Are we there yet? Yes? Yes?? Yes??? YES!!! It's September, we've made it through the summer and what, so far, has been a rather murky (to say the least) year. The good news: we're still alive and the children can go back to school for the time being. As we all know, there's no time like NOW, so let's make the most of it while we can [cue: cautious optimism, how long will it last? *gulp*...]
Since my kids are off to school, I finally have some time to reflect and find my bearings yet again in what always has been a "special" month for me. Maybe you guessed it, it's my birthday month and, this year, quite fittingly, it's a slightly bigger deal - or so I'm told. While I'm obviously turning 25 again (that's why it's special, see?), time has moved on and, apparently, I'll have the pleasure of now being officially an "intergenerational" woman... As I'm secretly pondering whether that's just a fancy word for (shock, horror) "middle-aged", I'm also trying to figure out a few other bits about this alleged "milestone" in my life.
For example, after some lengthy deliberations, I have finally decided to ditch the hair dye in January/February this year. It was too annoying to keep up with all my greys and I've since joined the silver sisters with a passion I hardly thought possible. As I've mentioned before, I'm practically obsessed with growing out my natural hair and the process is somewhat cathartic, even though this probably sounds more dramatic than it actually is. Why? Well, for one, nobody so far has seemed to either notice nor care much, and all my carefully prepared arguments about why I'm not letting myself go, but rather taking back my independence from endless boxes of hair dye, have gone unheard as of yet. Furthermore, it seems I'm learning to let go... of how I thought I have to look in order to feel and be myself. True, my golden brown hair has been one of the few things I've actually liked about my appearance but I've come to realise that what actually makes it "me" is not necessarily its colour but the way how it's just quietly doing its thing: wild, unruly and unpredictable at times, just like the rest of me.
In a fit of doubt about if there's enough colour about me now, I bought a lipstick. Something I last did as an insecure teenager, trying to apply my troubled identity from a bullet, when all else failed. I don't think that I'm a lipstick person but, since "change" seems to be the key word here, I gave it a go... only to be left wondering whether my choice of lipstick is a distraction from the grey hair or, presumably, a sign of my declining mind!? Either way, it matters little since mask wearing has saved me from applying any makeup most days. So it's all good, really, and we can move on to the other matter of worry, as far as "big" birthdays are concerned: the celebrations.
Now that it's clear I won't wear lipstick but a facemark, my hair will be silver instead of gold, and I'll probably only fit into clothes with elasticated waistbands (never not cake in my house), who will I share my natural state of being with? According to the government, not with my family (who aren't supposed to fly in) nor with my friends (surprisingly, I do have more than six). Cans, alone on the beach it is... more cake for me, I suppose. Ah well. It's still a privilege to be alive and, consequently, getting older when many are denied even that much. Aging gracefully is certainly not for cowards though, as my dear Papa is fond of saying.
On the plus side, looking for silver (ha!) linings here, with a certain age also comes a certain attitude of fearlessness and caring less about stuff you never should have cared about in the first place. Yes, hair, lipstick etc... but, more importantly, you truly realise there's no one "rulebook" on how to live your own life. To internalise this at long last after so many years of always, always doubting yourself for every little thing - it's most of all a major relief. Getting older may not always be "pretty" but you realise that - with experience (of which you have a good bit by now) - you're able to cope and deal with a lot more than ever before. Handy for 2020, that. You're alert, you get up, dress up, show up... and you're not making excuses nor taking them from anyone any longer (in case you ever did). In fact, I feel like I'm really growing into myself these days: I'm less scared of not having a "masterplan", I happily float with the waves, trusting the process.
As for birthday presents... I feel that accepting and maybe, occasionally, liking or loving myself and allowing myself that self love is not only a present but actually a gift. One that I've denied myself for far too long. Guess I'm a bit slow sometimes... Moving away from self-destructive behaviour is certainly part of my gift to myself this year. Allowing myself to be even more unapologetically me seems like a good reason to celebrate. So please, wherever you are, maybe have a glass of something for my birthday and live your own life as only you know how. Don't wait for "milestone" birthdays... the time is always NOW. Adventure is already out there! The pandemic might prevent me from celebrating in any major fashion but, to be really honest, that's not really my thing anyway. I'll work, go for a swim, spend time with my little clan... and I'll most certainly eat cake. I'll cloud-watch, stargaze and go for evening walkies. Then I'll read and fall asleep exhausted, dreaming of happy, safer times for all. Because then we'll celebrate for sure!
With love and special birthday hugs to all fellow September babes,