Letter From My 48th Year (Jan 8)
Given that today is actually the start of my 48th year, you would suppose I’d have something profound to say. But given that I got home from work roughly 45 minutes ago and that roughly 40 of those 45 minutes were spent sitting on my couch, still with my headphones on, playing endless rounds of a word game cause I was just too tired to push on to the kitchen, you might want to lower your expectations. A lot.
In addition to the usual disorientation of “where the heck am I and how the heck did I get here?” upon returning to work after a two-week absence, I was tired all day today because I had stayed up way past my bedtime to watch the Golden Globes and then had (most likely perimenopause-induced) insomnia which kept me up most of the night. Which is in some ways better and in other ways so much worse than my perimenopause-induced faulty body temperature gauge. Sigh.
Tomorrow I supposedly really get back to the life where I eat in a fairly healthy way and log 7,500-10,000 steps every day. The operative words in that daydream are “tomorrow” and “supposedly.” Tomorrow I’m also meeting a friend from high school for coffee at 7:30am so we have plenty of time to chat before I have to to work and she has to go to the conference that brings her to DC each year. This will seem like a wonderful idea tomorrow when I actually see her, but right at this moment, it feels foolhardy and unwise.
Tomorrow we are also holding an informal memorial service for our colleague who died unexpectedly nearly two weeks ago. I suspect it will both be heartbreaking and life-affirming. Around the office there’s been a lot of talk about needing to put our jobs in perspective and not be afraid to take breaks and have lunches with colleagues and so on (true) and also about how we really do operate as a (sometimes dysfunctional but nonetheless) loving family, and that is a rare gift and why people stay at our agency for so long (very very true).
I am starting Dryanuary tomorrow, so I think I’m going to head back to the couch, grab a little something to sip, and watch the last episode of series 2 of The Crown. But before I go, here are 20 things I’m really grateful for as I hurl into my 48th year. (I won’t include any specific people because then this would be just a long list of names, but please know I am indeed grateful that I do have a long list of people who love me unconditionally, who make me laugh, who support my creative work, and who let me know they love me on the regular.)
- I’m grateful that I’m getting pretty good at distinguishing between people who only tolerate me versus those who celebrate me, and that my life is abundant in the latter.
- I am grateful that all the times I tried to break up with poetry, it never ever broke up with me and it doesn’t even hold grudges.
- I am grateful for Jon Hamm’s voice. And Armie Hammer’s voice. And, well, Jon Hamm’s everything.
- I am grateful that I live the kind of life where at least once a day, I belly laugh (and it’s usually much much more than that).
- I am grateful for Calvados. And the Diplomatic brand of rum (which someone should totally get for me once Dryanuary is over).
- I am grateful for the many opportunities my particular job has given me to expand my personal tribe of fellow artists.
- At Pepper’s funeral, the minister spoke of friends who reveal to us our layers, and I’m grateful to have those types of people in my life, with whom I learn and/or remember who I am.
- I’m grateful learning about oneself is a lifelong process and you can always work on becoming kinder and braver and more generous.
- I’m grateful that I woke up this morning. And if I wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll be grateful then, too.
- I’m grateful that God won’t ever leave me or forsake me because I know I give him plenty of cause. Like seriously, I’d be perpetually at the temple sacrificing animals if I were alive in the Old Testament. Sigh.
- I’m grateful that someone a few years ago donated a poster from the DIA’s show of Matisse’s Paper Cut Outs to the Grace Church thrift shop because my whole apartment is built around that poster, and walking into all that color is the reason I always stop and smile when I walk in my front door.
- I’m grateful that once upon a time someone invented pizza. And ice cream. And bread. And delivery.
- I’m grateful that I live in walking distance of the Tastee Diner and that they don’t mind pouring me cup after cup of coffee when I sit and journal there on Friday mornings.
- I am grateful that I can still become enthralled by a work of art, like the film Call Me By Your Name, that I can be so stirred up that I have to remind myself to pay attention and stop myself from going off and writing poems in the middle of the movie.
- I am grateful for art museums, and I’m particularly grateful that most of the ones in DC are free.
- I am grateful that I can still surprise myself with some of the poems I write.
- I am very very grateful for books, the ones I haven’t read yet who patiently wait for me, even if it takes me years to get to them, and the old friends who I return to time and time again when I just need a bit of familiar magic by way of comfort.
- I am grateful that I have inherited my mother’s love for jewelry.
- I am grateful for red lipstick.
- I am grateful for this Spotify playlist — which roughly covers 1970-1994 (which is when I moved from Boston where I went to college to Chicago— and that because of Spotify I can keep up with my love of making mixed tapes.