I'm halfway through my 35th year. I realized this very late last night when I was driving home in the torrential rain, a shooting pain went across my back, I realized the date, and said, "Damn, it hurts because you're OLD."
No, really. Some of the so-called "MommyBloggers" write letters to their kids in their blogs each month on their birthdate. In lieu of writing one to my dog on the tenth of each month (he's a Capricorn, just like me and Jesus...) I suppose checking in with myself is an okay option. I'll stop short of writing the letter to myself though, because that would just be kind of weird.
The first part of the year has actually been pretty good, now that I stop and think about it. It's good on a basic level because at no point so far this year have I just wanted to lay down in the road and call it a day. That already makes it hands down better than last year, which was some untaped reality show of hell. In the '06, I'll go so far as to say that I'm in a pretty good spot and I'm excited about a lot of the things I'm doing. This is really, really great, because it means that a wish came true, literally. When I had my tiny birthday cake party in December with just me and my parents and Steven, I was bummed out and a little bit hung over, and I was doing the cake thing because I had to or some stars in my mother's sky would burn out and she'd walk around dragging her chains all freaking year. (I mean that in a loving way, I swear.)
Anyway, when I was blowing out the candles on a cake that didn't turn out to be half bad, I thought, "Please, let me have a good year. Please. Just...Please." Prayers of desperation are always rather general for me, but they're the most effective. Take it down to the basics, I say.
The next day I thought about it some more and I decided that a good year would be one in which I had no emotional trauma, particularly self-inflicted, where I pursued and learned as much cool stuff as I could, and traveled as much as possible. So far, I haven't done so bad.
The traveling has been a blast and a blessing. I went to Atlanta in February, and that was fun. I went to Boston in...March, which was a lovely city and a dream to photograph. Then there was New Orleans, which was amazing and incredible and I can't wait to go back in the fall to take more cemetery pictures and just hang out and experience more of the city. The Bahamas in May was awesome, and now I'm hoping to hit California and South Carolina this summer. I'm also hoping for Austin, Savannah and Montreal in the fall. There's just so much to see and do and I find that getting out there in the midst of it is the only thing that really keeps me sane. I've been writing about travel over at Blogher, and that's just a lot of fun. I'm very happy about that gig, although it was hard to keep up with there for a while. Balance...so important and so hard.
Learning and challenging myself creatively is my other priority, because it keeps me busy and when I'm not bored, I'm so much better off (and so are other people, because when I'm occupied I'm not bothering the crap out of them, too.) I do have a choice over what I do with my energies - whatever they are - and usually now I put them in more productive places. MOST of the time. Plus I have frequent dreams of going...somewhere and doing something chill, so it's good to have some mad ninja skills. ; ) Photography continued in the spring and the class kicked my ass. I got an A but only because I breathed it for weeks. Weeks. I blew so much money on developing and photo paper that I decided to go digital for a bit. I actually have an outdoor photography teaching assignment coming up, which is going to be fun. I'll get back into that in the fall I hope. Piano is also coming along okay. I'm so clueless at it that it's funny to me, and that helps me keep it in perspective. I went and bought the "Rent" music the other day, which is RIDICULOUS. It's so complicated. But I figure...why not? If I leave it at "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" I'll get bored really fast. I also bought a book of "Easy Listening Favorites"
because I am a dork so I can do things like pick out the melody of "Careless Whisper" with my right hand, cheat on the chords with the left, and sing emotively when no one's home. Ain't it great?
Best music of the year so far: Neko Case, Girlyman, The Wreckers, Patty Griffin, the Rent Soundtrack, Tift Merritt, Dixie Chicks, Bahamian pop music, Lionel Richie, Ellis Marsalis
Aside from that...hmmm. I still work hard and scored a great new job in the new year also, so that's been good. I have great friends, family who are typically maddening and wonderful by turns, and I'm trying not to be such a nervous wreck about stuff that just doesn't matter anymore. I'm trying to be smart about things and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail miserably. I'm trying to have fun again without thinking too much about it. I'm doing stuff I should have done a long time ago, but it probably just means it's the right time. I do need to eat better food - as in a dinner that isn't garbanzo beans - and I need to EXERCISE. (Blech. But I need to. That's for the second half of the year.)
And speaking of birthdays, this is me and my gauntly skinny mother on my first one. I was as serious about chocolate then, apparently, as I am now, and had a much more crooked little nose, and have since bagged the fetching rompers. Most of the time. I still might give you a look like that one if you're on my nerves, and I'll mean it at that moment but I'll get over it.