I celebrated my 45th birthday last month.
45. It seems unreal. I remember turning 44, vaguely. I sort of remember 36 and 40, that’s when I had my kids, respectively. I’m a little unclear how the other 35 or so years passed by.
I still feel the same. Squisher around the edges and more medical screenings, but otherwise I feel as healthy and alive as ever. I remember when I was in my 20s, 40s seems really old. And now that I AM really old, somehow I don’t feel really old. I feel like me. I still like the same things: cooking/eating, hanging out with my friends, dancing, hiking, working, taking care of my family. Other than “The Big Quit” this year (I left my job at Google after 18.5 years), not much has changed.
Except it has.
This year, and from this point forward. I have decided to love with vigor.
There are lots of different kinds of love: there’s the love between you and your partner, you and your children, you and your closest friends, and the love you have for your community and country.
Except there isn’t?
Maybe it’s the pandemic, maybe it’s all these years of therapy (14+ and counting), maybe my kids have turned me into a giant softee, but it doesn’t really matter.
Love is love, and I love everyone.
I don’t mean random people at the grocery store, I also don’t mean people that I don’t like, or don’t enjoy spending time with. But if you’ve been part of my life for the past 6 months, 6 years, or 16 years (or more), I. Love. You.
I don’t mean it as a physical thing - we don’t have to make out. I don’t mean that the love has to be reciprocated, it doesn’t. But I do love everyone, vigorously, deeply, and with all my heart.
I love my Zumba community who have welcomed me into the Z family. I love the shout outs and hugs, I love when we color-coordinate or do “theme days” and I had to bust out the ONE 80s-8sh outfit I have (but it still fits!) I love being invited to random lunch/coffee outings, I love celebrating birthdays with people I barely know. I love the texts and the FB messenger text chains. I love it all.
I love my bestie and I love our girl dates. In the middle of the pandemic we decided to do outdoor walking girl dates: we’d get popcorn chicken, eat it at a park bench, and walk around the park/block until our legs gave out. I love talking about everything and nothing. I love venting about our husbands and talking about our children, or bitching about our mutual friends. It’s something I look forward to all week.
I love my friends that I see occasionally, but each time is filled with profound joy. Whether it was a walking date, an eating date, or something in between. The conversations make my heart sing.
I love the 3rd grade moms who randomly decided to join me & Leo on “Mommy + Leo Adventure days” when school is closed. I love their adventurous spirit (it’s always an adventure when you’re with me!) and our shared love of our school community.
I love the “old” friends, the friends that I’ve known from the early days of social dancing (early 2000s). Though we don’t see each other all the time, each time we do, it’s like no time has passed. While we’ve all surely aged in our own ways, in my eyes they all look exactly the same as the day I met them.
Could be controversial, but I even love my little Facebook community! I love the people who “like” or comment on my posts - I feel like we’re connected, even in just a tiny way. I love the people who make a point to say nice things when they go check out a new restaurant, or hike a new trail because of me. I feel connected and seen.
I love the random people I have lunch with. Some folks are new and some I’ve known for 20+ years. I love getting to know the “new” people and finding out what they’re passionate about. I love hearing about friends’ lives and their own adventures, each one a unique story in my book.
I didn’t know I could love like this. It was like a floodgate opened, and all the love gushed out. I didn’t know there could be love without condition or cause. I didn’t know that love could exist, even for someone I just met.
But there it is, right in front of me. It’s not something that happened, it’s something I chose. At each turn, I CHOSE LOVE. I choose love because I know I’ll never regret it. That even when it’s not reciprocated, it’s better to have loved than not at all.
45. That’s halfway to 90, no? And when I’m 90 I want to answer these two questions with definitive “YES!”
Was I loved?
Did I love well?
Here’s to love. I wish you love in your life. From now on I will choose to love with vigor, laugh with glee, and live with no regrets.
Love you all.
Celebrating with my newfound Zumba families, or, as I like to call them, my "Zesties" (Zumba besties)
Celebrating with my GAWScouts (Grown Ass Women Scouts) Tribe
With dear friend Tara, who was my Google Basecamp roommate in 2011. We've been friends ever since and celebrate each others' birthdays ever year
Spa date with dearest girl
Celebrating with Susan, a "new" friend but you know what? We're old souls
With Christy as she & I wrangled 3 boys on our Caltrain Day adventure
Dearest friend Diana, whom I don't see often but is like my little sister
With awesome IdaRose, whom went along with my crazy idea of having our speeches filmed in the KMVT studios (She is the Chairperson of the MV Human Relations Committee)
Have literally known these people for ~20 years (I try not to think about that)
We were doing "80's day" and I pulled this outfit from.... way back. Still fits (just barely), and now it's one of my fave pictures ever