It’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain

It’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain

We’re finally at November. I think it only took two decades to get here this year. It’s the month of my birth but it’s hard to contemplate celebrating. Not just because of the seemingly never-ending election cycle, or the past 7 months in quarantine, or the next __ months ahead until Covid becomes a sad footnote in history. But like everyone else, I’m just so . . . tired.

Enter my new domain name.

I turn 48 this month and and I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. It’s much too close to 50 for comfort, but I’m also looking forward to leaving my 40s behind. My mom was 38 when I left for college. And at almost a full decade older than that, my oldest son is now examining his own collegiate options. In 2021 we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, our youngest son will celebrate his ‘Sweet 16’, and our oldest son will become a high school senior. So nothing much to look forward to regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, no?

When I turned 30, I was ready. I was excited. I felt like my life was really just starting and I couldn’t wait to get on with it. I had finally grown into my adult-self. We had been married over half a decade, had just bought our first home, and were doing everything imaginable to finally become parents. My health was good-ish and I truly enjoyed my then-job in web design. We had several close friends, some even local, and were able to get out and travel frequently. All the ‘pieces of me’ just seemed to fit.

But when I approached 40, I had just lost my sister, I was facing a major health setback, and we had just lost our brand new home (and everything in it) overnight. We moved to Atlanta about five months before the big 4-0 and although the move out of Florida was a happy one, my mood at the time was not. In the past eight years we’ve managed to make this rental house our “home”, but it’s hard to settle in and become an active part of a new community from the comfort of your own bed. Just as I was starting to feel a bit better again in 2019, and family outings and travel were becoming our new normal, The Great Lockdown of 2020™ hit. I’ve joked this is a marathon we were in training for since 2012. But in reality it was a bit like having the rug yanked out from under us after just getting started on this thing called life again.

I’ve also lost dear friendships in the past year through no fault other than my own. I’ve had nothing but time and insomnia to review every single mistake I’ve ever made over and over like a bad Lifetime movie. Life lessons I thought I’d more than learned by 40 came back to smack me upside the head in 2020 like, “No one informed you there was a sequel woman? Grab your popcorn.” (Speaking of, pro tip – this stuff is absolutely addictive.)

I’ve always loved this quote:

To grow mature is to separate more distinctly, to connect more closely.”

Hugo von Hofmannsthal

But I’m finding it was much easier to adjust to the loss of friendships in my 20s than in my 40s.

Please don’t get the impression that my daily life is all doom and gloom. Although my health is still far from perfect and I still suffer from frequent, completely debilitating migraines, I’m only bed-bound around 75-80% of the time now (compared to the 100% from recent years.) I love being a wife and a mother. Family is everything to me. I’m just finding it a bit hard to love myself lately, and to figure out my place in this world beyond my street address. I know I’m not the only one feeling like that these days. But until you say it out loud, and someone echoes it back, you can remain set adrift on memory…..

So here I am with a fancy new hashtag on Twitter to share the little things that bring me joy, and a new diary of sorts to help forget the pain. Like sunshine and rain.

What you get is all real. I can’t put on an act. It takes brains to do that anyway.” -XTC

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