I'm going to be thirty-five soon, and as a friend said to me at lunch today, "it's like going through turning thirty all over again." I'm not so much worried about turning thirty-five as I am nervous and a little excited. Not as excited as I was about kissing my twenties good-bye and starting a whole new chapter, but excited. There are some things I want to work on and I want to decide what those things are, which ones will be a priority between thirty-five and forty (holy crap! I'm going to be forty!). When I turned twenty-nine, I made up my mind about a lot of things: I decided I was going to quit my retail job and do something else, even though I didn't know what that something else was going to be. I decided I was going to move out of my basement apartment and find something above-ground, even though I didn't know where. I decided that I was going to concentrate on my family and friends, not worry about having a boyfriend, but if it happened, yay for me. I let go of a lot of stuff during that year and allowed myself to try to be happy. I guess it worked: new job, new place and new relationship in five years, with two out of three happening before my thirtieth birthday. I've gained a lot and I'm grateful for what I've learned. (I've lost a lot too, but that's the way it goes sometimes) And it all started with an epiphany.
I was in the City on my twenty-ninth birthday when it happened. Cat and I had just made our annual pilgrimage to Tiffany&Co (I know, I can't help it, I love the sparklies) , and we were headed to Madison Square Garden for the U2 concert (so rocking!). We're standing on Fifth Avenue, getting ready to cross the street, when I heard music. Someone was playing the saxophone. I couldn't see the guy, but I could hear him. He was playing Someone to Watch Over Me.
There's a somebody I'm longing to see
I hope that she turns out to be
Someone who'll watch over me
Don't ask me why, but I started crying. I felt happy and strong and so sure of myself in that moment. It wasn't just because it was my birthday and I'd been to Tiffany and I was on my way to see my favorite band with my best friend. I'm sure all those things helped, but believe me when I say I had never ever felt this way before. Suddenly, I was certain that no matter happened from then on, I was going to be OK. It just happened. I can't tell you how it happened, since it just kind of snuck up on me, but I highly recommend it. Imagine taking the deepest breath you could ever take and, in exhaling, letting go of all the crap you've been holding on to for so long. I had a lot of crap to let go of that I had been hanging on to it for a long time, so letting go felt freaking amazing.
My dad got sick shortly after that and I don't know if I would have the strength to deal with everything that happened that summer and fall (and beyond) if not for that one moment of peace. I've had moments of joy, moments of contentment and, of course, moments where I feel like I've faltered and failed miserably since then, but I don't know if I'll ever have another moment like that one. I didn't know it then, but that the someone who'll watch over me, no matter what? Turns out she's me.