Late Fall, early Winter is filled with anniversaries for me. Whether good or bad, I cannot stop them from coming every year. They make me who I am and so I guess I should be grateful for them, because I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the person I have become and everything I have been blessed with.
Two years ago, on October 23, I quit smoking. Probably one of my proudest accomplishments - besides Q, of course - because of how incredibly hard it was to quit. I watched "Flight" recently and a commiserated with two of the characters who struggled with addiction - knowing how bad something is for you, and yet craving it with all your being. Two years later, I still miss smoking. I still crave nicotine. But the benefits outweigh the cravings. My circulation is incredible - my hands and feet are almost always warm. I rarely am short of breath. I haven't had a cough in ages. My headaches are down. I guess the only downside of not smoking is my weight is up. My biggest mental hurdle with quitting was the idea that I *wasn't allowed* to smoke and that bugged me because, I'm an adult, dammit...if I want to eat ice cream for dinner and then smoke a pack of cigarettes, so be it. I can do what I want. A valuable lesson - just because we can, doesn't mean we should...
Six years ago in December, I officially became a single parent. I say 'officially' because it sure felt like I was one waaaaay before that. Six years ago, I had a two and a half year old toddler, lived in a one bedroom basement suite, had borrowed $300 from my ex for a security deposit, and had about $10,000 more in debt. I know it sounds really depressing that we split over Christmas, but really it was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. The only disappointment is that I'm still single, six years on. Way back then, I had the hope of a healthy marriage, maybe some more babies. That hope is dwindling.
Eight years ago in October, I was a new mom diagnosed with post partum depression and went through the most horrible time of my whole entire life. I know that it was eight years ago, and most people probably would have moved on by now, but I remember because it makes me who I am. It reminds me to have compassion for others, because you never know their struggles. It keeps me humble. It reminds me how fragile our minds are, and how we need to protect ourselves. It reminds me of how much I have overcome. It reminds me how blessed I am to have a beautiful child, who is a true treasure in my life. I truly hope that I never forget where I was eight years ago, because if I do, I might lose who I am today.
Thirty five years ago, in the middle of November I was born. Thirty five years. I think we need to pause for a moment of silence as we reflect on all those years...gone. Just gone...
In years past, I have welcomed my birthday with excitement. As a child, I wished to be older. And now it is so. I am 35 in one week. T-H-I-R-T-Y F-I-V-E. It seems so old. I was talking to a couple of my employees the other day, and age came up...they were 23 and 24. It might have come up that I was a *cougar*. The worst part of being thirty five is that nothing I do will stop it. I can ignore my birthday (which I most definitely will do), I can lie about my age (it's in the plan..), but no matter what I do, I will still be 35. It literally fills me with fear when I think about it. I want to puke and I get the chills and my heart rate gets faster. I literally experience a panic attack when I think about 35. This might be a midlife crisis.
It's not even that I'm evaluating my life and I'm disappointed with what I see. I mean, I did hope to be married by 35, but other than that, I'm quite content with who I am and where I've been. It's just that....well, if you must know...I'm totally over my mini skirt wearing days. I'm finding more greys and more wrinkles every day.
I'm reminded that life is finite.