45

I have 45 minutes to write this, so we’ll see what pours out.

Today
I have a beautiful nine-month-old daughter who is pulling up and longs to stand by herself. She is starting to cruise. She’s becoming more aware and more of a little individual daily. Today I am physically and mentally healthy. Today I am in a secure, strong, happy marriage. Today I am able to stay home to raise my daughter, while Husband works at a good company at a job he enjoys. Today dinner will be a hefty ribeye steak with corn on the cob and a nice Syrah, followed by Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream for dessert. I am loved and enjoy a beautiful life. I feel I have found my life’s calling in motherhood. I didn’t realize this was the case, that this is what my heart longed for all along, until Claire arrived.

2003 – 5 Years Ago
On this day, I was in Syracuse visiting my parents and one of my sisters celebrating my 40th birthday. It was a lovely visit, and I felt much joy at turning 40. I resided in Austin, living with but not yet married to Husband. I had earned my certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor and, having “paid my dues” working in community mental health, I had a growing private practice. I had been blogging for one year, and in 2003 I learned a very painful lesson about what was appropriate for blogging. The lesson cost me three friendships and some deep family heartache. On the other hand, I was blessed by many friends via the Internet because of this new type of social expression and connection.

1998 – 10 Years Ago
I was attending graduate school full-time and working full-time at UT Austin. On this day that year I was arranging to get my navel pierced and deciding what my first tattoo would be. I was battling a serious bout of major depression triggered by a number of factors (working through the aftermath of a sexual assault that happened in 1994, grief over the untimely death of an animal companion, a romantic relationship gone bad with someone I worked with daily, the loss of community upon leaving a fundamentalist religion, a potentially violent scary neighbor upstairs who kept me up all night) — all of which compounded a physical disposition toward depression. (In other words, it runs in my family genes.) I was riddled with self-doubt and fear; I fought a compulsion to injure myself with sharp objects. I started Vipassana meditation this year, and this helped. Much later in the year I tried anti-depressants for the first time, and they catalyzed a dramatic improvement in my well-being.

1993 – 15 Years Ago
On this day I celebrated with friends. Co-workers bought me roses, cake, and funny balloons. On my 30th birthday I embraced a new decade. My twenties had been difficult, shrouded with depression, financial problems, confusion about my identity, and trouble becoming mentally emancipated from family dynamics. I had finally completed my bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oswego after ten arduous years. I was dreaming about a new life, which I brought about for myself in 1994 by moving to Austin, Texas.

1988 – 20 Years Ago
I had moved home briefly to live with my parents after ending a five-year relationship, because I was deeply in debt. I worked two jobs to get out of debt and save money so I could attend college full-time in 1989. I agonized over my age; every birthday in my twenties was an occasion to lambast myself for not having accomplished anything with my life. I felt time was escaping me and I was afraid.

1983 – 25 Years Ago
I was attending a business institute for secretarial studies (which I hated, but it was an act of desperation so I could become employable and independent). I worked part-time, rented a room from my parents until the end of the year. In December I moved to a room at the Mizpah tower in downtown Syracuse, a low-cost residence for women. It was a heady time, living on my own at last. I declared my sexual orientation as lesbian. I met a woman who became my companion and partner for five years.

1978 – 30 Years Ago
I was a fundamentalist born-again Catholic struggling to feel some self-worth. I was a loner in high school and had one close friend. I had poor self-esteem and felt hopeless most of the time. This was the onset of minor depression. I began writing journals in earnest.

1973 – 35 Years Ago
I was lost in a family storm. I won’t provide details out of respect for the privacy of family members.

1968 – 40 Years Ago
I was a cute little kindergartner who adored my stuffed animals and was terrified of thunderstorms. That was the year of social craziness with RFK and Martin Luther King Jr. being assassinated, plus the Tet offensive in Vietnam. I have an image from television news branded into my memory of an injured soldier with his brains outside his head on the ground. (It haunted me. What the hell were newscasters thinking?)

1963 – 45 Years Ago
I came into this world at 3:47 a.m., which explains why I’ve always been a night owl.

Life for me improved over the years. I’m aging well. 🙂 I’ve received many sweet cards and gifts today. I thought I’d share a chuckle from my brother.

My Brother, He So Funny

my brother, he so funny
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11 Comments on “45”

  1. Patti Kramer Says:

    Happy Birthday Friend, you may have felt close to only one friend, but I remember you were loved. We were kids, kids get wrapped up in their own situations, heck, adults too… I wish for you all the good things life can offer! A blessed life to you and your family!

  2. Tiffany Says:

    A very happy birthday to you! 🙂

  3. Karen Says:

    Many returns, many returns!

  4. marta Says:

    Perhaps this year is the best present the universe could provide. Happy Birthday to you.

  5. Barbara Says:

    Happy Birthday! What a great post to celebrate your special day. Very unique.

    Peace!

  6. austin Says:

    Happy Birthday, many happy returns, and may Claire and Husband bless you with as much joy in the coming year as you’ve experienced this past one.

    (p.s. — fix the picture width on your envelope) 🙂

  7. Kathryn Says:

    Thank you all. And thank you Austin — it should be fixed now. 🙂

  8. withsticks Says:

    Happy 45th!

    Treat yourself to some yarn!

  9. gerry rosser Says:

    Happy Birthday.
    I don’t know that I could reveal as much as you have in this post, or in your blog in general.
    Our son-in-law is an Oswego graduate.

  10. donna Says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

    You are brave and beautiful and sensitive and your daughter is one very lucky little girl….

  11. leah Says:

    happy, happy birthday to you!!!