knew things would turn out this way? My 15-year-old self was wrong on all of her predictions, but she (omg talking about myself in the third person STOP) was right at the core: she wanted a life full of love and creativity. What that love looks like and how that creativity happens turned out to be very different than expected, but the hope was the same.
A co-worker asked me the other day why I always get up so early and I said “FEAR OF DEATH, TBH” and it was a joke but really it wasn’t. We are only here for a short while, my loves. I want to be awake and doing something for as much of it as I possibly can, no time to fuck around, for serious. It’s a beautiful life that I’ve made. Maybe that’s the best kind of art I could’ve done.
(Madonna, Ray of Light)