I am home sick with a nasty, drippy cold. Tucked into bed with every pillow I own propping me up while I precariously balance the laptop on my outstretched legs, dirty tissues strewn about on either side of me, tea cup by my side (the steam doing nothing to help clear my sinuses), all plans for the day canceled so I don’t infect anyone else with the plague, I am left with my own thoughts, and a cat who periodically wanders into the bedroom to meow at me then leave before being exposed to the germy mess I am today. This was not how the day was supposed to go. It’s my birthday! This was not how my 37th year was supposed to start. And yet, here I am.
I’ve been pondering what I really want out of this year – not my goals or what I want to achieve, but what I really want to feel and be. Somehow, 37 feels big. I am way closer to 40 than 30. Forty is coming for me like an oversized boulder that was just pushed off a cliff. Thirty-six was a year of growth and healing and being downright uncomfortable as every piece of my life encouraged, or flat out pushed me out of my comfort zone. I came face to face with some old, deep-rooted inner dialogues that needed to be rewritten. As I finally began allowing myself to grow and speak to myself in new ways I had to let go of relationships, tend to unhealed wounds, and genuinely forgive people I thought I could secretly hate for the rest of my life with no great consequence. I’ve spent the last month laying the foundation for true self-love and self-care as I walk into this 37th year of life. Sometimes being an adult means getting up early to workout so your back doesn’t hurt and eating the salad for dinner instead of the French fries so you aren’t awake all night with indigestion. Man, I miss my 20’s…sometimes.
This year, I choose happiness. I think for many years I didn’t think I could be happy, or that I deserved to be happy. It feels a bit revolutionary to declare happiness when I don’t have what society says I should have to be happy and fulfilled at this point in my life. My generation was told women not only can have everything, but we are supposed to have everything. Anything less, and something is wrong with you. I am not married. I’m not even seriously dating anyone right now. I practically drop my phone in fright every time I get a notification from one of the dating apps I foolishly created profiles on. I don’t have any children – unless you count my cat, which I kind of do, especially when I get the bill for his cat food or he wakes me up at 5am for no good reason. I have some amazing kids in my life but I may never have children of my own. I’m on my third career. I don’t own a house or have a comfortably, consistently growing 401(k). And yet, I say, fuck it! I am going to be happy. I am going to consciously make the choice to be happy over and over and over again this year, because why the hell not?!? Sometimes we get so fixated on things happening in one way (our way) that we forget life can, and does, unfold in lots of different ways. It’s okay if things don’t look the way we thought they should, or the way they do for everyone else. This year I stand firmly rooted in the fact that I am fulfilled by my life as it is right now, and I choose to be happy.
Maybe this was the way the day was supposed to go. After all, one of my main goals this year is to deeply connect with my own voice and use it. And being sick allowed me to have quiet time with myself and actually write.