7 + 13 + ’73 = 37

By July 13, 2010 News

Well, that equation works for today anyway. Because it’s my birthday. (Have I mentioned that to you? Yes, I have birthday-itis, it started at birth.) And (maybe because of my birthday?) 3 and 7 and 13 are my favorite numbers—so I’m loving the looks of that equation. It’s a thing of beauty, n’est pas?

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There is this hill on my rollerblading route.

The first time my already-rollerblading-friend, Randi, took me out last spring, I made her promise there would be no hills. “There’s only one and it’s just little,” she said. “It’s no big deal,” she said. But when we got there, it was enormous. It started high up, went quickly down, included no big, fluffy cushioning on the side, no railing—it was everything a hill should be in the middle of a forest path.

I was terrified and paralyzed. And scooched down the hill on my tush. Yes, seriously. From then on, for the next year plus, I walked down the side of the hill, in the grass and pine needles, rollerblades angled askew so that I wouldn’t roll. Once, when I wasn’t paying attention and the hill came upon me suddenly, like strep throat or mosquitoes at dusk, I even hit the eject button and threw myself on the ground to avoid the downhill motion. I’ve written about this hill before, twice.

And, in regards to said hill, that’s how I ended 35 and started 36—creeping down the side, avoiding most everything, fearful. Then, somewhere around the 36 halfway point, I let myself coast down that hill, once. I was shaking, but I did it, proudly. Still, the next time I came upon the hill, I went back to the safety of the pine needle/grass alley.

I gotta say, going the shimmy route is really not productive:

  • It slows me down.
  • It breaks my stride.
  • I feel like an idiot.

But, what really got me is that no matter how fast I was going, how good my body felt or how great life was clicking along—when I got to the hill and stepped off the path and out of my flow to crawl granny-style down the hill, I was reminded of what I hadn’t accomplished, of my challenges, of my self-loathing, of my self-induced paralytic episodes, of my shortcomings.

Having enough

About a month ago, I got really sick of it. All of it. And I started zooming down the hill. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t get scared, I just went with it—because I’d had enough.

So, it was not lost on me yesterday, my final day of being 36—as I sailed down the hill, without a thought besides ‘how fast can I go’, relishing in my speed and the cool breeze that it garnered on yet another day that was already 75 degrees and 100% humidity at 5:30 in the morning—that 36 had been a banner year. Monumental. Soul-shuddering. In so many ways. There were firsts, lasts and astounding changes.

It started with defeat, anxiety and a refusal to budge. Blindness. Then there were a few small steps. Some high flying leaps. A dash of self-sabotage. Many, many tears. A bit of pulling back. And ultimately a total release into, and enjoyment of, the heady, fast flow.

Today, I celebrate. Tomorrow, I set out on my mission to have 37 kick 36’s ass.

Today’s image: On my favorite run, I pass this mailbox. And as attached as I am to my birthday and the numbers that signify it, I smile every time I see it. The first time I saw it nine months ago, I thought, ‘I have to take a picture of that to use on my blog on my birthday’, so, yesterday, I did. I’m so glad to share it, and a slice of my birthday, with all of you. Thank you for being here. You make me very, very happy.

P.S. I’m a terrible gift giver. But I know some of you personally and know that you have a thing for giving gifts. So, in case any of you have a deep down desire to get me something for my birthday (which you are not obligated or expected to do AT ALL) or just want to honor your reading or writing experiences, then I ask that you make a donation to RAINN in honor of that most glorious creature: Woman. Thank you…

RAINN info: here.

Donate now: here.

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