I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Big 4-0!

Well, it wasn't easy, but I made it! As I write this very sentence, the clock struck 9:29 A.M., and I have been an official member of society for forty years.

Mind you, I'm writing this in between Zofran-induced naps. I've been really sick this week, and this year, for that matter. If I want to be super honest, as ridiculous as it may sound, the last 30 years have been downright difficult. But I'm here, and that's a testament to my determination. I am usually hard on myself, but today, I acknowledge that I am a fiery, tenacious beast. Hear me roar, albeit, softly.

I've been thinking for awhile what I would write about today. I don't particularly feel like sitting here blogging in my current condition, but ninjas gonna ninj, so here I am.

When I was a kid, I remember a relative having a complete meltdown over turning the big 4-0, citing that she didn't want to "start looking old". My response to my mother later was that I hope I don't feel that way when I turn 40; I want to be grateful I made it that far. She agreed, and to her credit, was genuinely upbeat when her own 40th birthday arrived.

The truth is, I don't really like being a part of this chaotic world, but I AM glad I made it this far and I want to keep living as long as possible. The fact that I drove my miserable barfing backside to the unhappiest place on Earth - the emergency room - this week is proof enough that I'm not looking to croak anytime soon. I'm very matter-of-fact about my existence, and pretty much everything else. I don't have a problem saying that I'm in a lot of pain and that things suck more often than not, but that I'm thankful for whatever good I encounter in life and I'm doing the best I can to be a part of that good in return. I don't know how anyone can ask anymore of me than that.

I figured there is no sense in reflecting on four decades of illnesses, failures, or limitations. There are plenty, but they're going on the back burner in favor of the following gratitude:
  • I kept my promise to my childhood self. I made it to 40, I don't care if I look old, and I'm not having a meltdown.
  • I live in a country that is deeply flawed, but it allows me to make most of my own life choices.
  • I am responsible for myself, and no one else. I wish I could be a real help to hurting kids, but I am so so so relieved that I didn't have children. These horrible genes die with me, baby.
  • In spite of my anxious introversion, I have friends and family who care about me.
  • With bravery and familial support, I made one of my dreams happen when I ran off to Florida and became a Certified Bob Ross Instructor. It's the craziest and coolest thing I've ever done, and it is the only moment in my life that I would rewind and live again if I could.
  • Laughing till I hurt over stupid things on social media.
  • Not counting neighbors who share a building with me, I finally reside alone. I love being alone more than I can express, and I could not be more thankful for any independence I have in my condition.
  • On days I'm able to drive, I have a vehicle that gets me where I need to go.
  • I'm not starving and I have a roof over my head.
  • Thank you to the people who took my condition seriously and kept trying to figure it out until I had an answer and treatment options. We won't talk about the many who didn't.
  • I may be the weird Aunt, but at least I'm an Aunt, lol. Those babies own my heart.
  • I appreciate every person who opened their home to me over 25 years when times were hard or for any other reason.
  • My students were the best. I'll never forget everything they did for me.
  • After years of wishing and what-ifing, I went to college and studied art for a year. It was so hard, it nearly killed me. And even though I am not an artist today, it was still worth it.
  • I don't envy a single person I know. If you're happy, that's fantastic. Congrats! But I don't want your possessions, your relationships, or any other facet of your life. I have zero interest. It's all yours!
  • Empathy is both a blessing and a curse, but today, I'm glad it's a prominent part of my soul and I'm glad others have shown it to me as well.
  • Happy Birthdays from all over the world every year.
  • Being more educated than my degree (or lack thereof) implies. I have OCD and the World Wide Web to thank for that. No one can take what I've learned away from me.
  • Celibacy is fabulous, and I couldn't care less who doesn't agree. The end!

OK, one more thing: you all put up with me. I mean it...God bless ya.

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