I’m glad my birthday lands on the season of giving thanks, it reminds me to reflect on the past…. and see how far I’ve come.
Today I turned 47, although I don’t feel it. I am no longer in my mid-forties, I have to check the late-forties box now. It feels like a milestone. As a begin my 47th trip around the sun, I can’t imagine being any other age because of what I’ve learned.
Yes, the past decade was plenty challenging. I survived a economic recession, high blood pressure, an OCD diagnosis of my son, depression, cancer, a permanent work injury, two surgeries, a reluctant return to my hometown, a divorce, caring for my ailing parents and their finances, the death of my father and personal financial distress.
I share this… not to whine about it, but to compare by contrast of what I’ve gained.
In that time, I’ve been blessed with a wealth of friends who’ve supported me in every way possible. They listened when I was finally ready to talk. They took me in when I needed a place to live. They helped me financially in dire times. They helped me physically when I needed to move after a surgery. They helped me emotionally when slipped into the deepest valleys of my depression. They made me laugh and let me cry. And most importantly, they loved me unconditionally when I needed it most.
All of this support has enabled me to recognize my strength so I deal with oncoming challenges. I worked hard, hunkered down and surprised myself with personal growth.
I came out of the closet as a person living with depression, and sought treatment, which changed my life. I committed time and resources to reduce my physical pain. I reserved my time and energy so I could spend more quality time with my son. I allowed myself the space for my creative skills of writing, painting, photography and costume design. I found the courage to go solo to Burning Man, road trips and local Burner social events. I found a way to financially support myself in creative ways while maintaining my freedom. I reclaimed my family home and made it my own. I aimed to establish a good quality of life every day. I stopped searching for love so I could instead focus on what makes me happy. Because of that, love found me.
As I spend this first day of my 47th year with the love of my life, watching a Firefly marathon in the mountains, I recognize all I have to be thankful for… my life, my health, my home, my son Dexter, my partner Eli, my family, my friends, my art and the wisdom and serenity I’ve gained.