Turning 35 feels like turning 15, and, I hear, like turning 75. Some things change, some don’t. Illness makes us feel the passing of time differently, don’t you think? If time is the dialectic of past and future helping us feel the tension of the present moment, then a birthday is the dialectic of birth and death… the anticipation and palpable tension in the room as you inhale before the candle is blown out. Inhale.
My mom put 34+1 on my cake… a “3” candle, and a “4” candle, and then a single striped candle to make 35. It was hilarious to me in its absurdity. There was definitely a whole year, exactly five years ago, that the toxicity in my bloodstream was so high that I didn’t commit much to memory. Fuzzy. When I think back on it it’s like I’m looking through a pair of glasses that have been smudged for 3 years without being cleaned. I remember telling my therapist at the time that I had “lost a year of my life.” She told me that “important work was being done” in that year, more than in any other year prior. I hated her for that. For trying to put a silver lining on my grief. Now I know what she said was true. That was a cocoon year. 34 + 1.
My wishes this year I realize are the complete opposite experience of that fuzzy year. Don’t tell anyone I told you, but I’m wishing for a continued experience of health, relationship, and awareness, at a pace that is sustainable and inspiring! And also to change the world. Wish.
Time lights candles, and blows them out, until there are no more. Exhale. The future continues to arrive. A future of inhales, wishes, and exhales. Of our friend/enemy time. Of +1s. And, ideally, of not missing a stinking minute.