This post is a little off topic and not exactly related to gardening. Please indulge me as I go off on a completely decadent, shoe-gazing tangent for a moment. Ignoring is also an option. Please also note that I wrote the bulk of this before my birthday last week so the tense is a bit off. One of my goals way back when was to stop spreading myself around and to bring more into this site, even if it doesn’t always fit neatly into the “GARDENING” package. I do try to stay on topic most days.
It’s my birthday this week and it’s got me on the subject of how I want to spend the year until my next birthday rolls around. 37 is feeling like a big one for me. Like I am poised for a lot of change that I can’t yet determine. When I was younger, I imagined that 33 would be my best year, ever: an ideal age. I imagined that by 33 I would be, “…kicking so much ass!” What that said for the years after 33, I do not know. I only managed to get that far in my imaginings. Back then, my version of kicking ass meant feeling comfortable with myself, feeling accomplished in my work, and not putting up with or eating anymore shit. That is how Gayla at Age 33 looked to me. And then 33 rolled around and it was the year of the TV show that went wrong and other perceived failures, and I spent the remainder of the year carrying around a lot of anger and feeling generally AWKWARD. So 33 wasn’t all that to be sure.
Last year I turned 36. I suddenly felt OLD. It was like I had stepped over an invisible line and whoa, what the hell just happened there? I now have a prominent streak of grey hair on my left side, which I’m really not complaining about. I like it enough as far as grey hair goes. It’s just that sudden physical changes are a bit freaky. I lost a lot of friends at a young age so I became aware of the very real possibility of death and dying earlier than most. But last year I suddenly became more conscious of my mortality in a physical way. That said, I don’t mean for this to be a diatribe on growing older. For the most part I like getting older and look forward to what’s yet to come. I very much appreciate everything that experience has taught me, for better and for worse. I like the person I am now a hell of a lot more than the person I was at 25. Or 30. Or at 33, come to think of it.
I am much closer to achieving that ideal I imagined I’d reach at 33. But it’s a slightly shifted ideal, one that has changed as I have changed and my desires and expectations have matured. I enjoy things more. I find more joy in little details and in the work I do. I’m much less afraid and much more able to see what scares me and push against it effectively. Or still be kind of screwed up about certain things and be okay with that, knowing I’ll figure it out eventually. Or not. Because I’m also a bit more comfortable with my fallibility. I am more conscious of my needs and better able to say no to the things I need to say no to. And saying no doesn’t feel so much like I’m strapping on a pair of boots and going to war as a result. Because I’m also more comfortable with the fact that some people won’t like it when I do. I’m mostly okay with being perceived as a “bitch” sometimes. I hate the subtext behind that word. Being able to say no when I need to has also opened up the possibility for saying yes more often, too. At 36, going on 37 (now going on 38. yikes), I do feel more at ease with myself and accomplished. And I do believe that I am in fact eating far less shit.
All of this to say that my pal Karen recently celebrated a birthday. And on her blog she talks about making this the Year That She Becomes A Woman of a Certain Age. I was very inspired by the post and the way she has defined her goals for the year. Several years ago, when I kept a photoblog that was also more or less a journal, I wrote a list of “Things I Want to Do Before I Die”. It was a vague list as I did not expect that I would accomplish all of those things in my lifetime. It was more or less a guide post for what I might like to do and a kick in the pants to make some of them happen. Inspired by Karen (again), I thought I would resurrect that list and continue it here, the week of my 37th birthday. Some items from the old list have made it to this one and a few have even been accomplished. I did not include anything too personal, because I do believe in keeping some aspects of my life private, and I very much doubt you’d care to know regardless.
Not surprisingly, a good many of the items on my list have to do with travel, food, and PLANTS.