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Okay

Thank you.

I had intended to write everyone back and thank them for their birthday wishes, and then life happened.  I accept that I’m not getting to it by the end of the week when I look at everything else on my plate, so I’m writing an impersonal thank you instead.

Thank you.

Thank you for making a stressful time a little easier.  It’s just a birthday wish, but it’s something so much more than a birthday wish, sort of like one of those confusing math problems where one plus one adds up to more than two.  I feel as if that must happen sometimes in calculus.  I should add that I’ve never taken calculus.

This has been a hard winter and a hard spring, and couple that with a fear of growing old and a strong sense of my own mortality (as well as the ability to freak myself the fuck out about my mortality) as well as general end-of-the-year weepiness, and I managed to make myself physically sick over the idea of turning 40.  Physically sick for days.  I like to think of that as one of my hidden talents along with mastery of the Irish penny whistle and an ability to replicate all of the voices on the London recording of Les Misérables.

By Monday night, my body was starting to surrender to the fact that it was aging, that Little League baseball was ending, that the school year was wrapping up, that we’re in a period of upheaval and I’m going to have to live at this level of anxiety for an indefinite period of time.  And I started quietly to say to myself, “okay.”

Okay.

It’s a little word of acceptance.  It’s an acknowledgment.  Perhaps now is not a time when I feel ecstatically happy and settled.  And that is fine.  There is always the option to pause in okay; for not reaching beyond okay but stopping here and nodding.  This is where I’m at right now.  Okayness.

And that’s okay.

I love this blog and I love Facebook because your birthday becomes this great reminder of all the people out there who are surrounding you in your okayness.  Sometimes social media can make you feel a little bit more alone than you actually are.  It has the ability to isolate; to make you feel as if you’re looking in a funhouse mirror where all the images you’re seeing are taller or thinner (or simply better) than what you gaze upon when you look down at your own reality.  Seeing things as a reflection rather than head-on can sometimes do that.  Social media has the ability to make us feel left out or disconnected or not heard.

And then you have a day like your birthday, when all these random people from various parts of your life come out of the woodwork to say two words: happy birthday.  And with those two words, they remind you that there is also so much good in social media.  It makes us feel included, connected, heard.

So thank you for helping carry me over that line; not just the actual line between 39 and 40, but that much greyer line that delineates okayness.  Thank you for bringing me over to the better side of that, when okay signals an accepting sigh vs. the hiss of reluctant settlement.

Onward.

15 comments

1 Tiara { 06.03.14 at 8:47 am }

Very well said.

2 Ana { 06.03.14 at 9:31 am }

Oh I share that talent, for making myself physically sick with stress. I hope you’re feeling better. Even better than “okay”.

3 Serenity { 06.03.14 at 10:29 am }

I love when social media works for the good of people. And I’m happy to have played a tiny part in helping you cross over to acceptance. xoxo

4 KeAnne { 06.03.14 at 10:45 am }

That 3rd-to-last paragraph…spot on. Happy to have helped you develop an “accepting sigh.”

5 Laurel Regan { 06.03.14 at 10:59 am }

You are lovely. 🙂

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 06.03.14 at 11:05 am }

I’m so glad my gift to you arrived. I sent you a packet of okayness, which is essential, I’ve found.

7 It Is What It Is { 06.03.14 at 1:20 pm }

Love you!

8 andy { 06.03.14 at 2:28 pm }

Change is always hard, no matter how good the change maybe. Be gentle with yourself.

9 Jill A. { 06.03.14 at 3:12 pm }

Happy Belated Birthday!

You have heard of the “Terrible Twos”? Turning forty brings you into the “Formidable Forties”.

The teens tend to be frightening and fun. The twenties are formative, you learn so much! The thirties are frantic, so much to do and so little time.

The forties, Mel, the wonderful forties. You know and accept some of your limits. You know and accept some of your strengths and start to focus on them. You consolidate your priorities and let the lesser ones slide. You’ve got the experience now to pick and choose without so much guilt and so many regrets weighing you down. With this concentration on strengths, your knowledge and understanding blossom amazingly, wondrously. You step into your forties wondering, secretly thinking nothing is really left and hoping you are wrong about that, and you step out ruling your world. At peace with yourself and life, including the pain and the heartbreak, the joy and the sorrows.

Formidable.

Enjoy!

10 a { 06.03.14 at 4:06 pm }

So, once you say OK to the anxiety…does it diminish? I hope so.

I think your 40s will bring many surprising, exciting, and unexpectedly wonderful things…

11 Nonsequiturchica { 06.03.14 at 6:17 pm }

Happy belated birthday!

12 It Is What It Is { 06.03.14 at 6:43 pm }

I love you!

13 Mali { 06.03.14 at 7:22 pm }

I love your comments on social media. I was not keen on turning 50, and in fact couldn’t say the word for a while. But over the course of a year or so, both before and after my birthday, social media reminded me that all these amazing people who have been in my life and are still in my life were also turning 50, and they all seemed ok and vibrant and interesting. There was nothing left but to celebrate it. After all, I wasn’t alone, and I was a survivor! I hope you can feel that way too about your 40s. After all, you’re still such a spring chicken to me!

14 Pepper { 06.04.14 at 8:48 am }

Love this. A friend recently removed her bday info from Facebook because she says the people who really care about her should be able to remember without the pop-up. I say, screw that. 😉 I admit it – I love to see the people from various parts of my life take a second out of their day to wish ME a happy day. And as I get older and my birthday reminds me more of my mortality and aging and gets to be less about fun and cake, it makes me feel good. And why should we deny ourselves something harmless that makes us feel good?

15 Battynurse { 06.04.14 at 9:39 pm }

I love this post too! So true about social media.

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