45

Here it is. Or rather, it'll be here tomorrow. 45. Forty-five. Femogfyrre. Quarante-cinq. Fünfundvierzig. Cuarenta y cinco. XLV.

I'd hoped that by saying it over and over again, in different ways and languages it would lose its meaning. No such luck.

(OK, so I had to look up the last two. I don’t speak that much Spanish yet and am more than a little iffy about the Latin – it’s been eons since I was even close to half-way decent with that. By the way? Latin is pretty much the only high school subject that I know I use on an almost daily basis).

Ever since I was a teenager, I've looked forward to the magic of forty. I knew it would be magical because my mother told me so and she has never steered me wrong. Her theory is that as women near 40, they start coming into their own, become more confident, stronger and in general care less about what other people think and more about what's right for them. Turns out she was right - as I have watched myself and my friends near the magic number, all of us have changed in little ways and big. Maybe it's growing up, maybe it's that by the time you hit 40, enough crap has happened in your life that you know you can survive pretty much anything, maybe it's the beginning of the wisdom that comes with aging. Whatever it is, take a look at the women you know who are 40 and beyond. Betcha they’re badass.

The problem is, my mother never told me what happened when you turn 45. It's like there is a blank space there, one I've refused to fill out when the prevailing ideas of women who are middle-aged and older. Old women are invisible, aren’t they? Slow, dithering, etc. I know this is not true - looking at my mother and her friends who are somewhat beyond the mid-forties, I definitely know that this is the very opposite of what happens in real life, but in coming up with an alternative for this particular age, I'm at a bit of a loss. 45 is different than 40. When you hit 40, you're at the tail end of one part of your adult life. Forty-five, on the other hand, seems to be more about the beginning of the next stage. And given that I am a Virgo and hence hate change and uncertainty, this is going to be a challenge.

But when I think about it less in terms of the unmapped future and more with a view to where I’m at in the present, something shifts. My life has changed by leaps and bounds in the last 3-4 years - it's odd how intense pain can bring about intense changes, many of them for the better. I've had some pretty significant losses, especially in terms of my physical health, yet have begun to bring a dream to life and feel that my life has more meaning - with a capital M - now than it did before. And when I think of that, I get really excited to see what'll happen next.

As for the day itself, I have great plans. I'm going to spend one of my Audible credits (credits which are hoarded like they were gold) on the new Kathy Reichs novel, which is being released tomorrow in honour of my birthday. Maybe they didn't exactly plan for it to be in honour of my birthday, but I am the Birthday Goddess, for a very short period of time it will be All About Me and so, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kathy Reichs for her excellent timing. I would also like to thank whoever is in charge of releasing After the Wedding tomorrow - I love it when Danish movies make it to this continent and it will be my birthday present to myself. I suspect I might have one or two calls of people singing birthday songs to me and in the evening, I will be having dinner with dear friends. Not to mention multiple lunches and get-togethers over the next few weeks, culminating in the grand family celebration on September 8 (we believe in stretching out birthdays in my family). Sounds just about like the perfect way to start a new phase in life.

Before I go off to start the celebrations early - don't look at melike that; by 6 p.m. Toronto time it's already my birthday in Denmark - I'd like to do a shout-out to a special kid named Cody (who lives here - might help if I remembered to put in the link - as much as one can be said to live in a URL). He's only just beginning to figure out what knitting- and other blogs are all about. SInce it's (almost) my birthday and all, could I ask that if you leave a comment, please include an internet wave to Cody?


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