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Friday

7:00 am

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday Dear Stef
Happy birthday to me
I'm 40 years old today.

At age 30, I was traveling in New Mexico with friends: my folks, Oc, and F. I was single and I had dated 14 people in the previous year, and all of the dating had come to -- well, it was interesting, but I didn't have any lasting relationships to show for it. I cried on F's shoulder on my birthday, because this internal mental "tape" had started running about how I was supposed to be in a serious relationship by now, and have "a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids."

[time out to finish pouring water over my toddy coffee]

I eventually decided there was nothing I could do about the tape, and I would enjoy the life I had.

So today at age 40: I am happily married and polyamorous and I have three girlfriends (one of whom is Oc). My folks are living 5 miles away, which I am very happy about. My relationship with them has improved a lot. (Actually, I think it mostly began improving in my 29th year.) Not that it was too terribly bad to begin with, as those things go. I own a house in a suburb. I am a really lousy housekeeper. I have savings and I am taking some of my "retirement" now, not working much for pay, and volunteering at an animal shelter. When I started that three years ago, it was about following what I love, and I am still fairly happy with it, although I am getting frustrated at the disorganization there.

I'm about 90% decided not to have children of my own. I kind of regret that in some ways -- mostly because I know my mom is happy she had me, and I won't have that happiness to look forward to when I am older.

I have a spiritual belief system that is a mishmosh of a whole lot of different notions and feelings I've explored over the years, which I figure is typical of women of my age and culture. Compassion is becoming a lot more important to me, although I still use the "Sword of Judgement" a lot too.

Components include "the kind of Western Buddhism one reads about in books by Westerners about their Buddhist studies," being able to pray to a compassionate mother-goddess and feel answered and comforted (sometimes / most of the time), curiosity about many other deities honored by humans over the years, my "Bastettes" circle with my girlfriends where we make beautiful altars and worship cats and comfort each other and don't actually do what I hoped we would do, which was help each other find out What We Wanted Truly To Do in Life, but that's OK.

My 30s did not involve as much creativity as I wanted, although I did produce a steady trickle of stuff, got one story published (in Circlet Press's Genderflex), produced a large number of web pages, and recently made some very nice jewelry. I spent an enormous of my time on the Internet and most of my creativity went there. I am hoping and sensing that the coming decade might involve creativity of other sorts.

In my mid-20s I had a map for my life: My 20s were going to be editing, my 30s were going to be psychoanalysis, and my 40s were going to be creative writing. I didn't end up going for a degree in counseling as I thought I might, but my 30s were largely about psychoanalysis in the sense of focusing a lot on helping other people with problems sorting out their lives. (Editing didn't go away either.)

This past year I have felt that "helping other people sort out their lives" is falling away -- I have a lot less emotional energy devoted to that now, and what I do have is more of the "hit and run" variety rather than digging in and asking a lot of questions. That's for a variety of reasons: I feel less qualified to help people sort out their lives, and I feel I've done my part, and I feel people need to go through it on their own (the Care of the Soul [by Thomas Moore] philosophy).

So perhaps forms of creativity (what I think of, emotionally, as creativity) will be what I focus my energy on for the next while.

Funny that this entry is all about my inner life, when my life -- what I do -- is muchly about other people. I spend most of my time and energy, people-wise, with my outlaw husband. It's a comforting and relatively stable and romantic relationship, very much about taking care of each other in practical ways, and sharing comforts such as good food, entertainment, gossip, and cuddles. Neither of us is making much money right now, and this feels mostly OK. I think it helps that all of our parents have had work lives that were in some way unconventional.

OH and I are able to emotionally comfort each other, to a more than sufficient degree, although there are some ways our minds don't mesh much. He is my best friend and I feel safe telling him things I don't like to tell anyone else, even my girlfriends.

There are difficulties in the relationship too. I am absent-minded when it comes to some practical matters; OH gets frustrated with this. He he comes across angry to a lot of people, me included at times. I believe that he is deeply devoted to me and our relationship, and he listens and adjusts when I say the anger is a problem for me. So it bothers me less and less, but it's still an irritant. It is especially difficult for me when people I am close to have problems with him (although I'm learning to deal better with that, too).

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
mactavish
Oct. 31st, 2001 08:27 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday, Stef! :)
You're just a teeeeny bit younger than Joe.

My feeling is, from watching you, that life gets richer with time.

Mary
firecat
Nov. 5th, 2001 08:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Happy birthday, Stef! :)
Life is kind of like a roux. :-)
chorus_of_chaos
Oct. 31st, 2001 09:21 pm (UTC)
crazy as it sounds, but then again I'm crazy

I'm looking forward to getting older in many ways. I look at my mom and my aunt and my other relatives who are all living to ripe old ages and watching the serenity that comes with that, the wisdom, the ability to sit back and observe and make wise decisions. Watching them getting stronger, in terms of who they are and want to be and want to achieve before this life's end and the beginning of the next, the caring for those that they will leave behind and the relishing of time spent with them before they have to go.

Samhain/halloween has always been about remembering. I did dumbfeast tonight....I sat and remembered my pets that have gone on before, my aunt margie whom I have a hundred funny stories for a an equal number of tears because I miss her so, my grandmothers...

My Dad turns 80 Nov 28. I'm planning a family get together for him. Really wanted to do up a big bash but began realizing...all his friends have passed on over before him. I'm hoping to get Mom to help me put together a photo album of them all through the years and I'm hoping he'll reflect on the happy memories he's had with all these people who were in his life, and remember all his friends.

This time of year is so reflective for me...I guess it is for us all....the death of the sun god, the birth of the winter god....only to bring on the rebirth of the sun god....cycles cycles cycles....
firecat
Nov. 1st, 2001 12:10 pm (UTC)
Re: crazy as it sounds, but then again I'm crazy
We meant to do dumbfeast at my circle but we kind of forgot.

My mom turned 80 in May.
elynne
Nov. 1st, 2001 02:17 pm (UTC)
Happy 40th. :) I'm looking forward to a happy 30th - at least in part because of what you've written here. Thank you.
firecat
Nov. 5th, 2001 08:25 pm (UTC)
That's really great...
rivka
Nov. 1st, 2001 07:36 pm (UTC)
Happy belated birthday, Stef. Did you know that we share the 26th? I thought of you on the day.
firecat
Nov. 5th, 2001 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hey! I didn't know that. Coolness!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 2nd, 2001 09:56 am (UTC)
This was really, really fascinating to read. I hope that by the time I'm 40 (exactly eight years after the day you turned 40), I'll have as much self-awareness as you do, and will be able to reflect like that.

"Every five years or so I look back on my life and have a good laugh" -- the Indigo Girls

-J (you know where to find me)
firecat
Nov. 5th, 2001 08:24 pm (UTC)
Your birthday is 10/26 also? *wibble*
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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