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« Because They're Elderly | Main | Following Her Lead »

On Turning 45

Sunday, June 5, 2011, was a beautiful day in our microcosm.  Blue skies, 70 degrees, no wind, smells of summer, and sounds of my sons and husband having an afternoon water fight in our backyard.  I was born on a Sunday in 1966.  For some reason when my birthday falls on the actual day of the week that my mother delivered me, it feels more... birth-day-like.

Still midlifing, I pinballed in my 45th year, bouncing off of spring-loaded emotions and experiences.  Some good, some bad, but all intense.  I don't know who's working the flippers, but I remain in play.  I'm ready for a break.  Let me go, move on, another ball is ready to feel the thrill of the plunger.  Launch it while I catch my breath, oh great pinball wizard.

There are too many thoughts and personal stories to share from the past 12 months, but a few words are boldfaced in my mind's memory cyclone. They define areas of growth and struggle.

RELATIONSHIPS continue to fascinate and challenge me.  Expectations can leave me feeling both hurt, when mine are higher for the relationship, and annoyed, when I can't meet someone else's.  I read somewhere that the average person can realistically maintain 150 relationships.  That sounds about right.  I wish I could maintain more, because I enjoy connecting with and knowing people.  Maybe I'm just nosy...

INTIMACY in new or rekindled relationships has been an issue.  I'm doing it wrong.  I either assume a level of familiarity that is inappropriate or out of someone's comfort zone, Hey, friend from 1975 who's bed I once wet on a sleepover!  Great to see you on Facebook!  Want to go on vacation together with our families?  Surely we've grown in the exact same direction and have identical memories of our time together 35 years ago! Or I appear aloof because I'm trying to throttle my enthusiasm.  Maybe it's called social anxiety...

NOSTALGIA is my crack.  I can't get enough. I torment myself by watching old television shows, sifting through boxes of photos, reading journals from my youth, reminiscing with my husband and friends in an attempt to pinpoint details from that time when.  Sometimes the reliving feels cathartic and other times it hurts.  Maybe it's time to be more present in this moment...

PEOPLE I love and have loved grow in importance to me every year.  I wish time wasn't linear so I could experience multiple people during a variety of calendar years... and all at once.  Sounds like having your cake and eating it too.  Maybe it's nostalgia again...

RELIGION shouldn't dictate our friendships, but I've lost friends due to belief systems.  The more I experience, read, observe, pray, meditate, the simpler my views become.  I believe God is in the beautiful, often messy, details of life.  I don't believe He's in the details of dogma.  Maybe they weren't really friends...

HEALTH in the fullest sense of the word as it applies literally to my mind, body and spirit, as well as my relationships, garden, finances, etc., is something I hope to never take for granted.  Maybe great blessings come from the most heartbreaking experiences...


My mother has taken to making cards with old photographs... which fuels nostalgia.  My birthday card this year from my parents had a picture of Dad holding me when I was a baby.


Dad and Chrisy 1966


 The inside of the card included one of Mom's clever poems...

Birthday card-4
I had a wonderful birthday and even though I feel like I'm still in that stupid pinball machine, I am in play.  Maybe I'll beat my high score before I turn 46.

Reader Comments (14)

"I don't know who's working the flippers, but I remain in play."

Fantastic! Literary genius.

Happy Birthday!

This is a wonderful post, Chrisy. I really get you. Want to go on vacation together with our families?
June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheri @ Blog This Mom!
Ahhhh... Chris. I do love you. Relationships; I too am hurt when my expectations aren't met, I hate when people let me down, I am nostalgic, and I never agree with people about religion. I think at 54 I can handle it, but not always. Hard things make me feistier. I like myself better than in the past. I have always admired you for all of your qualities. In ten years, you will be ahead of me!! xoxo
June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpam
Happy Birthday dear Chrisy.

Can I join you and Cheri?

And our forties are the most extraordinary decade - caught between nostalgia and individual growth.
June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary
Midlifing isn't so bad...I am enjoying it, even though I sometimes feel like the deterioration is catching up with me! Heck, 'll take it.

Happy Birthday!


June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterunmitigated me
We learn all about life stages with our children. First words, walking, becoming aware of "the other" (empathy), ... there are so many milestones, but no one tells us that we keep on developing when we become adults. Worse, no one tells us that some adult stages are optional and take work to achieve. Double worse: there's no manual on how to achieve these wonderful grown-up stages: acceptance, contentment, peaceful productivity. Thankfully, there are hints and guides everywhere: artists, Erik Erikson (et al), Buddhist philosophy, the older woman up the street who just seems to have it together.

45 (or whatever number you choose) is an opportunity to grow and move into a more peaceful way of life. You have your eyes open and are moving in the right direction. Good for you!

Happy Birthday!
June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichael.offworld

I imagine we could talk for hours about some of these topics, Pam. The "hard things" sometimes make me feistier, too, but I prefer them to make me more graceful. I admire YOU -- as a matter of fact, I almost included your one rule for Parke's and Duke's 3rd grade class... Be kind. That's dogma I can do. xoxo
June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris
I think we do have all the people we love and have ever loved at once. I don't think time is linear, despite the fact that's the way we describe it and move through it. I really do think everything exists together all at once.

And nostalgia. My old journals more often hurt me than provide comfort or joy, but the photos of my children always make me smile. I keep thinking of burning my journals and letting the past go....
I love 'my mind's memory cyclone' - that could be a book title. Or subtitle. Love it. I hope I'm reading the vibe of this wrong, but it seems a little melancholy to me! I hope your next twelve months bring you some peace and more happiness. You deserve it. And also? Our families should totally go on vacation together, in about 7 years when our youngest will be 6, and we'll allow ourselves to travel again. :)
June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchristy
That card from your parents is precious!!

Birthday's always make me think too hard. So...I drink a bottle of wine and then I feel better.

Love you!
June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterConnie Weiss
Hope it's a great one. And, I like your perspective on all of this.

Incidentally, is it just me, or are politics and religion even more polarizing now than they used to be? It feels like that way to me, anyway. As of the past 5+ years...maybe during W's second term, it really seemed to get worse.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Muskrat
My face is going to fall off if I smile any more. I so get you sometimes.

We need to get working on a girl's weekend. We have to do it. Em would want us to.

I love you Chrisy girl. As soon as things aren't as crazy, let's talk on the phone for hours. xoxo
June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikki
That seems like a lot of really challenging growth for one year. I know just what you mean about expectations. Also, having had one too many bad experiences, I think I now over-compensate for a tendency towards familiarity and rarely connect at all.
June 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertinsenpup
Happy birthday! I feel the same way about time. There isn't enough! I need more weekends per month to see all of the people I love AND have quiet time with just my family. Nostalgia is a huge time suck for me. Sometimes I feel like I'm more focused on the past than I am on the future. Guess it's best to just aim for living in the present!
June 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate Coveny Hood
Happy belated birthday Chrisy! Our mutual friend Christy told me all about you - so I had to pop by and say hello!

Love the old photos - I pull them out for my girls all the time - especially to show them how they look just like me when I was young.
July 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJill

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