“It takes a long time to become young.” – Pablo Picasso
Today I am 33.
This isn’t a remarkable achievement, and yet I feel remarkable. There is a significant stretch of life behind me and a much more significant stretch laid out ahead. I feel so deliciously between the two – that perfect moment when you awake in the early morning, realizing there’s more time to sleep, your bed and blankets forming the most miraculous cocoon around you, and you feel irrationally happy to be alive just to be so comfortable, so unrushed, knowing that once you rise from your indulgent slumber that there is a whole day, alive with possibility, to wake to.
This year has brought me tremendous growth. Growth beyond all reckoning, exponential in it’s ascent, thrilling and unexpected. As with any growth, sometimes excruciating. Lessons learned but not followed were relearned with harsh authority. Things broke and had to be reassembled in different shapes. I broke, at points, and pieced myself back together in new configurations. Shifting, adapting, learning, hurting, healing. I don’t recognize the girl (woman?) in the mirror nowadays but I think it’s me. We are meeting for the first time.
I am the oldest I’ve ever been and yet I feel completely reborn, new; a bow drawn back, a breath held. I understand Picasso when he says, “It takes a long time to become young.” 33 has brought me youth beyond my comprehension. There is joy, curiosity and hunger burning in my chest everyday, so sweet it hurts.
I feel balanced, solid and stable; poised on the edge of unexplored potential. I’m leaping into 33. No longer concerned with restrictions or boundaries, I’m testing every one. I’m not scared to bump into limitations, only curious to find out where they are and if they’ll change. I will run, reaching, until I’ve touched all four walls, and I’ll patrol the perimeter all over again to see if it’s gotten bigger. I bet you it will.
Don’t ever believe you are too old, or that anything has passed you by. It hasn’t. I was so afraid. Every year tacked on, you guys, crippled me. By 32, my knees were buckling under the weight of my anxiety. For some of us, youth is not liberating. For some of us, youth can be an exhausting minefield, a heavy yoke around our tender necks. Some of us need time. We need to learn how to navigate this glorious but noisy, violent, demanding world. We need space between us and the things that hurt us. We need to survive before we get the chance to thrive. It took me 33 years to realize that my life didn’t start big. It had to be built up.
It’s here. It’s all here waiting for us to be ready. And when we are? Everything old falls away and the newness is a thundercloud. Suddenly, everything is exactly how and where it should be. The uncertainty vanishes, replaced with so much quivering, electric peace.
Whatever you are trying to do, whatever you dream, whatever age you are. It’s all here. It’s here for us, all of us. I haven’t achieved anything I set out to do. That used to kill me, a little bit, every single day. I know you. I am you. I promise when you’re ready, it’s all here and it’s even better than we ever dreamed. I may never do those things but I finally understand that that just means I’ll do other things. At whatever age I am when I do them. And it’ll be perfect, whatever it is, whenever it happens. I hope this makes sense to someone out there. I hope this gives you hope.
Today I am 33. Today I am limitless.