For those of you who didn’t know, last week I turned 30. I am pretty stoked about the new decade. Usually I get nervous about my birthday; and for good reason. Every year, I become a totally new person. It’s not something I do on purpose, it bubbles out from inside of me. And the next thing I know, I’m rearranging my life with new priorities, changing my friends, setting my life on a totally different course.
I try to set my life in order in the months before it, but that usually proves pretty useless. It’s like cleaning your room before you let someone else move into it. The new 30 year old me might not like the carpet, so what’s the point of steam cleaning it before the event? I’ve never wanted all the drastic changes, and once I make them, I freak out a little bit. But in the end, they’re usually good for me. When I was 22, I estranged myself from my parents for my birthday. When I was 27, I started Snarky Cards. Last year, I bought a bikini.
This year, I don’t know what will happen. I’m still waiting for the bubble inside of me to to hit the surface. I think my Aunt Judi knows that it’s hard on me, all this change. And that’s why, periodically, she comes to stay with me, to see me through the event. Judi is my Fake Mom. She’s always been there for me, even when it was hard for her to figure out how.
The first time I had sex, I told her about it. She was the only adult I told. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and worried that I’d made a terrible mistake. But all that fell away when she beamed at me and said “Great! How was it?” When I started Snarky Cards, I asked her what she thought, and she said “Well, I think it’s really brave. 90% of businesses fail in their first year.” I thought she would tell me that I was doing something really stupid. But she was stalwart in her realistic support. I think what she meant was “I understand you have to do this, and it’s ok, whether it works or not, I get that you have to try.”
The four days that she spent with me this year were amazing. She was happy to run to the bus stop with me, and and meet all of my favorite bartenders, and she and Lisa hit it off. Like, I think Judi and I might end up sharing my best friend. Which is awesome, because they both like the same kind of boring shit. Like if we’re walking somewhere, Judi would say “I wonder what that building is made of?!” and Lisa would say “Yeah! Let’s go look at it!” and they would both tromp off across the street to touch the building and talk about material. Which is great, because I don’t care what the building is made of. And I don’t want to go across the street to look at it. So I’m glad Lisa and Judi had each other. It makes time with both of them way easier.
The three of us spent my entire birthday walking and talking and eating and drinking. It was perfect. We got to talk about our feelings and our dreams. I love that shit. And I saw my cousin Deanna, who dropped in on the girl-time we were having. She and I managed not to piss each other off, in the hour that we hung out. Which is a first.
In the four days she was here, Judi and I went over my whole life; she was making small corrections in my thinking and my future plans every day. I finally get how annoying it is when I do that to other people. But the thing is, she was right. About almost everything. It’s nice to have a Mom. It’s nice to have someone in my life who cares about me and can give me advice, or just plain tell me to straighten my shit out. And her and Lisa getting along felt really good too. A Mom who likes my friends? Awesome!
Judi would tell you that you don’t need anyone else to approve of your life. That you should just do what you think is right, and try not to hurt anyone else. And she’s right. But it still felt really good for me to have her to come see my success and smile. Maybe that’s the radical change for this year. Maybe I just admit that it’s OK for me to have a family; to need other people. Maybe that’s Big Enough.