It was actually a wonderful week. My birthday on Wednesday was extraordinarily ordinary. I left work a little early and met up with Elizabeth for a walk along the beach, a couple of drinks, a nice dinner at the restaurant we first went to on my 50th birthday, and a very pleasant early bedtime. It was low-key, low-pressure, and as I look back on it in years to come it will simply be another pleasant celebration of an anniversary that isn't all that high on my list of annual observances.
One thing I find it does do, however, is to promote some kind of life retrospective. It's not like there's some kind of formal effort to gauge where you are in life, what you've done, and what's left to do. There's no more of a sense of urgency in things yet undone today than there was 6 months ago or even a year ago. To be honest, a year ago I don't think I could have dreamed I'd be where I am right now or some of the things that have happened over the past year. And that's part of what I enjoy - letting life unfold itself and sometimes being surprised at what happens next.
As I was getting ready for bed on my birthday I was listening to the smooth jazz station on IHeartRadio and wallowing in the early days of my transition. I'd be driving home from electrolysis in the evenings with the car window down, my face all hurt and swollen, and I'd be listening to KYOT as I headed home for some much needed rest. In those days much of what I accept now as the relatively mundane day-to-day realities of my life were far beyond my ability to even imagine. Rather, the practical realities of making it from one day to the next, one follicle at a time, forced a much shorter life view.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be who and what I am. I'm fortunate to be living at a time when somehow stars aligned and allowed an opportunity for an otherwise resigned soul who dared to imagine what it could be like on the other side of fear. And I think it's always important to remember where you come from because those are my roots. They just are. Whether I choose to accept that they're still a part of me or to otherwise justify that it was simply a phase that I've outgrown doesn't change how important I feel it is to go back and visit my past to truly appreciate my present and to re-energize me for the possibilities in my future.
Still, at this point adding another year seems to be more appropriate for statistical analysis or body maintenance than anything. I suppose it can be used to justify what you've accepted that you're too old to do or as some kind of a limiting thing, but I choose not to perceive it like that. Rather, it's just another mile marker along the highway of life.
I went to the doctor this week for my bi-annual check-up. Blood pressure good. Lungs good. No sign of a new melanoma scare. Lab work is upcoming so I'll have a sense of how my blood is, how my kidneys are doing, and generally what habits need to change. But honestly, I'm feeling really good right now and I doubt there's any way to measure that.
I look at photos of myself from recent years and recognize that I'm still in the process of "becoming". 19th century novelist George Eliott said "It's never too late to be the person you were always meant to be" and I like that quote. Rather than life being one transition after another it seems to me that there are lots of them happening at the same time. Certainly, the concept of "transition" has a unique meaning for me and people who have walked a similar life path, but that's simply one of the more visible examples.
Life IS transition for me because to transition is to become. I've become comfortable that the me I am today and the me I am yet to become is a moving target so it's always changing. Still, birthdays are a good time to pause, to look back, and then to refocus on today, tomorrow, and beyond.
I'll share that as I blew out the candle on my piece of key lime pie for dessert I closed my eyes and made a wish. I've already learned that wishes do come true and I hope each of us can get more than one prayer answered. Anyway, time will tell how this one turns out..... :)
I finally got back to the gym this weekend. I haven't been there for almost two weeks - since leaving for Phoenix - and I've been feeling it. My overall fitness has simply become part of my life so falling out of that rhythm is a disruption. I ran 4 miles yesterday and felt good. I lifted today and am feeling a bit sore. All things considered, though, it's just nice to be back in the swing of things.
Especially given the fact that my wrestling adventure continues in Iowa in just over a month. I need to make the most of every day. And my biggest concern at the moment isn't how I'll do or the possibility of getting hurt. It's making weight. I'm more than a dozen pounds above where I need to be, so it's time to get serious without getting crazy.
I've got some cool speaking gigs coming up over the next few months. I'm giving the keynote at a conference about participation and inclusion in Athletics next month. I'm giving the keynote at a Diversity event for the FBI in Washington DC. I'm speaking at a Women's Leadership Conference in PA. The CNN event we did in December is being posted to iTunesU so that'll be available shortly. I'm glad that I've been able to break out of the mold of being type-cast as simply another transwoman with an interesting story or an LGBT "activist" and am able to keep one foot in that space but also to speak to more mainstream groups about topics that are important to me.
My 35-year high school reunion is coming up this summer. My oldest niece is getting married - I remember when she was born! And I find I feel the passage of time far more these days through milestones that happen in relation to other people or things in my life more than I do in my own body or mind. I still don't even know what it would be like to act or feel my age - whatever that means.
I brought my Toyota for service on Saturday. It's not the car I drove across country although we've done that several times together too. She just passed the 180,000 mile mark and needed a new power steering hose, and a transmission flush. That's it. She runs great. She's been good to me and I'll be good to her. And I expect that we've got many more life miles to travel together.
I couldn't help but think that this car was sort of like me right now. Many miles traveled. Still healthy. Lots of road left to cover - just needing a little TLC and routine maintenance. My "other" car - I drove her from Charleston to Phoenix last fall and then back again last week - just passed 150,000 miles so she's no spring chicken either. She needs more work than the Toyota but I expect to nurse her back to full health too.
Back to people - this week I took photos downtown, walked along the beach, got back into the gym, and generally recovered from "the road". It's good to be back. So now that I'm officially 53 years and a few days old - no break in pace. Life goes on. Fully lived. Much appreciated. And I like to think that there are still lots of interesting pages yet to be written.