If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, May 7, 2010

A New Perspective

I am 45 years old today. For some reason I can't think of the number 45 without thinking of angles. It must have been all the geometry I took in high school. So it feels like I have a new angle on life.

At 45 I'm halfway through my forties. This is both good and bad. Its good because I'm really enjoying my 40's; it's bad only if my 50's suck. My tai chi teacher told us that his goal is "a healthy hundred." That is he is trying to live to 100 years but all of them healthy. I like this concept. I've always wanted to be an old lady but not a frail, sick, or senile one. I also like it because it means mid-life is still 5 years away.

I believe that how you feel about a given birthday has more to do with where you are in life relative to where you want to be than it has to do with a specific number. I am really quite lucky to be in such a good place this year. I can say sincerely that I really like my life and I've accomplished many of the things that I wanted to accomplish as an adult. If anything I'm having a hard time coming up with new goals to inspire me. Here's what I have so far:
  • Become a full professor
  • Get an R01 grant
  • Buy a house I love and can afford
  • Become a grandmother
  • Write a book
  • Live just outside of Portland
That's really about it. Not a long list and not an undoable one. Even more amazing is that if anything (or everything) on that list DIDN'T happen, I'd be ok (the not being a grandmother would hit the hardest, but ultimately I'd be ok).

Since arriving in my 40's I've also picked up (or picked back up) a number of activities that I enjoy immensely. I don't want to stop any of these activities but I also don't have a great need to accomplish anything within them. I just want them to continue in my life. My beloved activities are:
  • Writing openly and creatively (including blogging)
  • Tai chi (and other martial arts)
  • Yoga
  • Photography/learning a visual medium
  • Mentoring students
  • Volunteering as a doula
So 45 finds me in a career I love; surrounded by people I adore and who make me feel loved; and doing the things that make me happy on a daily basis.

b and I have several festivities planned to celebrate my birth and life on this planet. I'm sure I'll be sharing the highlights with you all in a few days.


Catherine said...

Happy birthday, Tracy! I can't believe that my baby sister is 45. Enjoy your day.

Julie said...

Happy birthday!!! I look forward to hearing about the fun!

I love the way you look at life. It sounds like a great one so far, and I wish you many more years of happiness.

Anonymous said...

happy birthday! I love your attitude, and that you're in such a good place. Enjoy the festivities!

-life-of-a-fool (sorry --too lazy to sign in)

Drax said...

Happy Birthday!!!

(sorry— too dumb to write something clever)

Christina said...

happy birthday!
i adore your lists.
: )

comebacknikki said...

Happy birthday! :)

Seeking Solace said...

Happy Birthday!!! What a great perspective on living life in your 40's!!!

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Happy birthday -- and great lists!

phd me said...

And a very happy, albeit belated, birthday to you!

ruth pennebaker said...

Happy birthday. My 50s were even better than my 40s; think you'll like them, too -- but you're not even close to getting there.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! I've been away, or I would have wished you a Happy Birthday sooner! I also view 50 as the halfway mark, expecting to live to be a healthy one hundred! ~ Annie