"The evening sun touched gently on the eyes of Lucy Jordan..."
Just like that.
Another day come and gone, another trip around the sun, and blah blah blah more adages and cliches and bullshit.
You know, the lustre of birthdays wore off decades ago, and I am unsure if the shininess went with the Pass-the-Parcel parties or if it went with realizing each year's exercise in planning grandeur ideas was one of futility.
Turn your plate over! See if you've won a prize.
No cakes, no party hats, no balloons. Pack that noise.
36 was hard, man. I think I will wear those scars for a long time, and I hardened under much of what came down. I often wondered if I would see the other side of it all but here I am, on the other side and flipping off those and what I have left behind.
I like it over here.
As I sit here, embarking on another year, on my Lucy Jordan birthday, I will try a new exercise. Last year I lamented on how I seem to always spend this day setting myself up for failure with hopes and dreams of what I will accomplish in the year approaching. I will not do that this year. Often times the forces we need to accomplish what we put our hearts and souls into are out of our control.
Instead, I will try to annotate some of the lessons I have learned this year.
1. Never be afraid to believe things happen for a reason, no matter how hard or cruel they may be. Sometimes the hardest lessons we learn give us skills to navigate through other times; and sometimes those hard times - the cruelty, heartbreak, mistreatment by those who you trusted - bring you on new paths, and bring others into your life who are sincere and true. Things often do not make sense while they are happening, but one day you will sit and realize that if all of the hurt and bullshit did not happen the way it did, you would not be sitting where you are and with who you are. Every single decision and step is like one of those cheesy "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from those elementary Scholastic book orders. Maybe you needed to choose the snake pit to end up at the castle.
2. Advocacy is hard. We work in arenas where our hearts and souls go into everything we do, and often times we fall into the lion pits where we find ourselves eating our own. The heart, the brain and the psyche grow tired. There are days when we ask why we do what we do, if a difference is made or is to be made, and if we are constantly just clawing at quicksand. Find yourself a "raft of bitches" and remember we are so much stronger together, rather than tearing each other down or stepping on the heads of others to propel our own agendas and careers. Nothing built on the oppression of others will last. Just keep true to your goals and dreams for our communities, our groups, each other. Keep working your ass off. Oh, and division helps no one only those on the other side who want to see us fragmented and divided.
3. Rupi Kaur taught me a lot about selfish people. Selfish people will use you and hurt you for their own gain, simply because you are something they did not want to miss out on. "They gamble entire souls, entire beings, to please their own." Rid your life of those people. Do not let them consume you and remember, "Your existence meant that little next to their curiosity of you." Let them create their narratives. Go on with your life knowing your armour is stronger because of it and you have learned lessons on human nature, and how to not be. And sometimes, as a wise woman told me, what might seem like trying to get by is actually you dodging bullets better than Neo in The Matrix.
4. It's okay to not be okay. Take the opportunity when someone offers you an ear to use it. Talk. Even those who do not have advice are offering you priceless things - their ability to listen and their friendship. Those people are the ones you need in your life. Good people are damn hard to come by. Surround yourself with those who offer you their friendship and remember, as a good friend said, "Everyone is more than five sessions worth of fucked up." We're all a little broken and there is zero shame in that. Those who perpetuate perfection are likely the most broken of all. Do not let them make you feel wrong or ashamed for all of your broken pieces.
5. Chin up, woman. Things could be a lot better but they could also be a lot worse. You have wonderful people in your life, cuddly pups, and work that you love. There will always be those who throw the banana from their Mario Kart. Just fly on past. Do not let speedbumps, hazards or someone else's pathetic behaviours and insecurities hamper your goals, get in the way of what you do, who you are or where you are going. Feed on it and use it as fuel to be a whole damn fire.
6. Of all the things in your life to be thankful of, appreciate the people who stick with you the most. Make sure they know how important they are, return the favour when you can, and never take them for granted. And there will also be people you need to leave behind, scorch the earth behind you and salt it as you go. You'll be better off. Someone told me you make the most meaningful relationships later in life, and if that hasn't proven true this year, buddy, I'll eat my #gongernation hats.
7. And trust that intuition now. I have a sneaking suspicion you might have found where you are supposed to be. This just might be it.
At 17 I drunkenly said I would not be Lucy Jordan.
I'm not, but maybe we have some things in common. That's not always a bad thing.
Here's to 37.
And hey, I'm now at the age where buying that new Roomba was pretty exciting. If anyone needs entertainment I'll be charging admission to the event where it squares off with my robot dinosaur because, you know, I'm an adult.
I think I'll go have a glass of wine, pack my bags to hop on that plane tomorrow. Though I spent this post reflecting on lessons learned, now I start to look forward to all that is to come instead of looking back at all that went wrong.
"So she let the phone keep ringing as she sat there softly singing pretty nursery rhymes she'd memorised in her daddy's easy chair..."