I haven't been looking forward to this birthday. I haven't been dreading it either. It's just there. Thirty three. It's not a milestone birthday or anything special -- it's just, to be over dramatic, a marker that another year has passed. I sometimes wake up and think, "how did I get to be this old?" Not that 33 is old, but I feel like I should FEEL older in some ways, and most of the time, I still feel like a kid in adult clothes.
So, a gratitude list if you will, of things that are working for me at 33:
* My beautiful girl and the successful, interesting pregnancy and labor that brought her here
* the MG
* my family, as far away as they are
* a great apartment in a fabulous city
* running again
* reading lots of books during my time off
* dribs and drabs of writing
* an uneasy truce with how I look
* my other two children, the cats
* summer nights in Davis Square
* and countless other everyday moments that would be uninteresting to most people but me
The big hole is that I feel largely...unfinished. My return-to-work date is now looming over, and I dread going back. It has absolutely nothing to do with the job or the people. The work is fine, and I actually really love my coworkers. I just feel like I've wasted over a decade doing work that I don't enjoy and that the time is slipping away. And that if I don't figure out something else to do soon, it won't be a decade that I wasted, but rather a life. Most of you that read know that I've been complaining about the same thing for years, but with each passing year, it seems more urgent. And it caught up to me, to some extent. In my horrible-for-many-reasons review this year, I was asked, point blank, "Do you even want to be here?" There is no problem with my work or my work ethic. The problem, I was told, is that people get the sense that I don't want to be there and it's that -- this weird lack of commitment to the fact that this IS my life and my job -- that is keeping me stuck in the bowels of middle management. It hurt. Because it was unbelievably true.
YG scolds me when I say that I have "wasted" a decade of my life and reminds me of all the things that I have accomplished. I also remind myself that it took a while to get the other things that I am truly grateful for like a husband that I respect and who treats me well, and a place to live where I truly feel comfortable. It took me the better part of a decade to figure those things out, and it's going to continue to take time to figure out where I belong work-wise.
The good thing is that 33 doesn't feel too old. I feel like I have a good balance between wondering how the hell I ended up an adult and feeling like 33 is still just the beginning of a lifetime, that I have time to work things out and navel gaze a bit more.