i originally wrote this to post on thursday, april two - my birthday..
but i've decided to put it up early thanks to watching a beautiful sunrise.
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the day that i turn 35, i will be turning another year older, working at my dayjob, and then getting in my car to drive to joshua tree to treat myself for a few days.
last year, turning thirty-four felt like a major accomplishment. i knew i had a tough year ahead. the truth is, a lot of it felt tough but a lot of it went by so fast i hardly knew what to feel, if i felt anything at all.
For women who are tied to the moon, love alone is not enough. We insist each day wrap it’s knuckles through our heart strings and pull. The lows. The joy. The poetry. We dance at the edge of a cliff, you have fallen off. So it goes. You will climb up again.in meeting all these new people lately, most of the time they think i'm 25, not 35. no one ever thinks i'm 35.
You rare girl, once again, you have a body that belongs to no lover, to no father, belongs to no one but you. Wear your sorrow like the lines on your palm. Like a shawl to keep you warm at night. Don’t mourn the love that is lost to you now. It is a book of poems whose meters worked their way into your pulse. Even if it has slipped from your hands, it will stay in your body.
You loved a man who treated you like absinthe, half poison and half god. He tried to sweeten you, to water you down. So you left. And now you have your heart all to yourself again. A heart like a stone cottage. Heart like a lover’s diary. Hope like an ocean.
– Letter From Anais Nin to Clementine von Radics
at 35, i love:
waking up in warm sunshine
red wine + margaritas
unexpected text messages
long desert drives (the longer the better)
a well curated music playlist
emotionally inspired projects
at 35, i've given up making lists of things i don't love, because i'm trying to make less time for that kind of thing.
its true that i'm still too patient, still too thoughtful, still too easily persuaded; but i'm not sure that those are bad qualities anymore. i've learned to recognize when i'm unhappy and what i can do to change it - sometimes its easier than others.
my heart still gravitates towards the impossible, my pen still writes it all down.
goals for the next year until thirty-six include:
my book project
dates with dudes
more time in joshua tree
i have some places i'd like to travel to, too; i've been keeping a list in my notebook as i stumble upon photos + posts on social media - monument valley, zion nat'l park, yosemite, salton sea & salvation mountain, death valley... i'd like to make it to half. some of those are big trips, though, so we'll see about that.
when i spent the last night in the tiny little apartment back in maine, with all of my stuff in bins, my mattess on the floor, nothing but a bar of soap and a hand towel left in my bathroom, nothing but a six pack of beer in my fridge, i didn't expect to feel quite so content seven months later. honestly, i thought i'd miss home more. knowing that i don't, even though i still think i should somehow, confirms for me that i made the right choice.
as a teenager, i didn't have the desire to run out of town. travel. seeing the world meant watching it in movies or on tv, and i was okay with that. i don't know when it changed, or what happened to make it click, but i kind of feel like i just woke up one day and a switch had been turned on. i feel different even though a lot of things about me are the same as they always have been. there are some moments that i'm still shy - there are some things that make me feel weak. but in being alone out here, i feel stronger than i ever have. thirty-four was good to me in so many ways.
the best thing about thirty-four was it showed me who my true friends are. where my real support lies. it isn't about who can keep in touch the best or the most or the fastest. its about who checks in when you really need it. its about who gives you a place to sleep when you don't have one. who treats you to breakfast at the cutest spots that are just your style. who sends cards in the mail just because they were thinking of you. its not about who likes more instagram posts than everyone else. its about who doesn't judge you when you take a wrong turn and who lets you make your own mistakes. i miss those friends all of the time, and i update my social media as much as possible, all of the time, so that i can share some of these things i'm experiencing and seeing with them. i miss them, but i know that they understand why i'm out here (and not in maine or california), and that means the world.
thirty-four gave me my home away from home in joshua tree, with five (six as of this weekend) trips there. even though i chose AZ to live and work, i know that jt speaks to me like noplace i've ever been. its allowed me to make memories for myself that have helped shape the past year, in both good and bad ways. jt has helped put the pieces back together for me. its like a strange desert glue that gives me peace just when i need it. i suppose i have that california guy to thank for taking me there that first time, and i often wonder if i ever would have gone on my own. i'd like to think YES, i'd like to think it would have pulled me in anyway. knowing the four and a half hour drive from my home in arizona to the national park in jt completely by memory (no gps needed) is not something i ever thought i'd know in my lifetime.
turning 35 has got me right on the edge of a lot of possibility. there are so many things i've learned to accept and a few things i have had to move on from. learning and challenging myself to put all of those things into quilt work/projects has become the best way to live, a life i never asked for but am so grateful to be journeying through.
i don't really know what 35 is supposed to look like, be like, feel like. i don't really know what the year ahead will hold for me. i don't know what kinds of choices i'll have to make, what kind of people i will meet, what sorts of places i will end up. i don't know what my heart will endure or what my brain will think or what my body will do. but i'm looking forward to finding out, i'm not as scared of it all anymore.
thirty-four was about disconnecting and connecting and reconnecting.
in my year of thirty-four: i only kissed one guy, but i spent time with a few - and a few who are my best buddies (because it doesn't have always be about sex). i saw (met) my all time favorite band once. i counted down on a calendar for over two hundred days, gathered all my friends & family to celebrate, and then suddenly the countdown was over. i traveled through fifteen states. i cried a handful of times, but i drove with the windows down and the music blasting a heck of a lot more.
its not hard to gather inspiration when its all around you. you just have to keep your eyes open.
i saw that lilac tree in an otherwise desert type town here in northern AZ recently while i was out exploring, and pulled over to take some photos - this is not a common sight out here, but i grew up with lilacs in every neighborhood i lived in back east. i could smell the trees before i saw them and instantly it was like i was back home - except it was 85 degrees in march, and i was 2,500 miles away.
a welcome and emotional sight that i didn't expect to stumble upon - and i suppose that is what thirty-four has really been about.
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i wrote the following entry at age 31/32 - three years ago. i was heading towards my big breakup after nearly six years together, but i didn't quite know it yet. i was heading towards a lot of things... (i guess i finally nailed this first part i talk about. i guess i kind of nailed all of it, finally.) just a little perspective on where i've come from. on where i'm going....
i want to travel, but we have no money. i want to see the world and learn how other people live and take pictures of everything and have stories to tell forty years from now. i want to drive across the country and stop at the grand canyon and swim in the pacific.
i feel like i'm in that in-between place - just straddling the line of so many things and i could be swayed to either side at the slightest wind. i just need a little direction. it felt so good to get things cleaned up, organized, and even sewn this weekend - having that sort of order and progress in my home and work space is important to me; i hope that i can find the same motivation personally. sometimes i think i just need to get out of here for a bit.
sometimes i don't think i'll ever be the partner that he needs.
sometimes this just doesn't feel like me.
at home i spend so much time alone, that even when i'm not alone: i want to be. i used to struggle so hard with acceptance, searching for love but only finding the opposite. now that i have love, it doesn't feel like enough? sometimes it just feels like so much work, and i'm searching for the easy way out. i feel stuck.
on saturday, our counselor is going to ask us why we didn't do any of our "homework" since we last saw her. and i won't know what to say - because i'm not trying? because i almost gave up? because even though he asked me to stick it out to see if we can make it work, i am still not convinced it will.
i don't want to be a doting housewife with no opinions, but i don't always want to be the head of household, either. sometimes it feels like our roles are all mixed up, and we're both fighting to be right. i used to think i'd be swept off my feet by an overly masculine adventurous type, but i fell for the incredibly smart and introverted type instead. when we met, i hadn't been looking - i had just regained my self confidence, my self worth, learning to live on my own, wrangling bad habits, saying goodbye to people who were bad for me - he caught me smack dab in the middle of change, and i think there's change still inside of me trying to push out.
trying to work on my own self, at the same time as a relationship, is doubly difficult. i think finding my own strength is important to the whole puzzle - feeling comfortable with who i've become. i have some major roadblocks to overcome, i have some definite personal hurdles to jump. i have to learn to give in and trust - that sometimes being uncomfortable is okay. that being in the moment is good - i can't plan everything down to the last detail all of the time. i can't always be in control.
"do all that you can, with all that you have,
in the time that you have, in the place where you are."