Monday was my birthday. I turned 39.
I am not one of those women who is terrified of the approach of 40. In fact, I kinda wish I had turned 40 on Monday because 39 seems like a desperate age, an age in which one clings to the last year of the 30’s. I had a great run this decade–seriously. I started by doctorate work at age 30 and finished right before I turned 37 (while working full-time and having two kids…I have to add that EVERY time because I am very, very proud of it). I had two kids. I lost one pregnancy which led me to a year of therapy; it was good for me–I needed it. I refined my teaching during my 30’s and became a good teacher, one who is good at her craft and a reflective, kind practitioner. I got married at 29 and am still very happily married. I have watched a handful of friends get divorced over the past year, and I don’t take my marriage for granted at all. My babies have grown into beautiful, inquisitive kids. My career has shifted from teacher to professor. I am healthy as are all whom I love. The list of what’s good in my life is long.
I am so so thankful.
Also, it was in my 30’s that I figured out my philosophy in life–that we are all connected, that we all share something in common, that our differences are differences, but they don’t need to divide us–they are interesting. I mean this in terms of race, religion, class, gender, life paths, occupations…just about everything I can think of. It’s the decade I developed into my secular humanist self: I don’t believe in divinity, I believe in people. People are divine. I love being here. And I truly love meeting all of those who cross my path.
I had an antsy feeling on my birthday. We had no big plans (saving that for next year–40!), so I decided to go get a tattoo. I have been drawing this tattoo on my arms for years now (as my colleagues in various meetings can attest)–a Venn Diagram. Anyone who teaches knows the Venn Diagram is the most basic of graphic organizers to help students set up the elements of compare and contrast. I like it for that reason. But for me it’s a visual representation of how I approach life, looking for what overlaps and connects us, curious about what is in each of our separate circles and divides us. Glad both elements are there: similarities and differences.
Oh, and would you believe (all my English teacher folks, I am talking to you) that the Venn Diagram is actually a mathematical concept!!?? I googled it before I put it on my body forever, and the wikipedia page is intense. Due to my new love for Math, I was down with this.
This is also my first tattoo that I have placed in a spot that both I and others can see (I have one on each shoulder of my back). There was a part of me that thought I should wait until I get tenure to do this, but screw it. I can wear a long sleeved shirt.
Here’s the last year of the decade of my 30’s! (photo of my tattoo and the blueberry lavender pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds that rocked my world)