49.  Holy.cow.  I’ll be 49 in a few days.  How did that happen?  Why doesn’t it scare me?

Yes, I am entering my 49th trip around the bright shiny and I gotta tell you, I’m embracing every minute of every day that I have walked this rock.  I’ve earned every line, every wrinkle.  Probably every tear and every heartache.  I’ll tell you what else I’ve earned, every single moment of happiness and joy I’ve experienced in these past 48 trips.

See, it’s not always sunshine and roses.  I’m not always the best version of myself.  I’m a sinner and I’m forgiven.  I am loud, plus size and am equal parts sass and sadness.  I am quiet, I am bawdy…I am a bleeding heart, I am a conservative.  I am spiritual and I believe in science, all at once.

I’ve hurt people, I’ve been hurt.  I have shared secrets that I probably shouldn’t have and kept things to myself that I should have shared.  I laugh and cry at inappropriate times and completely miss the point other times.  I’ve lied and been lied to.  I’ve owned mistakes that I made or were perceived that I made…I’ve forgiven others for the same, whether they acknowledged it or not.  I’ve been a good friend, a great friend and sometimes a shitty friend.  No excuses, just my level best effort, most days.

I am a wife, a daughter, a sister and a mother.  Not the best at any of them, but I can never say I didn’t try.

All of this, for one thing…I am living my human experience.  Every day.

So, 49.  I’m not scared of you…I’ve been through a lot in these years.  No one single thing or single person has broken me…although there have been moments that I didn’t think I could survive, I have.  And with that survival, comes strength, resolve and lessons.

In this new year around the shiny thing, I am going to do something better than self love.  I am going to like me.  Like the wrinkles, the curves, the sadness behind my eyes and the shine in them when I am happy.  I am going to like that I am an emotional rollercoaster and an extroverted introvert.  I am going to like the fact that this is me, all of me and that I can only be the best version of me.

I won’t promise you that I will improve anything, eat better, exercise more, I won’t conquer my fear of heights or international travel (aka my imaginary kidnapping) I won’t take up a new hobby or yoga (well, maybe yoga)…but I will experience what this life on this rock offers me.  And I will do so with hope in my heart and forward motion.

I have left the past in the past, made my peace with mine and look towards the horizon…that’s where my future lies.

Let’s see what you’ve got 49…

Food for Thought.

I was chatting with a co-worker about food, or our favorites and I decided in the new theme to get my memories down on paper, to share two…

First one…dad took me for my 13th birthday to eat at Aw Shucks!…I never had been there, and had lived basically on fried cheese and chips for the last year or so (my staples, don’t judge me…) he decided to let me try something new, shrimp and oysters.  He ordered, told them it was my 13th birthday and the first time I would see, let alone eat, an oyster.  The guy behind the counter made me my very own cocktail sauce that wouldn’t burn my face off.  They set three oysters in front of me and told me NOT to chew.  Just gulp it down, like I was drinking something.  As soon as it hit my tongue I chewed.

I have eaten exactly one oyster in my entire life.

Stop number two on the food journey…I’m 18, living with my mom, and it’s Christmas Eve.  Mom and I have spent the day drinking some sweet red wine and being silly.  I felt very grown up because all of the drinking I had done up to this point, involved standing in a field and attempting to “be” sober upon arriving home.  This time, I’m being adult and sharing a bottle, perhaps two, with a parental.  Neither of us were driving and well, wine happened.

Went to Steak and Ale (‘member those?) and mom decided to “class me up” and teach me about fancy food, specifically escargot.  It’s a snail…cooked in butter and garlic.  Not too hard, just don’t think about what it is, she says.  Just chew and you’ll be fine, she says.   As soon as I chewed, that stupid butter and garlic exploded.  I remember how quickly it sobered me up, I also remember bending my head below the table and spitting that snail ON THE FLOOR.  I sat up, not sure what else was gonna happen…then mom yelled at me about manners or something, so I picked it up with my napkin then threw my napkin on the floor.

I have eaten, or not, exactly one snail in my entire life.

I will say I’m not the pickiest eater, but I’m not the most adventurous, I have tried snake, gator, quail, and god knows what else when I used to judge chili cook offs, I haven’t tried boar, ostrich, squirrel, anything “exotic,” nor do I plan to, don’t ask.  I can probably go days without meat, I eat very little dairy.  And I am on a daily quest to kick sugar, bread and queso.  I don’t win, but at least I try.  Where’s my participation trophy???

Couple of things…if I can’t pronounce it, I’m not eating it.  if I don’t understand how it’s prepared, I’m not eating it.  if I have to cover it in sauces, I’m not eating it.  if it stinks or is a weird color, I’m not eating it.  I’m pretty simple.

And don’t ask me what I want for dinner, the wife and I have had a near 10 year battle of who gets to make that decision.  It’s a contest of who calls “you decide!” first.  And “I don’t know” and “I don’t care” are not restaurants that deliver, we’ve tried.

I should probably stick to fried cheese and chips.