Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be twenty-nine years old. I never know why that’s supposed to be scary. Yeah, I’m older, but it’s one of those things that is so completely inevitable that for the most part it’s never weighed too heavily on my mind. Next year, of course, I’ll be turning thirty, so maybe that will be more difficult somehow. But hey, probably not. Mostly it’s no big thing, except that I now sometimes get hangovers after two glasses of wine and I often feel sleepy at nine thirty.
My friend Rose-Anne turned twenty-nine just last week, and in a minute I’m going to follow her lead and make a list of things I hope for this year. But first… Well, a horoscope. I have an ex who is very spiritual, and while that’s not something I’m too invested in (sort of like fear of aging, actually), she did get me a little hooked on Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology horoscopes. I can’t help it; they’re funny, and I appreciate his raucous and joyous good-natured advice, even if I don’t always take them too personally. Lately they’ve actually seemed rather pointed, occasionally in some rather harsh ways, but not this week; after all, it’s my birthday. Here it is:
“Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a book called Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. I'd love it if in the next few weeks you would think a lot about how you are on your way to becoming what you were born to be. Current astrological omens suggest you will have special insight into that theme. For inspiration, you might want to borrow some of Nietzsche's chapter titles, including the following: “Why I Am So Wise,” “Why I Am So Clever,” and “Why I Am a Destiny.””
The picture caption next to this was “Possibility.” Okay, so maybe I’ve been losing sight of this a little bit. Maybe right now is a good time to get back on track. And in light of that, here is my wish list. Twenty-nine, here I come, teeth clenched and with trembling heart.
I want to write more often. I don’t need to “be a writer”, but I want to remember how good writing feels.
I want to bake my own bread on a semi-regular basis. I want that to be relaxing, not stressful.
I want to smile more often.
I want to take in my surroundings peacefully, to not be so far inside my own head that I forget to appreciate textures or colors or scents, leaves and the sky.
I want to allow my relationships with other people to be reciprocal, instead of placing all of the weight of interaction either on them or on myself.
I want to sing along when I listen to music at home alone.
I want to pet my cats and hug my lovers and do the dishes joyfully and savor my food and laugh, as often as possible. (Well, maybe not so often with the dishes. But if I’m doing them, I’d rather take it lightly instead of irritably.)
I want to feel overwhelming joy again, at least once.
And, dear readers, that’s all I have. I don’t know what this year has in store. God knows I would never have predicted how twenty-eight would turn out, so I’m trying to just let things happen and figure it out as I go along. Lately I’ve felt like I have a death grip on my life, like I’m trying so damn hard to be happy that I’m turning into stone, but inflexibility isn’t the answer. If there’s one single thing I wish for this year, it’s to let go. I need so badly for this to happen that what comes after is almost of less consequence than the process. In order for my wishes to come true, I need this one thing first.
Here is my horoscope from a few weeks ago. The picture caption next to this one was “Passion.”
“Your old self is the fuel you will use to burn your old self to the ground. This bonfire will liberate your new self, which has been trapped in a gnarly snarl deep inside your old self. It's only at first that you'll feel freaked out by the flames. Very quickly a sense of relief and release will predominate. Then, as the new you makes its way to freedom, escaping its cramped quarters and flexing its vital force, you will be blessed with a foreshadowing of your future. The intoxication that follows will bring you clarity and peace of mind.”
Yes, please. Bring me my passion, my joy, and my fierce desire back. No more stone.