When I was a kid, I thought I’d die by the time I was 40. Or 40, thereabouts.
I remember telling my Grandpa Knobby about it, with a somewhat tragic air, “Grandpa, I have this feeeeeeeeeling that I’m going to die at 40 – don’t be sad now, I’ll be fine with going, but it’s a strong feeeeeeeeling.”
Grandpa threw back his head and laughed uproariously, “oh, it’s that FORTIES thing! Yeah, I had it too – I was sure I was going to die at 40!” “Really, Grandpa?” I asked, incredulously, because I couldn’t wrap my little head around my strong, fierce, big, handsome Grandpa ever thinking he would die. At 40, to boot (he was around 80 when we were having the conversation).
I was glad he told me he had thought he’d die at 40 too, because it all kind of seemed silly after that. I mean, maybe I would die at 40? Maybe I wouldn’t, but wasn’t it funny that my Grandpa had thought the very same thing about himself?! Right?
Anyway, I had another birthday. I’ve gone past 40. I’ve gone past 41, sailed by 42 and I’ve landed on 43. I never thought I’d particularly like being 43, but I find I’m quite happy here. It’s an easy number to be. Here are some reasons why:
- I have a cat lying on my arm as I type this. She’s my buddy and she’s awesome. I think everything in the world is a little more right with cats on arms.
- I look better at 43 than I did at 40. This is a fact. My skin is a little older and more wrinkly, weathered, but I do look better. My hair looks pretty great most of the time, I take care of my teeth and my body is strong. I’m doing all right.
- I care more about perfecting my creative vision than I do about money. This is an actually amazing place to be in. It’s not that I’m rich (I’m not!), it’s not that I don’t like money (I do!), but I honestly don’t care about chasing a dollar as much as I do about figuring out the bigger things that matter to me. Since I’m the girl who always worked 2, 3 jobs at a time, this is nothing short of miraculous.
- I smile for pictures. I’ve always been a rather smiley person – my deaf name is the sign for “smile” with an “m”. I just happen to smile a lot. I haven’t liked photos of myself smiling though – I have thought my face looks fat when I smile, my eyes too crinkly, wrinkly, wrong, whatever. So traditionally, even though I’m smiley in real life, I get somber for photos. I’ve been the person in black with the gloomy expression for most of my life. No more! I want my kids remembering my SMILE, and I want them to look at photos of me when I’m gone and smile, too. So I’m going all-out with The Beam now.
All of us – except for Mack – are a year older.
Horse envy, too.
And with redwood! All redwood!