I rang in my 30s–or should I say I sang in my 30s–at a north Dallas-area mall in an “up and coming” suburb, by belting out contemporary Disney tunes–specifically “Arabian Nights”, high on a dark chocolate shake and full of good mood food from The Cheesecake Factory, after which I loudly proclaimed that my 30s were going to rock. Direct quote, that.
My celebration of the turn of another decade (bear with me, fellow math geeks) was not nearly so boisterous, animated, or lively. In fact, it was probably one of the quietest, most subdued birthdays I’ve ever had. Which has nothing to do with the fact that I was turning 40 instead of 30, btw; as my younger sister said, “you’re the youngest 40-year-old I know”. And she knows a lot of people older than she.
The quieter atmosphere didn’t exactly rock the free world, but it did give me a chance to do something equally important: reflect.
I started my previous decade on a brief break from med school. Being born over Labor Day weekend does have its perks (grin). And yes, I was actually at the mall, amongst the Sunday afternoon-evening crowds, belting out “Arabian Nights”. I think my next song was “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid. For the sake of what little dignity I had left, I had to remain within the comfortable and limited confines of my mediocre vocal range lol.
About a year later, when I was almost 31, I out that not only do I have hearing loss but that it’s nerve damage-related. An audiogram at a hearing clinic spelled out all I wanted to know and more, in unforgiving detail. This had begun with the random question to my partner: “Do I ask you to repeat stuff to me very often?”, fueled by the vague notion that this might be A Thing, and confirmed by the too-quick and too-definitive response: “Yes.” Well hell.
My parents had their near-fatal car wreck. My mom had a near-death experience–the Go Toward the Light kind–and both parents now have brain damage; although not severe, it is noticeable. Cue the first type of PTSD.
I had been falling apart physically, and I started to get a precious handful of those questions answered. The first revelation was that I am gluten intolerant. It goes further than that, though, as I’ll explain later.
I retired my massage therapy practice, and we started our integrative medicine/wellness practice together. Cue the second type of PTSD.
I got my first set of hearing aids. At age 33.
Some health issues were demystified: I found out that the gluten issue was actually Celiac Disease–the kind that attacks not the intestines but the brain and nerves. I found out that I had pinworms. I found out that there’s autoimmune activity on many body parts, including (but not limited to) the thyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands, and cerebellum.
I got my amateur (ham) radio license (!).
I found out that the mysterious weight gain and difficulty in the ladies room was actually due to monstrous uterine fibroids. A little over a year after that discovery, I had a hysterectomy, the prep process of which gave me interesting insight into what menopause will feel like. I was approaching 35 at that time; I spent my 35th birthday in the early stages of surgery recovery. But hey–I took a whole month off work! 😉
During said recovery, an existing friendship blossomed to heights I’d never imagined. We’ve seen each other through a lot, especially over the past few years, and we’ve taken road trips galore together, traversing all over the Texas Hill Country, across Louisiana, dipping into Mexico, and so on.
We’re now in our 8th year of practice, which has ebbed and flowed, grown and shrunk, over the years, mostly expanded. Like most marriages, ours has been up and down. These days, it’s mostly up.
I’ve been in and out of therapy.
Vanessa, our young, portly, adorable black and white girl-cat, came to bless us. (I’ll publish a post fairly soon about her!)
I even joined the world of texting! I sent my first text in 2014, at age 36.5.
I was also about 36 or so when I finally figured out my sexual orientation: I found out that I’m asexual and bi-romantic. That answered a lot of questions!
I also realized I’m Pantheist/Pagan. With Ancient Egyptian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Celtic Pagan/Wiccan flavors, all swirled together like a Dairy Queen Blizzard.
I began shedding old tapes, old BS, old roles, old relationships, toxic people, oversensitive attitudes (along with people with them). I decided that I didn’t have the time nor the patience for game-playing, one-upmanship, contesting, excessive political correctness, or psychological warfare. I wasn’t going to be a victim, nor a subordinate, nor inferior, nor intimidated. Period. I decided it was cool to be nerdy and geeky, and screw ’em if they couldn’t handle my difference, my introversion, my unconventionality, my Aspie-ness, or my non-binarism. I just commit to doing my best, and in turn, my best will have to do.
Within the past year and a half, I’ve found out that I have Asperger’s, EDS, and Non-24. Shortly after that, I started The Silent Wave blog and joined Twitter; there, I found an incredible community of people like me, and I’ve made lots of new friends! I did have to break ties with a few dozen, leaving a lot left over, of higher quality and closeness. Squee! ❤
I finally finished up a coveted and difficult certification. It took almost 4 years from beginning to end.
I’m not sure what I see ahead in my 40s. In a way, I look forward to them, and in a way, I don’t. I look forward to the wisdom I’ll gain, but probably not the process of gaining it. I look forward to shedding more bullshit, but not so much the events that usually necessitate that kind of shedding. I look forward to gathering more experience in practice, without having my youthful appearance work against me; on the other hand, I’ll probably have to work harder at maintaining a youthful appearance. I look forward to starting and completing my Masters degree and other major projects, more travel, greater insight, and so on. I hope we end up being able to buy a house.
After all this time, we still have the same truck. Murphy, our elderly Maine Coon, is still with us, happy and mouthy. I’m still on the P2P filesharing program that I mention every couple of years or so. I remain prescription medication-free. Bouts of depression come and go, mostly absent. Money waxes and wanes, mostly broke. But we live in a prettier apartment complex now, and (zillions of) thanks to a wonderful amazing friend, we have a second vehicle for the first time ever.
It’s been an interesting, incredible decade; I’m curious to see what this next one brings!