Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Just Getting Started

Today I begin again, fresh.

Yesterday was my birthday.  I have now commenced my 35th year on this earth.  

Growing older, reaching this weird mid-early adulthood is hitting me strangely.  I’ve been doing inventory of my life, weighing the losses against the gains.  What does it add up to?  Is it enough?  Eleven years with the same partner.  Three children.  A beautiful house with a yard and garden.  All good.  No career to go back to, just a series of random jobs.  Unattained goals of further education.  Never published.  All crummy.  Then there’s just the stuff of age - the wrinkles that are forming, the body that has been forever changed and will not return to its former state, no matter how much weight I lose.  Those stretch marks and saggy boobs are part of my physique now.  And wrinkles are forming.  My face has smiled and scowled so many times that it’s left permanent marks on my face.  That’s kind of cool, for now, until they take over.  My hair is a different texture.  My face has weird bumps and discolorations.  I keep thinking the dark circles might go away, but they seem also part of the new Heather Minter.  Interesting.  

I’m old enough now to look back on chapters, to understand a little bit about how life accumulates on you.  I have had some friends for 25 years.  Twenty-five years we’ve been telling each other secrets.  That’s a lot of knowing.  That feels really good.  And my partnership has endured.  We’ve been married too, but I count the years we’ve been together.  The party and the paper had little to do with our relationship, as fun as it was.  He’s still my best friend.  We’ve had to fight for that.  We’ve endured painful seasons, hanging on with fingernails, but we have endured.  And we have thrived.  And the love that comes from that is layered and seasoned and complex and so very delicious.  There is a deep knowing that I can tell will only grow down, rooting into one another.  There’s no fear there.  We’re in it for life.  

I know myself so well now too.  I really like me.  Sure, I battle myself and can be unkind, harsh and critical.  But mostly I really get a bang out of being me.  I do things I like to do.  My concern for other people’s opinions is dissolving.  And right before my birthday I had a great epiphany about that.  I was feeling low and beat up and frustrated with all my accumulated lost opportunities and failures.  I was feeling sad about being this old.  I was grieving the loss of the beginning, when life is wide open.  I was letting other people’s opinions of me get in my way.  I was getting in my own way by repeating negativity over and over.  I never did so I never will do.  

But then, my niece auditioned for and got cast in one of three positions in NYU’s improv comedy group, Dangerbox.  

I felt this rush of emotion.  I am extremely proud of her and excited for her and excited for the world to see her talent.  I want to go see her perform.  I can’t wait to hear about her rehearsals and shows and who she meets and where she goes.  I’m extremely pumped about this.  And, I realize, that she’s doing what I wish I had done.  She jumped off and is flying, and I just stayed stuck.  I didn’t even audition because I was too scared.

And hearing this news completely knocked me out of my funk, and I woke up and realized that I’m ONLY thirty-four.  I’ve got a ridiculous amount of life left (hopefully).  And I’ve got shit to do!!  I’ve got at least 30 years of work left to do, probably more.  That means I can go back to school multiple times and do many different things if I want to.  I can do anything I fucking well please because I also realized that if I’m going to get shit done, then I can’t give a flying fuck what people think of me.  That’s right.  I’m done with all of that.  And I’m done with beating myself up and repeating the same old junk.  

I’ve decided a few things that I’m going to do from now on.

1.  Assume the best.  I’m going to assume the best about me, and, if I learn otherwise, then I’m just going to take that in advisement and not feel like shit.  I’m just a human out here trying to live.  I’ll assume the best about me, and I’ll assume the best about you.

2.  Do the best.  In order to assume the best, that means that I have to actually be doing the best.  “I have to fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run.”  Sometimes that means relaxing.  But it’s holding myself accountable but not beating myself up.  It’s knowing I have done my best.

3.  Be with the best.  I want to be with people who are inspiring and creative and positive.  I want to be challenged to do more.  I want to surround myself with people who assume the best and do the best.  I want to laugh and talk and learn.  

So, that’s my new policy.

This morning, I got up and put this into action.  I’m knocking out the work I need to do and went to the gym.  I’m counting calories again and being disciplined about what I’m eating and drinking and taking proper care of myself.  I want life in my years.  I want vibrancy in my life.  I’m tired of dragging my feet.  So, I’m going to do like Kyleigh, and I’m going to go for it.  I am looking into graduate school and thinking about what the next chapter is going to look like, where I will work, what I get to do.  I’m psyched.  I’m 34, and I’m just getting started.  
But I’m not wasting another minute.


Sarah Park said...

Yay! I am excited for you, and also personally inspired! I so often forget that the way things are now is NOT how it is going to be, forever. I also tend to think that my days of energy are gone, behind me, and then I'm surprised to run across writing from older women that bears this message: "I could never have done all this stuff I'm doing now, during those years as a mother of small children. I have so much more time and energy now!" That heartens me more than I can say.

Also—we share a birthday!!! I love that. I've never known anyone else with the birthday of September 18th. :) Here's to an awesome year ahead!

Heather Minter said...

Sarah, knowing you exist heartens me. Your poetry inspires me and makes me feel known. Thank you for all your comments. How's your year going? So far the 35th year is pretty sweet! :)


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