A good friend cornered me at the dojang last week and reminded me that my birthday is coming up and we need to pick a night to celebrate.
It's true. I'm turning 42 in a few days.
42 isn't a bad number. The shock of "Omigod I'm turning 40 and my life is almost half over and what have I really got to show for it" has worn off. As has the accompanying mid-life crisis.
To some extent, anyway.
If there's one thing I've learned in the last two or three years of rediscovering myself, it's that your true friends stand by you and encourage you, no matter what. They love you, support you, cheer for you and celebrate with you. They take pleasure in seeing you happy and fulfilled and you do the same for them, regardless of where you are in your own journey in that particular area of life, whether it be career, parenting, marriage, fitness, household management... whatever.
I've been fortunate enough this last year or so to be surrounded by people who are as comfortable with their own strengths and weaknesses as I am with mine. We all want to see each other succeed in our endeavors, and if one of us makes a forward leap, it's inspiration and encouragement for the others, not a cause for hurt or envy. Such a contrast from the days when I could expect anger and resentment for taking positive steps in my marriage, continuing to homeschool my kids, working at getting physically fit, enjoying time with my other friends, or even investing money in fixing up my home.
I've also learned that believing you can love and nurture someone out of her anger and defensiveness is naive. The energy spent managing such a relationship while still attempting forward progress of your own makes for a very difficult and conflict-ridden time. Just because you believe in and encourage the dreams and goals of another person doesn't mean she will do the same for you. A heartbreaking lesson to learn, but a valuable one all the same.
And I'm writing this down because it's important for me to remember as I move forward post-purge with a deeper appreciation of the friends I've reconnected with. So grateful for people who cheer each other on, rejoice in each other's successes, and support and encourage each other through life's challenges. My life would be so different without them.
Looking forward to celebrating another birthday with my newly refinished, uncluttered home - and heart.
Another year older = another year wiser.