reveries at 105degrees


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one

I often hear people say, “Everyone comes into your life for a reason.”

I’m not sure I can agree 100%–I mean, everyone?–but I do know that when someone does come into your life for a reason, there’s no way of keeping them out.  There’s just no way to ignore, abandon, or otherwise run away from your person, and if you do manage to do so, it’s only a matter of time before they find their way back into your thoughts, and then, if you’re lucky (and maybe kind of brave), your life.

One year ago yesterday, I got the chance to reconnect with someone I tried to kick out of my life twelve years before.  The reasoning I used then sounds ridiculous to me now, but back then I tended to act on impulse, believing that I was “trusting my instinct.” Banishing his physical presence, while eventually successful, did nothing to keep him out of my mind.  Over the next twelve years, I would often wonder where he was, what he was doing.  In the earlier days, I found myself tempted to pick up the phone, but always backed down, wondering what I would say.

On October 13, 2012, I got brave and decided to find him.  Two weeks later, on October 25, I made it through a day at work, sat through an excruciatingly long class, got drenched in the rain on the way to my car, sped home to dry off and get changed, and finally, at about 9:30pm, sat across from this person I hadn’t really seen or spoken to in 12 years.  It was almost as if nothing had changed.  And really, everything was just beginning to change.

I had no idea that things would happen the way they did. I thought that I would apologize for what was probably the meanest thing I ever did, that we would tell each other highlights of the past 12 years, that we would say good night and promise to keep in touch, knowing that it was just a polite gesture.  I never thought that I would find a best friend.  I never imagined that one year later, I would be looking back at a challenging, amazing, beautiful disaster of a year. It hasn’t been the easiest year, but to me, that just makes it even more perfect. I’ve said it before: Nothing that’s worth it is ever easy.

Before I left my apartment that night one year and one day ago, I took a picture of myself to send to a friend, just for fun, to show off my outfit and my hairstyle. Today, just for fun, I snapped a picture before I walked into the yoga room.  When I put the two side-by-side, I was surprised, but not as surprised as you would imagine, to see that I looked very different.  Not on a surface level (although that, too, is true).  There is something different about my expression, about the look in my eyes.  Something that says that for once, I figured out the balance between serendipity and intention.  Something that says that says I’m figuring out the balance between perseverance and acceptance.  Something that was missing, but is now there.

I’m not sure if everyone comes into our lives for a reason.  But I am sure that you should keep your eyes, ears, and minds open. Don’t ignore the voice of intuition. Don’t shush the voice that tells you, “Do it now!” Don’t underestimate the power of love and forgiveness.

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Several years ago, I saw a PostSecret that read: “I am more afraid of aging than I am of dying.” It gave me pause at the time.  A couple years ago, it began to define me.

I look young, and I used to hate it.  In junior high, when girls and boys went to dances and started “dating” and paired up at parties, I was often mistaken for a 9-year-old.  After undergrad, customers at work would ask me, “Why aren’t you in school, sweetie?”  When shopping, I was followed or ignored.  At job interviews, managers squinted at my CV, trying to glean an approximate age from the dates attached to my education.  These days, though, I enjoy it.  The more I think about it, though, the more it makes me unhappy.

Why am I so attached to looking young?  Is it really vanity, or is it the simple fact that as long as I look young on the outside and feel young on the inside, I can pretend that I am not slowly getting closer to my last days in this existence?

This past year has been one revelation after another.  Someone urged me to choose one job over another, because I will soon be 35 and the “lack of insurance would be a disaster” after that age.  I have begun to notice that diet scams love to tell us that we will all be fat, sick, and hormonally wrecked “after 35.” Somehow, I became subscribed to magazines targeted to women in their 40s and 50s (I have another six years, thank you very much.) I have become intimate with several skincare and anti-aging products and procedures (and I’m not ashamed of it at all). I made plans to do things (get an internship, move in with a partner, get another tattoo) that people just seem to equate with “being in their 20s.)  And I still practice yoga every day, still look in that yoga room mirror every day, and think: “I could do better…but I don’t look old, and I don’t feel old.”

I find it funny that 20-somethings think that 30 is “old;” I remember being 21 and thinking, “Well, maybe I’ll give up working out so much when I’m 30 and things start to fall apart.”  Oh, ha ha ha.  Honestly, things are better now, I devote more time to myself (because I can, and realize that it is okay to do so), and I know more women nearly twice my age that exude radiance than I do ones who have “given up.”  I wish I could have told my 20-something self to enjoy it all more, and I wish that my 20-something self had known that getting older is far from being an end.

We can work hard to look young, take care of ourselves in order to feel young, and even (if we really want to) pretend or fib about our ages.  What we can’t do is erase the time and experiences we have had.  So to all the 20-somethings out there: Don’t enjoy your time now because you think it will all end; enjoy it because this is all contributing to who you will be in the next several decades. Don’t shortchange yourself.

To 30-something me: the same advice. To 40-somethings: the same advice. To 50-somethings: I’ll say it again. 60-somethings: you get the idea. 70-somethings: again. 80-somethings, 90-somethings, 100-somethings: the same. And namaste to you.