Monday, February 21, 2005

for my sister, on the 'BIG THREE OH'

My sister will be turning 30 next week. This marks a turning point in the history of us, two daughters. When we were little, and even into adolescene, we would, from time to time, remark on the three year difference between us and what that would mean as the years passed. When you're 15, I'll be 12, I would say. Yeah! And when I'm 18, you'll be 15, she would reply. The granddaddy of legal age, when she was 21, I would be 18 - full access to anything we pleased. When she was 25, I would be 22! Well, we never, not once, went past 'When I'm 27, you'll be 30!'. That combination seemed so far away that we probably thought it would never actually happen. Well, it has. Next Thursday, my big sister will be 30, and I will be 27 in another two months.
There's a curiosity to aging that has occured to me recently. I've always practiced the time honored tradition of breaking something into smaller parts to make it easier. You have an eight hour work day and youre exhausted? Take a five minute break every hour - itll go faster if you deal with 60 minutes at a time. On the treadmill for half an hour? Change the display to give you one section of the hill at a time - who cant deal with 45 seconds? Quitting smoking? One day at a time.
The curious thing is that we divide the one thing we dont want to all..into neat little segments, which we then celebrate. Why is the anniversary of our birth something we would want to keep counting, so obviously, watching the number grow? Why do we segment into decades with such devotion, while we approach those milestones with fear?
Many people I've talked to over the years mark their thirties as the years they learn to love themselves. What a testament to the complexity of mankind, that it takes THIRTY YEARS to be comfortable with yourself, to start to understand why you are who you are and to come to accept and love that person. I'm not scared of being thirty.
So to my sister, on her birthday, I wish this... Stop counting if only for a while. Look forward to acceptance of yourself. Enjoy, no all out love, that thirty years of you have happened to the world, to me, to our parents. And once in a while, act like we're 5 and 2, or 10 and 7, or 15 and 12, or, god forbid, 21 and 18, but know that we have never been happier.
Happy Birthday!

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