That's how many birthdays I have had.
Some were more memorable than others - the pool party at age 4, the year the dog ate the rollerskate birthday cake my mother spent hours making (and that was only the start of what went wrong that year), the surprise party at age thirty that found me gaping slack-jawed at a restaurant table full of friends in utter confusion (I always was a bit slow on the uptake). A lot of birthdays. Thirty-nine. Far fewer than some but more than many, with many more hopefully to come.
I'm supposed to feel panicked at the impending demise of even the last few fleeting illusions of youth (most of which have already fled for parts unknown along with my girlish figure).
I don't feel panicked. Actually, I feel pretty good. Thirty-eight had its ups and downs, just as every other year has - some of the lows stomach-plungingly low but ultimately balanced out by highs which made my heart soar in joy.
I feel more balanced as I embark on this journey that will be thirty-nine. More aware that a number is just that - a number. It isn't a state of mind or a burden if I don't let it become one. I find that I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin with the passing years. Less enthralled with the outer packaging perhaps, but more able to recognize that for the wrapping paper that it is while the real me continues to grow and thrive. Confident in my likes and dislikes, in my abilities and strengths, and knowledgeable and accepting of my faults, for without them I would not be me. Proud of the woman I have become.
The kind of woman who is confident enough in her choices to stand up and say "yes, I went to see Air Supply in concert last Saturday night and I LOVED it." (And apparently so did thousands of other people too - the venue was PACKED with smiling people singing along to all their old favorites, the way you would slip on a favorite old sweater on a cold winter's night. I felt so vindicated.) The kind of woman who can admit that she used to own Air Supply's Lost in Love album, long before she discovered the Grateful Dead (and followed them up and down the East Coast) but long after discovering the Doors and Meat Loaf and Peter Paul and Mary. Yes, that's me. I paved my own path even back then. Hey, it could have been worse. It could have been the Bee Gees.
It's all good. And it will be even better tonight when I'm surrounded by
Bring it on thirty-nine. I'm ready.