Today is my birthday. I am now old enough to add an Amtrak discount to those at the local movie theater and Denny’s. I am old enough that I haven’t been carded in two decades. I am old enough to wake up with stiff hands and a knee that clicks as I head down the stairs to the kitchen. I am old enough to find myself in the middle of a room with no idea why I went there or what I went there to get.
I am still young enough to marvel at sunsets and to have my heart lift at the narcissus and forsythia blooming in the neighborhood this week. I am young enough to dream about what I want to be and to believe in the power of one person to change the world.
I will always root for the underdog, cry at commercials with baby humans or animals, and sing when I’m alone. I will always have the shy, misfit four-year-old in my brain, sharing space with the depressed, sarcastic teenager, and the nerdy graduate student who outlined a short story with characters speaking Anglo-Saxon.
I am old enough to take fewer things for granted, to spend less time on things I cannot change. I am old enough to feel less like a misfit, not to voice the sarcastic thoughts I have when it is not helpful or appropriate. I’m old enough to realize that education does not make a person better, and sometimes not even smarter.
Despite all my decades, I’m still learning and evolving. Here’s to learning more in the next year.