In about an hour, I'll be 32.
My stepdad is going to be 70 in May, and he and my mom are planning a birthday bash for him. When I talked to him on the phone this morning, he didn't seem too excited about it. 70 seemed old, he thought. "Your thirties are the best time of your life," he said.
I'm pretty sure he said the same thing about my twenties at some point many years ago, but he was wrong then. My experience of the twenties was pretty painful. I was struggling through graduate school, working crappy jobs, and since I'm a late bloomer, I tried on a bunch of different identities, some with disastrous results. I racked up a fair amount of credit card debt and student loans, dated the wrong man more than once, and made plenty of mistakes. I had fun, too, I think, but mostly it felt miserable.
I don't know what to think about the 30s yet. So far, they've been great. I've got this great family, and a job I like, and my neck hasn't completely deconstructed yet, which seems to be the thing Nora Ephron says aging women worry about most (seriously?). I get stressed and I haven't figured out how to prioritize very well and I still have plenty of insecurities, but on the whole this life right now is very, very good. Mostly, I feel really grateful for everything.
One thing in particular that I'm grateful for is that Nolie is now on the outside of my body. A year ago on my birthday, I was about five months pregnant and, though I don't remember the actual day last year, I can almost guarantee you I was pissed off. Pissed about being big, about my back hurting, about Nolie scraping her little scritchy-scratchy fingers across my pelvic floor like a fetal Freddy Krueger, pissed I couldn't drink a few glasses of wine to celebrate. Whatever else happens, pregnancy is one event I won't have to experience again. I've also got these amazing little creatures scuttling around my house to show for the two pregnancies I did suffer through, and I wear that fact like a freaking badge of honor.
So. Forward march, I say. 32nd year, I welcome you. I welcome whatever surprises and delights and heartbreaks you might bring. My hands are open.