45 and not so Grave
Today I turned 45. Thank you, thank you for the accolades for keeping myself alive yet another year. It really was rather easy. Sure there were some shit times in the past 365 days, but the largest majority of them were good, so yay for me. While I don't necessarily like the idea of aging and having my face eventually melt off my skull like silly putty under a blow torch, I do like the mental and spiritual space of being in my 40s. Anyway, beyond that, I feel I am holding up pretty well. Drinking the blood of babies and sleeping in that hyperbaric chamber is really paying off.
With all birthdays, I like to take time to reflect. To think about what went well and what I would have done differently. I loved getting out of town more and spending regular time in the lovely East Bay with Kyle, although I miss him terribly in the day to day. Outside of that, this year's lessons for me mostly come down to shit I probably should not have said in the moment and other things I needed to say, but didn't make it past my lips. All those who know me well have experienced the fun and/or discomfort of "Unfiltered Christine." I have to admit, things just fly out of my mouth before I think it through too much and, also, I love saying silly or shocking things to get a reaction from people. I enjoy nothing more than seeing someone blush or uncontrollably laugh after one of my verbal gems. I regularly speak in the moment and sometimes end up with shoe in my mouth, albeit a stylish one. My friend, Robin, once stated that I was like a person who had experienced a stroke. No filter. She hilariously hit the nail on the head there. I am either a quick-witted genius or someone who has suffered a major head injury. I embrace it and see it as a blessing more times than it is a curse. I pride myself on being an amazing advocate for those I love and even sometimes strangers, but when it comes to me and what I truly desire, when it is close to the bone, the vulnerability meter spikes and I tap out. I have been working on that the past couple of years with varying success. Maybe this next year I can get a championship belt in courage, vulnerability and speaking up before that vein pops out in my neck and I end up with ripped pants and shirts because I turned into Lou Ferrigno or even worse, I sulked off into the distance having said nothing. To me, saying nothing feels far, far worse for some reason.
The greatest feeling I have about my 40s is having very little patience and time for stupid shit. Petty dramas that 20 or 30 something Christine would have been pulled right in the middle of are no longer of interest to me. You go ride your trainwreck and I'll just listen to some vinyl, read a book or drive around town with Jamie listening to music with the top down on my car on a warm, summer night. At this stage of the game, I know I have a limited amount of time and how I choose to spend that time will either enrich my life and happiness or deplete it. I choose enrichment. Sure, I can and will listen to a tasty piece of gossip and will still read any damn fool like I am an award winning poet laureate, but I now see to not let any fools close to me and the good life I have created for myself. I used to think people like that are harmless, but learned they aren't and never were. Those kinds of people live in a world of envy and they either want to take what you have or they want to destroy it. If pigpen comes into your home he's gonna bring that smelly dust cloud and I like my world fresh. It's a conscious effort. My life is fun, joyous and badass due to the healthy people that I choose to keep in my close, small circle.
When I was in my teens, my friend, Kristine, and I would drive around in her convertible rabbit, cranking The Cure, The Smiths or our favorite for dramatic sing alongs, Soft Cell. I can remember being 15 and unironically singing their song, Youth, like it was true to my experience. At the time, I really was sincere and felt it was my life. Jesus Christ, so dramatic.. 15 and already so old, depressed and dying.
Youth has gone
And don't think I don't cry
We let ourselves slip
And now I ask myself why
I'm on my own
And don't think I really mind
When after all
The years have been fairly kind
I still love that song, but feel it on another level, clearly. Marc Almond was only 24 or 25 when he wrote it and his singing with such emotion about aging then is laughable to me now and mostly likely to him too at this age. He is a Cancerian like me, so I guess it would make sense we both have a flair for the morose and dramatic. Morbidly dramatic teenagers for life.
In reflection, I miss summers off, my 15 year old skin and ability to feel energized with no sleep, but give me the self-knowledge, self-confidence, quality friendships, liberation and freedom of doing exactly what the fuck I want of 45. Here is to another year on this planet and living well. Stay tuned to see how I do with my next year of life.