Okay, many of them were silly and small. One week, I climbed a bunch of stairs in the Alameda neighborhood and called it good. I rode the municipal elevator in Oregon City. I went to a few different reading series I’d never been to before. Cool, sure, but not exactly a stretch, mentally, emotionally, or physically.
This week was no exception when I had a professional cleaner come to my house for the first time. I spent the day before, in stereotypical fashion, cleaning up my mess before he arrived. The poor man’s task was undeniably daunting (“there was A LOT of hair in your bathroom”) but when he finished his mediocre job, I pulled out my own sponge, duster and vacuum and finished what he missed. The upside? The purging got me to toss out half a bottle of Creme de Menthe that my friend bought for a party in 1994. Though that bottle made it through four different moves, I swear I’m not a hoarder. It felt really, really good to chuck it, along with so much other junk. There’s still a horror show of a basement to deal with, but this is a start.
Next week I turn forty-fucking-four and I want to do that in a home that isn’t an embarrassing mess. I want to enter my mid-forties with as much grace as possible, even though saying mid-forties makes me throw up in my mouth a little (which, I’m pretty sure, is the opposite of graceful).
I want my next year to be more deliberate than accidental. I want all my next years to be that way. For me that means a clean house where, in general, I give up more things than I gather. It means being more aware that I live in a good but aging body that needs attention and care and love in order to heal from its injuries and thrive. Because I want to be riding my bike and climbing my beloved volcano-park when I’m 90. I want to be having great sex and great conversations and doing great tree-poses and giving great massages. Yes, even when I’m 90. Or maybe I’ll just want to read and watch clouds and sleep by that point. That’ll be okay too, as long as it’s deliberate. As long as I’ve spent all the previous decades finding things that made me scared and then made me brave.
There were a few things during this past year that took a modicum of bravery and I’m proud that I didn’t back down. I’m proud that I visited my friend in the ICU despite my fear of hospitals. I’m proud that I got up and read some very personal writing on two separate occasions and that I published a very personal and revealing piece right here on this blog. I’m proud that I rode in a tiny airplane, took a silly, spontaneous trip to San Francisco, moved my business to a professional office and wrote this fucking blog every goddamn week. Little bits of bravery will, I hope, lead to bigger bits. And even when bravery is too grand a goal, I hope I’ll remember that the reward for moving out into the world on a slightly different path toward a slightly different view is its own reward: A little more life soaked into my skin. Another chance for beauty.
Thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for my next project. It’s brewing.