What a gift it is

It’s the middle of the night a few nights before I turn 30 and I’m frantically trying to finish some sort of magnum opus that expounds on the profundity of the moment.

In my millions of drafts of this, I managed to identify the root cause of pain surrounding a friendship that ended years and years ago but is not one I stop thinking about. It’s a big emotional breakthrough, and I should sit still and absorb the moment and be proud of myself for finally making this connection, understanding the deeper meaning behind the pain I’ve shouldered for 12+ years, and instead—

I keep thinking about the other week when I was home in Virginia, driving up Route 28 with the windows down and blasting “Something Soon” by Car Seat Headrest, a song that is eerily similar to how I felt in college and many years after and sometimes still now. I’m thinking of how it felt with the wind in my hair as I sobbed hysterically to the lyrics—

And I remember the millions of times I would crawl into my mom’s arms (literally and metaphorically) and cry until I could cry no more, until I was sweaty with tears and had blown my snot all over whatever she was wearing (good God my poor Mom)—

I think about all of the years I spent crying and having panic attacks and how it was really only five years ago that I started to be a living, functioning person in the world, and how more has happened in these years than I ever could have expected—

It has exhausted me and challenged me but I feel like I’m finally beginning to catch up to my peers.

Over the last year, a million and ten people have told me that my 30s will be my best decade yet but I also remember the millions and tens of people who told me how I’d “flourish” in college and we all know how that worked out—

It scares me, things being good scare me a lot—we call Dad the Upbeat Fatalist because my God the idea of anything going well just doesn’t sit right in our family—

But every time I’m in therapy, my therapist pushes me to ask, “what if it goes RIGHT?”, and I owe it to her but mostly to myself to ask that question this decade.

So now, the night before, as I’m counting down the minutes left before this birthday—which ultimately is just a matter of record keeping more than it is a monumental shift in accomplishment or being—I’m remembering the new mantra that has overtaken so many pages of my journal—

What a gift it is, to not be dead.

And now,

What a gift it is, to be thirty years old.

1 comment

  1. Happy Birthday to you Shannon! I remember how weird it was to turn 30 as well and thinking I wasn’t where I should be compared to everyone else……..when I was doing great and exactly where I was supposed to be. Now I’m twice as old and look back and think why was I so freaked out about 30??? I think you are amazing. I hope you have a great day and year ahead! My best wishes! Mindy

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