I turn thirty three next week. I feel remarkably...passive about it.
I hold my breath on my birthdays, still hoping for something magical to happen. But while my first couple of years in my thirties have been some of the best times of my life, my actual birthdays have been among the worst. So as thirty-three approaches, I’m feeling emboldened by the year ahead and not by the day my number changes.
That’s not entirely true, the part about feeling emboldened. Many days I feel tired and frustrated.
It’s been almost eleven years since I moved to Los Angeles. Last summer I wanted to celebrate the decade mark, but last summer turned out to be an emotional knot for other reasons, and so I didn’t care about meaningless milestones. Now it’s been almost eleven years and I don’t feel anything about it except surprise.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles longer than I lived in either of my hometowns.
I’ve lived in Los Angeles almost three times as long as I lived in my college town, but have somehow only made half the memories. There seemed to be more hours in the day when I was 18.
I’ve lived on this earth longer than I could ever imagine, when I was younger my imagination of an older self always hit a brick wall.
Now that older self kisses tiny toes at bedtime and falls asleep to bad tv beside a scruffy man.
One thing I never imagined for myself, when I was much younger, was a life so unusual. When I was growing up, there was a certain way to live a story and I didn’t know much outside of it. Anyone who was outside of it was branded odd. “Different” was not cool or creative or interesting. It’s changed now, technology making the world bigger and lives smaller. But back then, the world was bigger and lives were smaller in another way. It’s hard for me even now to let go of the life I’m never gonna lead. It’s still unfathomable that I stumbled blindly into a world so much better than what I would have chosen.
Sometimes I claim the arrogance of not believing in luck and other times I whisper fervent prayers of thanksgiving for where I am and how I accidentally got here.
Thirty-three will look good on me, I think. I feel sure footed. My thirties are, so far, what they always say they will be: more comfortable than your twenties, the workhorse years.
I simultaneously don’t recognize and miss the girl who moved to the west coast eleven years ago. I don’t want to write a letter to her, I just want to stare, mouth agape.
She was stare-worthy, I know that now.