It's a few hours until February 28 and that means I'm almost 40. I don't really know how to feel about it other than it's another year I get to intentionally live my life. Having cancer at 35 gives one a different perspective on the meaning of birthdays. Treatments are judged on a 5-year survival rate. I was diagnosed just before turning 36 so I have one more year before I hit that 5-year mark. Not that a 5-year survival rate is that appealing to someone so young, as opposed to someone in their 70s or 80s. I'd rather have a 40- or 50-year survival rate. Thanks.
Anyway, back to my birthday. Tomorrow I'm getting my hair done. I need a new style so what better time than a landmark birthday? We're not doing anything fancy for dinner or a party. We chose instead to meet my twin sister and her husband at a beach in Florida last week and it was fantastic. Besides recovering from the flu, I spent two days reading an actual book with my feet in the sand. I took a nap without being disturbed. We tried to swim with manatees, though the water was too murky to see them. The guys spent hours on the balcony watching curling while my sister and I watched trash TV. We went to a piano bar and danced with the snowbirds who thought we were cute and young. We ate all kinds of fried seafood. We just spent time being us. It was wonderful even in the face of my depression and anxiety.
Though I continue to struggle I'm finding things that help, like saying "yes" even when I want to say "no." These days it's even difficult to say yes to friends who want to spend time together, though I know it will make me feel better and it's the best thing for our friendship. I didn't think I'd be dealing with this at 40. I thought confidence and wisdom and experience would win out over mental illness but chemical imbalances can't be fixed by experiences alone. So I take my meds and keep plugging along, even though every single day I'd rather stay in my bed. It's hard to be the wife and mother I want to be when depression is overwhelmingly controlling my mind. And it makes me feel guilty because I have nothing to be depressed about. My life is amazing and I try to remind myself of that. So for my 40th year I wish for health -- health of mind, body, and spirit. I wish to be the person I want to be and know I can be. I wish to dwell on others more than I dwell on myself. And I wish to be rid of these negative thoughts and feelings that so heavily weigh me down. So I hope this is 40. A year of joy, happiness, participation, and love. I know I can get there. It's an uphill battle but I'm determined.