37 Years.

Sometimes you become a thing you never thought you would be. A 37-year-old person. I feel like I've finally reached an age at which existence seems kind of miraculous. Maybe it's a symmetry of things.

Baby me.
I was 7 when I should have died. Thirty years ago this summer. And I have been thinking a lot about that. How a thing that is 30 years past is still the thing that shapes so much of how you see the world. You are half you, the you that would have been no matter what. But you are always that other half of you. The you that was changed.

I will have a lot more to say about that later. This summer is a summer of writing and thinking, I think. I have been quiet a long time, but I was letting things simmer. You can't tell someone what you think until you've figured it out yourself, can you?

So today. Today I turn 37 years old. A proper grown up. A person who should have could have would have accomplished stuff and things. "You're still young," my father said today.

But am I? To some, yes. But youth carries a sheen of irresponsibility. I don't get that anymore. I shouldn't. I am one of us all the way. Us Americans. Us humans. Us adults on this Earth doing our stuff and things.

I don't know why it was this year. Maybe it was all the other things I've thought in the past year about life and hurt and resposiblity and what I did and what I felt. What everyone did. What everyone felt.

The things frozen in time don't have to create coffins of ice we live in forever. We can caress them with tenderness and say no. You were important. But you are not the way forward.

I finally grew up in a way that feels irrevokable. A loss of innocence. A loss of youth and ignorance. A loss of careless freedom. A loss of a fantasy of the world.

But the world that is real, for all its messy, jagged corners... I sleep better here. On the other side of that long, hard winter. Where self exploration became a carnival of tissues, long walks and "what could have been."

I hope I look back at this someday and find naivete. Vanity. Youth. Because that will have meant that I lived decades more, and saw that night when I turned 37, surrounded by my friends at book club, looking forward to a rooftop barbecue... And see myself for the novice I was.

The girl who thought she knew so much in her 30s. But who from the ripe old age of three times that, looks at her and shakes her head and smiles. You delicate, gorgeous child. How could you see how much the world would grow.

I hope to someday look back upon my now-self and adore her innocence.

I hope we all get that.


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