It is quite possible that what it takes to make me happy has become more simple with each passing year.
That what I need is easier to know and easier to find.
When I turned 40 (two years ago) I remember holding onto the "shoulds" that came along with it.
I should have a party. I should gather with the most important people in my life. I should craft meaning around this day.
I should make a kind of big deal out of this. Because I thought if I didn't I might regret it.
When all was said and done I would have preferred to gather one-on-one with each of those wonderful people instead of as a group, as small as it was. I would have carved out more quiet space. I would have honored my nature more fully.
And now? At 42? Forget about it.
Forget the "shoulds". The rules. The expectations.
All I need is my family and friends and an abundance of simple, easy-to-find joys.
With that in mind, I spent my birthday weekend digging a new garden bed, foraging nettles, snuggling lambs, and connecting with the people that I love.
There was good (simple) food, good (simple) work, lovely (simple) gifts, and meaningful conversation.
There was fresh air and sunshine and a quiet place to enjoy it.
One of my dearest friends came for the weekend and I didn't clean for her (a struggle even for me) because it was my birthday and I didn't want to get caught in the loop of "shoulds".
Instead I welcomed her into the chaos and we found the space there in which to simply be. (And knit. And talk.)
Because it turns out for me that 42 sounds older than it feels.
Yet the self-knowing that growing older brings? That is something I deeply treasure.
I'm learning how to ask for what I need. And how to give much of that to myself.
I'm learning that it doesn't take much more for me to be happy then honoring and living my own truths.
If this is what it means to grow up I'm all for it.
So hello, 42. I'm ready for you.
Bring it on!