I’ve been enacting a literal and figurative cleansing ritual since coming home from the hospital: getting rid of tons of stuff around the house, getting tons of practical stuff in order, having nightly bubble baths. Though I’ve accomplished a lot in not very long, I’ve also worn myself down a bit. Late last week, my husband and I thus decided that it was time for me to pivot from frantic ritual mode—which is, as any adult child of former hippies is well aware, definitely a thing—to a calmer, steadier, more sustainable, and more relaxed mental and physical state. (The bubble baths can stay.)

Monday, while I was still near the beginning of the pivot process, was my birthday. I was surprised by how little I needed to feel satisfied. There was no cake (not for eating-disorder reasons but for medical-diet ones; I did have keto-appropriate treats), few gifts, and, obviously, no big party. I was under the weather for much of the day and spent a lot of it in bed. There wasn’t a fancy dinner since my husband and I forgot to plan one—I had a simple meal I scrounged together with ingredients around the house, and we’ll get something more interesting when we have the chance. 

I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I do usually care about birthday celebrations. This year was different: maybe it’s because normal is still kind of novel, or maybe it’s because a lot of other stuff has been going on lately, but I was genuinely, and uncharacteristically, easygoing. It turns out that a day like most others is special enough as it is when the “others” are simultaneously sparkly and familiar.

Last thing before I close this blog post, which I’ve somehow managed to make both disjointed and brief (resisting the urge to edit it and/or keep writing is my birthday gift to myself). When I stop to think about it, I realize that I don’t mind getting older. Not when my health’s under control, at least. Indeed, I like being a grownup, especially one who’s gaining perspective and managing to maintain a forward trajectory despite “it all.” I like, most of all, being able to glance back, live now, and look to the future. 


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