Today I turned 34. My youngest daughter remarked that they HAD to be nice to me because it was my birthday and I am too old to go to school and my oldest stood aghast. Priscilla! It isn’t nice to call people o-l-d. Apparently 34 is the bright line for being o-l-d. I will take it. I think for me my thirties is when I realized that very many things I thought of as flaws are ACTUALLY features. But for sure the best present I have given myself is prozac. That probably should have happened in the late 20s.
I like what I like. I have written here and here and here about learning to let the soft animal of my body love what it loves. I am a notoriously picky gift getter, and also I love getting presents. I have an Amazon wish list I don’t feel bad about that anymore. It is okay to like what you like. (Here it is because I do not think I am the only one who is DEEPLY curious about people’s wish lists. I love looking at them.)
And on the note of liking what you like, I say I listen to anything and don’t have any musical tastes but if I am choosing music for myself on Amazon streaming I always, ALWAYS, pick a soundtrack to a broadway show. Now that I am thinking about it, I did this in High school and Middle school but was embarrassed about it. I stopped being embarrassed about it a few months ago. Thank you Hamilton for making this habit of mine semi socially acceptable. My kids also now know all the words to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dream coat AND Dear Evan Hansen. We are working on Bring It On next. Judge your mom. I like what I like.
I love a good cheeseburger. Like, I really love a good cheeseburger. Medium rare. And I am serving nachos at my house for birthday dinner. If you want to take me to a fancy dinner I will revel in it, but I also love just plain great bar food. That is okay too.
I laugh really really loud, and I talk too much, and I love champagne with anything and for pretty much any reason. I have too many balls in the air (podcast! blog! book deal dreams! seminary! speaking! consulting!) and I am finally willing to own up to the fact that I do that because I like it that way. I like doing all of those things.
And mostly all this space I have given myself to be me, has been a gift because it gives me so much more space to see you, really see you. I see the ways my friends are amazing at things that I am not, that their critical eye, their attention to detail, their slow to speak up until they have heard and carefully considered all the things, their ability to bring the energy down (not up) are features. They are beautiful amazing features, not flaws.
Today my friend gave me such a gift in the compliment that I call myself good, and I do, and that has been hard fought. I thought on the other end of that battle I would be LESS inclined to call others good, but instead I find there is so much more. I am 34 and the best (and apparently o-l-d hahahaha) and YOU are too, you are the best too. Those things that build your youishness, those are features. Not flaws.
Happy Birthday, Abby! I hope the day brings you fun and love and unexpected nice surprises.
Had to laugh when I looked at your list, because heading mine, equivalent to your scarf, is a high-end shamag. Useful as a scarf, head-and-face covering, sling (if you break an arm) and tourniquet (if things really get sideways).
I hope to see my birthday, in a couple of months. There are a lot of people betting against me, what with pancreatic cancer and some other malignancies, but I’m harder than death and one of the longest survivours around…so won’t you bet ON me?
I was tardy to the “I like what I like” party but I GOT THERE!! I’ve tainted my children with all of the Duran Duran plus various other 80’s tunes. I’ve worn spiderweb leggings to 2 substitute teacher days and wish I’d worn them more. I will wear flip flops til the snow comes if I feel like it! And I don’t care that I’ve seen all the ghost shows on TV a million times! It’s OCTOBER!