May 13, 2007

My life doesn't fit in its parking spot.

I'm now approximately 36 hours away from my 26th year on the planet, and contrary to what you might've expected based on last year's birthday freakout/quarterlife crisis, I'm relieved to report that this year, no panicking. Maybe some pensiveness, but since I turned 22, that has come standard, like automatic windows and that "fasten seatbelts" ding, twice a year: after christmas and on my birthday.

Looking back on the past year, I'm struck by one thing most of all: the sheer volume of it.

How is it possible for so much to have fit so tidily into 365 days? Not to be overly dramatic, but in just that long, everything I knew about my life seemed to fall apart, come back together, and fall apart again, in so many ways. (Alright, that was totally dramatic, but I really believe it, so points for sincerity, right?)Even so, I can't think of a better, more important, year in all my nearly 26.

I'll avoid the gruesome, glorious details (you're welcome), but just a taste of it, to illustrate:

I reconnected with some of the most important people in my life this year, one of whom was me. I started taking what I knew could be mine, and stopped apologizing so much for everything. I think grace and I made some big strides.

My family literally disintegrated at its weakest points, roles reversed, flipped, and righted themselves again, and love and hate were so closely related I'm still not sure I have them straight. But somehow, though the ripping was horrifying, it was liberating, too.

I was freed of my sense of guilt about everything I always knew and felt but didn't say. I had surgery, twice, a cancer scare once, made a freaky career move and was hit by a bus. I paid attention. I let go.

I had a summer of dreams, rediscovered the gorgeousness of a few people really really knowing who you are and loving you in spite of you, and remembered -- three different times -- that I'm good all on my own, even if I'd secretly prefer having someone quietly, carefully care for me, in spite of my endless objections that I can do it all myself.

I remembered that I know exactly what love is, and that sometimes I need to turn down the volume on my brain enough to hear the persistant noise that comes from somewhere else, too.

Now at this juncture I can't really believe I am going to live forever, but I don't miss the naievete of that belief. I can't possibly mourn it, because it's been replaced by something else far more important. Suddenly I find I think more about living big enough that when I don't live forever, someone somewhere will have a reason to remember me, even if they don't know my name.


This weekend, in keeping with the oversized theme of the past year, was exactly what I hoped, only bigger. In fact, after far too many beers, some singing and plenty celebration, the bigness almost knocked me down. All these people, this noise, this laughter... It swirled around me and translated, in one tipsy moment, into a love so palpable I literally had to find a parked car in the parking lot to lean against, fighting to catch my breath (and two big, happy tears).

I am overwhelmed by my life. Afraid, thrilled, a little naseous. Empowered, uplifted, stifled by its hugeness. And I am so aware -- more now than ever -- that it's all out of my hands. I don't know who is driving, but whoever it is knows exactly what they're doing. I don't even want to see the map.

I'm a lucky girl. And so, so thankful.


allmypulp said...

You know I'm 28, and now instead of remembering how old I am, I remember how many years I'm away from 30.

Trebuchet said...

Me too. I just keep thinking how on a calculater if a number is, like 2.6 that you round up to 3.0.

The good news is that i won't be rounding up to 35 for 9 years. so it's almost like i get four years free.