‘Twas the last week of being in my 30s

“When I don’t even know who I am
What’s it gonna take to make me worthy
What’s it gonna take to make me strong
I don’t have much to give, I’ve only just begun to live.”

— Sarah McLachlan, “What’s It Gonna Take”

This turning-40 shit is for the birds.

I think my mom is dying. She says she is, anyway. I don’t doubt her.

I will miss the shit out of her and my heart will break a thousand ways to Sunday.

Sometimes I fluctuate between despair and relief, in a way. She wouldn’t be in pain anymore. The next phase of my life would begin without constant worry and fear.

But I’d be without my best friend. Like, for the rest of my life.

She said something interesting yesterday, about how certain people/situations are holding me back. That I was put on this earth to shine and yet I always find myself stuck in others’ shadows. Or doing what they want and doing it well but not doing what I could be brilliant at.

I struggle between being OK with my life and wanting so much more. Things aren’t bad. Not a dream and NOT why I was put on this earth. But, you know. Maybe I should shut up and keep my head down.

But there’s a part of me that will always be restless. Always be wondering. Always be doing my damndest not to crane my neck looking for the pivotal moment that will Change Everything.

I’m feeling like I need to leave this county. Like, go further south. I don’t mean move; I mean uproot. I spend every weekend Elsewhere.

I’ve been trying to plan a big 40th birthday event. First I was going to go to New York. Then I didn’t plan it because I was going to Vegas. Then Vegas fell through and I decided on the Keys. Then the Keys were too expensive (prices are slashed 70% if I wait till June) so I decided OK, I’ll turn 40 quietly in my own neighborhood.

Yuck. And so, I will spend yet another weekend in Fort Lauderdale because that’s where I love to be.

What I really want is to go see Chip Esten perform at the Opry. Or go grab my old friend in Pittsburgh and spend a day at Kennywood. Or jet off to N’Orleans and eat powdered beignets as big as my head. Or take my friend up on her standing invitation to run away to Dublin and drink Guinness till my liver falls out. Or go to Boston for a weekend of professional development. Or go ride the new ferris wheel at the National Harbor. Or eat blue crabs and pit beef in Baltimore.

Alas, can’t leave mom. And don’t want to right now, truth be told. But once she’s gone — and let me be clear, I want her around for as long as I can have her — I am taking off. Where, I don’t know. But you can be sure that if you’re looking for me, you can find me at any one of the above destinations, celebrating my 40th no matter how old I really happen to be …

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