Just before my birthday last September, I predicted my upcoming 43rd year to be a wily, chaotic, crazy year of wandering, adventures, and perhaps even hedonism. I was correct on 43’s unpredictability as this year wended far differently than the crazy I expected.
Instead, I have become a hermit. Early this summer, following the trendy tidiness guru Kon Marie, I started inventorying my apartment, assessing all my belongings, and shedding what I no longer needed. In the process of throwing out, I have stayed in. Some Sundays sequestered in my apartment, I don’t talk to anyone.
When younger, especially in my sheltered teens, I would grow anxious over too much time alone at home. The world is out there! Embrace it. Yet these days, I no longer fret over what I “could” or “should” be doing, but instead what I want to do – and that is to reflect, assess, build, sit, stretch, be quiet, and sleep.
This 43 was the year of breakups. Greg and I may finally realize we are not for each other. Prior to this year, our separations brought increasing panic, guilt, and anxiety. The strong currents have abated leaving behind driftwood, wreckage, and perhaps eventual sparkle. I love him dearly, I wish him well, and I can now let our paths diverge when they will.
Likewise, I’m finally over San Francisco. City, you have shaped and changed me, but I want you no more. You grind me between the high of douche-bag, get-rich-quick culture and the low of pervasive and intractable homelessness. I’m ready to move on sooner than later to the next chapter somewhere smaller, quieter, and more intimate. Perhaps these combined separations from Greg and San Francisco have encouraged me to hole up indoors.
As my 44th birthday approaches this Sunday, I feel also the end of my youth. Physically, I may run only a little slower, but emotionally, I need less the crowds, party, excitement that I so wanted and couldn’t have when I was younger. I know better who I am and what I want. Wisdom is choosing what’s right for me and not necessarily what everyone else might want.
On the balance, this was a year of balance. I prospered at work, steering my new job. I traveled some to the Galapagos and Montreal, but not along the great cross-country drives of my past. I exercised, both with regular yoga and chiropractory, as well as a Valentine’s Day half-marathon. I don’t have a lot of epic photos and lasting memories of 43, but the growth of this year may help make the rest of my forties focused, productive, and possible.