In my thirties, I lost and then rebuilt my marriage; I cut ties with my father; I learned how to grow plants; I became a better mother; I developed a writing discipline. These things feel simple to say, like pointing to a map instead of traveling to the country, but they are the first things to rise to the surface when I consider this last decade. I told a friend recently that turning forty feels like a gathering of powers, energy earned from the suffering and flailing of everything that came before it.
I lost both of my grandparents in my thirties, confronting a depth of grief I’d worried over my whole life. It’s rare to have your beloved elders in your life well into adulthood, and rarer still that your child can know them in a meaningful way. I was gifted both rarities. I think of them every day and listen hard for their voices as I get further and further away from their physical presence. Their home is no longer a place I can return to, which I’m coming to understand might be what allowed me to finally buy my own home. I’m no longer split between here and there. Only here exists now and I am free to fully inhabit this place I’ve lived for 20 years.
Beautiful, luminous friends have died as I tumbled through my thirties. They visit me often in my dreams. I see them peeking around the corners of poems, in songs, a conversation we never finished continuing on in my head, my heart. Still, I wish they were here and assume I always will.
This last year of my thirties has been the best of my life. For a second time, I committed myself to the love of my life, in front of our people, in our favorite place. I am lucky enough to work with the bravest, most compassionate group of writers. My job is purposeful and challenging. We’re days away from owning our first home after 20 years of marriage.
I don’t know if what I was yearning to say found its way through these thoughts. The light has turned toward dark and a pink radiance is illuminating the clouds outside my studio window. Maybe it’s woven between the words. Maybe you can imagine how, if you were here, I would touch your arm. I would insist on hugging you goodbye when we parted. Together, let’s wave to the end of my thirties and beckon the new decade in. For today and a while more, imagine me here.