I remember what I was doing when I turned 30 (which was ridiculously hilarious). And I remember what I was thinking about when I turned 31 (which was really genuine and earnest, and very much the basis for what I still believe). In seven hours, I’ll be 32 (which I don’t remember just yet).
Much like last year, I’m spending part of the eve of my birthday thinking a lot about love.* Unlike last year, I’ll spend the rest of this eve celebrating a dear friend’s book release. Also unlike last year, I’m thinking a lot about life, and where life and love twist up and meet.
In the past 364 days, I have not always lived gracefully, verging perhaps on sloppily. However, I have also lived deliberately, making choices, finding reasons, and understanding the ins and outs of how I want to live.
I can’t begin to think I know everything there is to know about living. But I know I want to live authentically, with gratitude, with possibility, and to give. For too long, I worry I focused on wanting to have. It’s time to think about how better to give.
This sums that life part up pretty well:
In the past 364 days, I have loved more wildly and more openly than ever before. I have also loved more timidly and more terrifyingly than ever before. Success in giving the love someone needed rather than the love I wanted to give was followed by failure to embrace what I knew to be true about love – that fear could really f it up (and as Trish points out here, there are many reasons not to fear).
I absolutely do not know everything there is to know about love. But I know I would rather be open to the possibilities that love presents, even when they aren’t presented in perfectly wrapped little petit four candy coated shells, instead of hurt by them.** It’s better than dying without someone you love deeply.
I think this sums it up nicely:
They never said it was going to be easy; they said it was going to be worth it.
Finally, life and love, all twisted up like a twizzled candy cane:
I know I want to love my life – that the labor of my parents (and their parents) has afforded me the luxury of doing just that. That I still dream of buying a truck (like this one…or this one), getting a dog, selling most of what I own, grabbing a bunch of maps and traveling the Americas at my leisure. Camping, taking photos, meeting people, hearing stories, and writing things down. And that this isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
I know I want love in my life. The kind of love that challenges me to overcome myself, that asks me to grow and change in every direction. The kind of love that is both a collaborative partnership and one that is sometimes at odds with one another (oh my, Joan Didion and John Donne come to mind). The kind of love that doesn’t feel temporary. The kind of love that is mindful. I want to give that kind of love, and I’d like to be on the other side of it, too.
And I know that no matter what happens in life and love, I have myself.
I think I’m ready now.
* Precisely a year ago, I wrote this: Now, love is about something more – it’s about how two or more people create a community together and thrive because of one another, not in spite of each other. About how love may or may not come easily, and no one can take it away from you with words or actions or otherwise: you’re at your own mercy.
** I’m reminded of the whole relationship that set me off on 50/50 in the first place. The guy had broken up with me. Two months later, when he asked for me back, every person I knew told me I was foolish to agree to date him again. But I did. Because the risk of getting hurt again (which clearly, I did) was worth it. I still think it was.