I'd found pictures from last year's dinner to see just how dressy people get for this thing. I'd picked something that was both comfortable, but appropriate for the occasion. I'd changed shoes, after Sylvia had chimed in, and agreed that they looked better. I had resigned myself to, "yeah, this is as good as it's going to get."
And then I remembered. No one really cares! Beyond the fact that I was dressed appropriately, no one would be paying much attention to what I looked like. In fact, most of them would be mostly concerned with what they themselves were wearing! We're all pretty self-absorbed that way. And I am reaching the age where frankly, to try much harder would be completely inappropriate! And then I completely let go of any anxiety and could actually enjoy the event.
I can't imagine wishing to be younger, like the protagonist in 29. Maybe I can't appreciate it yet, as there will be 38 candles on my birthday cake, not 75.
Still, unlike the character, I feel pretty confident that I'm living in my present. I don't long to change the past, I don't think much of the future beyond when's the next free weekend we have. Mostly, because I don't want things to change.
I love my job (most of the time), I feel like I've finally got a handle on parenting one day at a time (most of the time), I look forward to spending time with friends, and I also look forward to having no plans at home. While my life isn't perfect, I am perfectly content with it.
When I was 29, I was pretty sure it was just a matter of time before my marriage was over. When I was 29, I couldn't figure out just what I had accomplished in the past decade, beyond having two beautiful girls. But I knew I wasn't living up to my own standards of motherhood. I knew I wasn't living up to my own potential in any aspect of my life. Just after 30 was when I changed my life completely.
At 38, I am exactly where I want to be. Happy birthday to me!
*This post is inspired both by that inevitable changing of the age, and also by this month's From Left to Write book club pick, 29. Read more posts inspired by 29 at From Left to Write. While I was given the book to read for free, I have not been compensated for this post, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.