35

It's different than I thought. Not better. Not worse. Just different. I'm beginning to think that's the point. (In my fantasy this whole list is a send-up of an Adele album.)
  1. Stopped lying about my age.
    When I've done this many rounds again I'll be 70. My 70-year-old self would be appalled that I had any reluctance around the number 35. Vanity makes us feel that this moment is somehow heightened. That we will be here forever and that this snapshot is thus remarkably important. This one will be replaced by countless others, though, and we will be different people looking upon this with the amused non-judgment of elders.
  2. Became comfortable in my own skin.
    Suffice it to say that I have been horrifically unkind to my body in a lifelong effort to manifest the love child of Gisele Bünchden & the New York City Ballet. Something has shifted. I'm into being strong, flexible and comfortable. Into living a long and healthy life.
  3. Investigated awakening rather than cowering to the tyranny of "should."
    The shoulds! They lull you into the humdrum of life, anesthetizing you with checked-off lists and microcosmic trappings of progress. This shit goes by fast. Find what makes you feel alive, and do that.
  4. Allowed old friendships to change into what they are becoming.
    Whether different versions of themselves, fond memories, or sad flickers that seep into the corners of my dreams. Also embraced the inevitable gaps and reconnections, the constant evolution. Tired of forcing and faking. No patience for any of that anymore.
  5. Traded mimicry for knowing my own mind.
    I realize how belated I am in taking this developmental step. We all do it in our own time, I guess. For me it was about fatigue. If I'm not hip to something that I'm supposed to understand, I don't care to speed-learn or fake it. I don't have time or energy to devote to that. Now I just ask. There's a lot of freedom in the words, "I don't know." So too is there freedom in speaking up and in dancing with differences of opinion rather than being conflict-averse for fear of abandonment.
  6. Eradicated "sorry," "just," "actually," "wondering," and gratuitous exclamatory punctuation, among other things.
    This is not entirely true. Just look at my lists and you will see me contradicting myself left and right. I am trying, though. Instead of, "Will this person like me? Am I offending anyone?" the subtext is more like, "How might Hillary/Oprah handle this and what is my version of that?" I now say "excuse me" instead of "sorry" when I accidentally bump into someone. Why, pray tell? Because I am a grown-ass mothafuckin lady.
  7. Started taking what I have to contribute more seriously.
    A friend whom I admire greatly said to me, out of nowhere, "I'm glad to see you finally taking yourself seriously." Only then did I realize how my constant self-deprecation & silly deflection had been chipping away at the core of my passion. Strangulation in the guise of self-preservation. Enough of that. Commit. Speak up. Be earnest. Be hopeful. Jadedness is just childish perfectionism in a leather jacket.
  8. Released.
    Anything that is not beautiful or useful. Anything extraneous. Objects that exist for the purpose of ego identification. Craving of aforementioned objects. All varieties of literal and figurative shit. Feeling much lighter now. Thanks, life. Thanks, Marie Kondo.
  9. Began assessing what the situation needs rather than what I want it to be.
    What kind of daughter, sister, friend, lover, wife, mother, artist, writer, actor, neighbor, human do I want to be? Does that even matter? It is a fine thing to consider, but what about just staying open and using our senses to perceive? Tap in and understand what the person, situation, relationship, page or stage needs. Because let me tell you: premeditating and muscling everything is fucking exhausting, not to mention criminally boring.
  10. Redefined success.
    Money. Reputation. Fame. Accolades. Titles. Objects. All very sexy & fun. What feeds you, though, is whatever makes time stop. Maybe it's making music, writing stories, being in the company of someone you love, dancing, calculating, reading, building. I can't tell you the answer because I'm not the boss of you. Whatever it is, though? Doing that is success. When you're shocked that the day has ended because you've been engrossed in devoting yourself wholeheartedly to this pursuit? Success.