I turn 39 this week. I’m simultaneously not into being 39 and happy about it, if that’s possible. In some ways, I want to be even older because I anticipate getting past certain things with age. With each year, I feel this tremendous letting go of things that used to cause me no end of angst and self-consciousness and self-doubt, and that’s been amazing. At the same time, I feel like I still have plenty of angst and self-consciousness and self-doubt to keep me going. I guess that’s who I am and will be, young and old.

I had an ah-ha moment last weekend. The sort of thing that occurs to you and you want to grab somebody’s arm and declare, I figured the whole thing out! But they would only look at you and say they knew it all along. So I’ll keep it to myself, where it still feels like a Copernican Revolution and say only that I feel good right now.

I feel physically good too. Being a creature who mostly inhabits her mind, I serially underestimate how happy I feel when I’m strong. It’s been a tremendous and planned effort the last few months to become strong and healthy — and to find ways of doing it that truly excited me; not just in a temporary role-playing way, but in a ways I felt I could integrate with who I really am.

I hope to continue all of this in the next 12 months, so that when I hit next year’s landmark birthday I’m strong and happy and don’t feel that tough-to-live-with feeling of being my own worst enemy when it comes to achieving the things I want.

I could go on. I could write a list of places I want to visit this year, lifestyle changes I want to make. I could talk about how much finances still stress me out and how that’s something I want to address. I could talk about my job. I could talk about being 39 and single and that being just grand. I could talk about letting go of people who make you feel like shite, even if they’re the people you’re supposed to be closest to. But that would just be me going on, building sandcastles, then standing back and watching the waves dissolve them.

Instead, I’m going away. I’m going to climb mountains and canoe on lakes. I’m going to travel through mountain passes and stay in railway hotels. I’m going to think a whole lot, but I probably won’t write any of it down — I won’t create distance in myself now by putting my feelings into words and placing them on a page. After all, who needs another confessional, another heart-on-sleeve personal essay, another phony bucket list.

At 39, it’s time to start keeping some soft-formed thoughts secreted deep inside.
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