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Forty-One and Loving It, aka My Life is Effing Metal

Today is my birthday, so I thought I would write a post on something simple, pure and unexpected I experienced this morning. A smile.

As background, for the last 20 or so years, around the time I became pregnant with my first child, I’ve had only a few treasured friends, barely enough to fill one hand’s worth of fingers. I had MANY friends prior to the pregnancy, but I wanted to clear out those influences I didn’t want around the precious life I was carrying. No one was more surprised than I at the tiny percentage that particular qualifier left me with by the time Naughty Bear arrived. Of those remaining few, only one has survived since then, and “Y-vette” and I are celebrating our 21st year of loving and supportive friendship this month.

In recent years, I find myself somehow blessed because I’m surrounded by remarkable people that I have no hesitation in calling True Friends. I’ll grudgingly admit that in the ramp-up phase, I opened myself up in a trusting way to people I felt a connection with, and that has left me incredibly hurt and burned by some. Sorry to break it to some of you, but this isn’t a “naming names” post, especially because I still care deeply for these people and wish them only happiness. It just wasn’t a dynamic that worked, for whatever reason. Some have decided that I’m unkind and vilified me for being honest about this rather than pretending a deeper relationship existed when it didn’t. One of the more surprising things I’ve learned is that some don’t want to see the truth, while that is all I want at this stage of my life.

Yesterday, we were able to see some of the people that bring me the most joy in my life. It was a tangible and much needed reminder that genuine connections do exist. I honor and protect those connections, and work very hard not to take them for granted. They are rare and precious, but I am simply not a wordsmith that can craft the phrases to express how much it means to me. I’ll explain it this way:
This is actually a day that I was dreading, not because I’m getting older or for fear of any number. I embrace 41 as I embraced 40 last year, with welcoming arms. But instead of waking with sadness and eventual tears, as I actually expected, I found myself instead waking with memories of shared laughter and contentment. Color me every shade of surprised to discover an actual smile on my face as I awoke.

For those that have sent my kind words, birthday wishes before I even awoke, and any kind of amazing support through the difficult year, know that I am more grateful than I can express. Whether we have actually met or not, I am constantly amazed at the richness that podcasting and social media has brought to my life.

And for those genuine friendships I have somehow found myself blessed with, whether you were there yesterday or not, whether you are now in Heaven or still on this Earth, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love and beauty you bring to my life.

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