37. I am 37 years old. (Deep breathe) I have to pinch myself when I write this, mostly because I still feel like I’m 21 years old, blasting N’Sync in my cherry red Toyota Celica. If I’m honest, I, like most people, have not been super pumped about birthdays since turning 30. No matter how much welcomed transformation occurred in the year leading up to my birthday, it always felt like I was cushioning the blow of “another year older.” It felt like a reminder that life was getting away from me….and quickly.
Now, here’s the thing. 37 is technically a whatever year. It’s not 18. It’s definitely not 21. It’s not even 40. It’s 37. It’s young, but old enough to know better. It’s past the point of thinking you’ll always have your oldest friends without putting in the work or showing up to work hungover. It’s adulting in all the ways. It’s boundary setting. It’s smart. It’s strong. And as I sit here in a bathrobe, one word comes to mind when I think about who I am at 37: well-rounded. Stay with me on this…
This is the first year I have felt like life has been a cumulation of events. When I was younger, years felt like these individual stamps of time. At 20, I lived in London. At 23, I moved to Los Angeles. At 30, I started my own company. At 33, I got engaged. Years felt like years, not life. Does that make sense? It didn’t feel quantitative or qualitative. It just felt like, “This is what happened this year. Moving on….” But now, it feels like I am a product of my own life’s accumulation. The collateral beauty is glaring.
The way I see it now: at 37, I’ve started my own business. I’ve been married. I’ve been divorced. I’ve bought a house in LA. I’ve miscarried. I’ve lost people close to me. I’ve loved harder than I ever thought was possible. I’ve cried more than I ever thought was possible. I’ve traveled the world. In the end, I’ve sat at the table of life’s great successes and triumphant tragedies. I am, in a word, well rounded.
If I was to meet someone who started their own business, I would relate. If I was to meet someone who was divorced, I think we could swap stories for hours. At 37, I am a student and a teacher in the game of life because of said well-roundedness. If we are put on Earth to travel and love and feel and drink up life’s many experiences, then I am a drunk. And for the first time in my life, it all makes sense. I’m proud of my journey. I see life as not good or bad, but fair. And to quote Google Dictionary, the word ‘fair’ is defined by one word. Legitimate. So there you have it, I’m legit!
In sum, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to spend my entire life trying to make sense of my birthday. ‘WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN NOW’ is no way to live. Instead, I want to have moments where it all hits and the over-analyzation quiets and all that’s left is a 37 year old girl who embraces the ride. Who believes that life’s best moments are the ones you can’t plan for. And most of all, that there’s beauty in the breakdown. Consider this my birthday wish for you and me.