I don’t have anything profound to say about turning 36. There is too much happening in 2020 to pause and think about how it feels to turn a year older. And on that point, I feel chastened after recently reading a piece in The American Scholar, where David Gessner wrote:
“I am wary of anyone who offers “lessons” from a moment of crisis. September 11 should have taught us that most of these immediate insights are disposable.”
In short: there is not yet enough distance to make out the shapes that matter, or — more to the heart-breaking point — the ones that remain. Maybe my flimsy, fumbling attempts at writing about coronavirus and even aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement were ill-advised, and I should have taken a page out of my post answering the question of whether it is more difficult to go from 0-1 children or 1-2:
“I couldn’t possibly tell you which has been harder because I’m too close up. I need time, perspective, space to process it all.”
And yet I know myself well enough to say with unflinching certainty that I will continue to write about our times — with varying degrees of obliqueness — because my writing has always prioritized process over product. That is, I write to know what I think.
Sometimes I will play the Pollyanna, sometimes I will distract with beautiful things, sometimes I will delicately play with the hemline of a difficult-to-broach subject. I will often make mistakes. I will occasionally entertain. And, rarely, when I am as brave as a 36-year-old woman should be, I will stare something right in the eye and write directly at it rather than around it.
But, not today.
Today, I turn 36, and you can bet that I am overdressed for the quarantine-induced constraints upon the occasion. Not quite wearing yards of mint green tulle like the chic pea above, but not far off.
Today, I intend to put down my phone, cuddle with my children on the floor, have a glass of champagne with lunch, read my book, and wait for my four siblings and two parents to call me and wish me many happy returns in their own individualized yet predictable ways.
Today, I plan to put on bright lipstick, eat french fries, kiss my husband, and go to bed in freshly-laundered sheets with my hair still wet from a late-night shower — this last bedtime vignette one of the strangest and most satisfying luxuries I know. (To hell with my crimped bed head the next morning!)
Today, I want to shelve my usual regimen-and-routine-oriented habits and instead remember all day long how lucky I am to be healthy, loved, and surrounded by blessings.
P.P.P.S. I should have included these beauties in my roundup of great summer sandals. They’re in my cart, along with…this floral everyday dress, glowscreen, and this easy-to-wear white dress. Is there any chance I can legimitize this?!