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What My Chapter 38 Looked Like


For the past few years, I’ve made each new year into a chapter of sorts. Chapter 36 was mostly a private chapter, like a locked journal that I wasn’t ready to share. Chapter 37 was my year of travel and exploration (also known as the Year in Which I Got Bit By a Tick, Lived Through Lyme Disease and Various Other Sadnesses). It was mostly a fantastic year of world exploration and growth, I wrote some amazing fiction, took some beautiful photos and got to live in a foreign country.

Chapter 38 was sort of a flop — at least in the sense of what I’d anticipated. My goal was to learn a new thing every week, which not only led to an odd sense of burnout, but also to an odd realization that I didn’t have the money, the mental resources or the time to learn a new thing weekly. I DID learn a lot last year — but not all of them were things that could be written about, and they certainly weren’t something that could be encapsulated within a week’s time. The blogging/recording part of Chapter 38 got off to a good start, but then fell away as my life changed drastically. A broken ankle, getting doored while on my bike, getting divorced, writers’ retreats, house sitting gigs, teaching, finding a new apartment, getting part custody of a dog and a bird — none of which I could have anticipated in any way. I wrote and had my novel accepted — a huge learning experience and an awesome achievement for me.

So, what is Chapter 39 going to be? Here I sit, the day before it begins, and I have no idea. Not a clue. Not a plan. Nothing. I’m looking backward instead of forward, which is also an odd space for me. Thirty-nine strikes me as an awesome number for a lot of reasons, and thus I anticipate that it will be an awesome year. There is a common cultural idea that women ‘come into their own’ sometime in their late 30s and early 40s, and I find this to be true to my experience. I know what I want out of my life and my career and the people with whom I share my time. I am growing more confident in myself every day. I know most of my assets and a good smattering of my downfalls. I love with an open heart and an open mind. I jump in with all feet (hence the nickname of Chinchilla. at least, that’s part of the reason). I’ve got a long way to go into being fully who I am to become, but I love this journey.

I don’t want to tie myself into something so strongly this year that I can’t go with the flow should (when) new things arise. I want to be flexible and aware, to be open to the possibilities while never letting go of my goals. Perhaps that, in the end, is what Chapter 39 will be for me. Evolution. Change. Growth. Openness. Possibility. I want to experience it all, see if I like it, and savor it to the fullest if I do.

Tomorrow, I turn 39. Someday, I will be 93. May none of us ever stop believing in the impossible.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.