I turn 36 today. Odd, because I don’t feel like I should be 36. By the time my mom was 36, I was just about to turn 10 years old, and had been married for almost 13 years. I’m unmarried, single, and child-free. I can honestly say that in at least these two areas of my life, I am happy, and satisfied. I am by nature solitary, and I value my time to myself so, so much. In 2012, I spent my birthday by myself as I house sat for friends who had gone on vacation. I had 2 or 3 days to myself, watching Star Wars, playing with their cats, meeting another friend for lunch, and just generally truly enjoying myself. Then, when they got home, I had a nice dinner with them, and then a few more days hanging out with them and enjoying their company before coming home.

This year, I’m celebrating next weekend, with a different group of friends as we go to a pop culture convention in a local city. It’s the first year for this convention, and I’m pretty excited about it. I don’t have the time or the money to put together a costume or anything, so I’ll wear my trusty Captain America t-shirt & hoodie, and prepare to just experience the convention. If it’s a good time, and they decide to do it again next year, then I’ll have that time to figure out and put together a costume, if I want. But this year, it’s all about getting together with good friends and having a ton of laughs and a rollicking good time.

A year ago, Wil Wheaton essentially rebooted his life. He took a very hard look at his life and decided that he didn’t want to be in that place anymore, and from there made another decision to change. He looked at several areas: alcohol consumption, creativity, physical health, mental health. He chose to change his life in very large, real ways, and I am so proud of him and so impressed and inspired. He’s done it, and he’s been so successful at it, and the change for him has been so profound that I am also a little jealous. I want that. I need that sort of change. I am not the best me that I can be right now, and I haven’t been for a very, very long time.

This summer I’ve taken steps in the right direction. I’m in therapy, and this month something seemed to click. Instead of talking about anxiety and how it affects me, I’m doing something about it. My therapist advocates for pushing through the anxiety. I started small, and it worked. My anxiety has been up, but that’s normal, she tells me. I’m rewiring my brain, to take the things that it labels as SCARY: DNW, and to rip that label off. Of course, my anxiety just labels something a little bigger with the scary tag, and it’s my job to confront that, and to tell my anxiety that no, it’s not in control. It’s there, but I am going to do the thing anyway.

That’s how I’ve applied for more jobs in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years. That’s how I am doing freelance copy for a friend’s website/web store. That’s how I suddenly, wihout any warning, came to be a freelance writer for my local newspaper. I go to my first event tomorrow, and will submit the story on Sunday.

My change starts now, on my 36th birthday. I don’t have a set of core areas in which I want to improve, but it will happen, this weekend. There is a saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I have to be the change I need to see in my own world. No one else can do it.

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