Today is my birthday, and I am ready to enjoy. I love birthdays. I know lots of people like to be low-key, avoiding the center of attention, etc. I live for the center, especially when it involves kind wishes and gifts for no other reason than I've continued to live for 365 more days.
Is it wrong to admit that? Guess what? At age 41, I don't care. It's true.
I kicked off age 40 with a bang, in San Diego, renting a house with friends. I vowed with my friends, also turning 40, that I was going to make this a "take no prisoners" year of getting things done, being brave, and being authentic. Starting this new whole-life centered blog, leaving my mom blog behind, was the start of that.
Upon getting home, we began the final push to get the condo completely organized and up on the market. I could not believe how nicely it turned out, given how crummy I am at keeping house. We recently took it off MLS for a few months, and will be ready to list again in "real estate spring," aka "around the Super Bowl." The fact that we had a very neat and tidy house for six straight months was some kind of miracle, and is definitely cause to celebrate.
In the spring, along with putting the house up, we had to say goodbye to our dog, Ada. Want to feel like a real grown-up, not just someone playing pretend? Make the decision to put an animal who is suffering to sleep. It was heart wrenching, but also peaceful, all at the same time. We all still get deep pangs of missing her, especially when we remember her in her prime, but mostly, we smile when we think of her now. The remedy: a puppy named Admiral Grace Hopper, adopted in August, and driving us insane in the way that only a puppy can. There is little time for grief when you have to stop an animal from chewing everything you own.
Look at her. Even sleeping, she must have all the chew toys.
This summer marked a big turning point for our kiddo, as we moved her from her selective enrollment public school in the spring to a small, private school this fall. The picture below shows her entire new school, a big change from 30 kids+ per classroom.
We are such big believers in public education, this was extremely hard for us to do. Given all the testing, though—testing, testing, testing—and our belief that a democratic, free school would be great for expanding her creativity, we made the move. A few months in, and child and parents all seem to be adjusted. No homework = the best thing in the world.
Fall brought the biggest highlight of the entire year: I was able to officiate the wedding of our friends, Katy and Rebecca. (Thank you, online officiant's license.) Honestly, that wedding wasn't just a year forty highlight, it was a lifetime highlight. It was special from rehearsal to ceremony to filing their official license in the basement of the Cook County courthouse (I was smiling so broadly, you would have thought I was the one who had just gotten married.)
Seriously, how could this not make you giddy?
Finally, just days before turning forty-one, I closed out the year by making a prize-winning pie. I can't tell you how excited and proud that surprise win made me. My number in the contest, given to me randomly? Forty.
Today starts a new year, with the prospect of being "in my forties" as opposed to being a forty-year old transitional novelty item. I'm ready. I'm looking at surgery and major lifestyle change to improve my health. I'm volunteering more, and looking for bigger, more full-time work prospects. I'm putting the condo back on the market, and our family is going to roll the dice and see what happens.
As for tonight, I'm grabbing Korean food with my family and a cake I didn't have to bake myself, and calling this year a win.