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Location: California

I love paper. Books printed on acid-free paper and bound in cloth turn me on. I'm crazy about bookmarks, and I buy too many stickers. I could spend hours in the build-your-own-greeting card section of my neighborhood craft store. My favorite thing to eat is bread, and my second favorite is fruit. (Mm, pineapple.) I read too much and too fast, and I watch too many food shows (two ways of looking at gluttony). Gloomy, rainy weather calms me and so I can't wait to move out of California, which will happen, sadly, too many years from now to count. I'm vegan, though I haven't managed to eliminate honey from my diet yet. I practice yoga; it's the only way I can keep fit. I have a better life than I ever imagined I would (or deserve to) have, but I do my best to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. That's my daily struggle -- and also to be thoughtful and observant and honest with myself.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Next Bite

Today is my 30th birthday. When I was young I dreamed about turning thirty. I had this vague wonderful comforting feeling that by the time I was thirty I will have figured out what my life means and how I am supposed to live it. I’d be a grown-up; I will have read so many books and understood so much about the universe and the human mind that I would have no trouble telling right from wrong and acting according to that knowledge. And here I am, thirty years old, and the only thing I know for sure is that everything in the world is much more complicated than I ever imagined, that there are no easy answers to any questions, no certainties about what’s right and what’s wrong. Here I am, thirty years old, and my biggest life accomplishment so far is that I’ve lost my illusions about what my life accomplishments are supposed to be. The emperor has no clothes and I am the emperor. I’m on some kind of path, that I can feel, but I’m walking in a direction that is seldom clear to me. I have lost courage over and over again along this way and had to stop and look around to find my bearings. I think now that this part of being forced to stop and look around is the most important part. I hate stopping. I hate the feeling of not moving forward, of not making progress – the measurable, bottom-line kind. I’ve been in a hurry for many years; I’ve run away from confusion and fear and doubt; I was terrified to take the time to sit inside them for a while and see what they can teach me. I’ve started to stop just in the last year or so, and I felt the most uncomfortable but also the most honest I have in years. This is the place I want to set out from on my 30th birthday. No more running. No more getting ahead of myself. No more lists of things I have to do before I die. So instead of Happy Birthday, what I want to wish myself is Happy Today. Husband is baking chocolate cupcakes for me. I can’t wait to bite in.

6 Comments:

Blogger Rebel Girl said...

Happy today.

Happy birthday.

I'd wish I read this before class.

Today (9/14) is my sister's birthday - we celebrate with her tomorrow.

Hope your cupcakes were good.

September 15, 2006  
Anonymous Maven said...

Happy birthday! I love that so many bloggers are part of my Virgo nation.

I am continually floored by the things that make me feel like a real adult. And I think back to my parents who, at my age, already had four kids, and wonder how the hell they got through the wayward and confusing late 20s with so much chaos and so many demands.

September 15, 2006  
Blogger Jonathan K. Cohen said...

Happy birthday! I'll try to think of something appropriate -- maybe some de Man. The most approachable book is The Rhetoric of Romanticism; the hardest book is Allegories of Reading; the best essay is "The Rhetoric of Temporality" from Blindness and Insight

Anyway, congratulations!

September 15, 2006  
Blogger Marigoldie said...

Happy belated birthday to you. And may we all learn to bite in.

September 17, 2006  
Blogger Michelle Fry said...

Reading this: "I’ve run away from confusion and fear and doubt; I was terrified to take the time to sit inside them for a while and see what they can teach me. I’ve started to stop just in the last year or so, and I felt the most uncomfortable but also the most honest I have in years." tells me you've learned a lot and come a long way in your 30 years. Some people never learn what you have.

Happy belated birthday.

September 18, 2006  
Blogger Green Whale said...

Thank you everyone.

September 19, 2006  

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