41. A seemingly inconsequential birthday, no? With zero expectation (or desire) for the grandeur of a 40th fete, and feeling 50 to be lightyears away, I wasn’t looking forward to it, nor was I dreading it as I had 40. Well, that’s not entirely true. Celebrating 41 was of little importance, but I was looking forward to letting go of my 40th year. In the weeks preceding my birthday, I’d begun compiling two lists in my mind: one with the parts of my life in need of acceptance (e.g. that I finally need reading glasses, that I frequently choose Chet Baker over Maroon 5 on Pandora and always Castle over Breaking Bad on tv, and that aging will happen regardless so gracefully is the only option) and the other of places where I really need to let go (those I’m keeping close to the vest). But this loose, impromptu life assessment became a little daunting, so I put pen to paper for clarity’s sake.
As the lists grew and their contents moved from light to serious, I realized the significance of the pages in front of me. I was mentally weighing anchor. Readying my mind and soul for the second half of life’s journey and pulling anchor from the murky floor of my first. This realization was scary because I feared the emptiness, but as I thought it through and saw what it truly was – a resolution to clear out physical belongings and heavy mental clutter – I felt lighter, not emptier. My intention is to carry with me only what will shape this second leg into one of wisdom, acceptance, gratitude and love.
When I unwrapped the birthday gift from my family I could not believe the coincidence of what laid inside: a delicate gold anchor necklace, making my 41st the most meaningful and significant yet.