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You know, years ago I drove down a two-lane country road and as I looked at the clapboard look-alike houses all lined up one beside the other in what looked for all the world like a cow pasture, with short, straight driveways connecting each house to the road leading out of town, I said “I want to go knock on the front door of each of those houses and ask the woman who answers, ‘Did your life turn out the way you wanted it to? If not, what are you going to do about it?'” Today I stand before you as that woman. And as that woman, too. I am the woman knocking, and I am the woman answering. I am the woman on both sides of the door.

It’s not my biological clock I hear ticking – at least not THAT biological clock, but the biological clock that leads tick by tock to my demise. To the end of this life as I know it. Has my life turned out the way I’d hoped it would? Well, let me answer this way: there are things I’d like to be different about my life, and if I’ve learned anything in all these decades, it’s that if I want things to be different, I am the go-to girl to make it happen.

Let’s start with the things I like about my life, the things that just need regular expressed appreciation . . .

My husband, my daughter, my son, my dog. They stay. Period. (Though I am taking my maiden name back.) (I kinda’ wanted to keep it all along cause it’s always wrinkled me being treated like I’m some object, some knapsack to be flung from one family to another.) (But you’re right: that’s another post entirely.)

And I love living here on the waterfall, so I’m not moving. Well, not like that anyway. See one thing in the Dissatisfaction Column is my size, my weight. And I could go on a gluten-free diet, I could purge my plate of everything I love to eat, but the thing is: I’m a picky, picky, picky eater, and I adore Southern food. And if the clock is ticking, I see no reason to make myself miserable. Maybe when I start moving more I’ll feel so much better that I’ll want to do something drastic and so thoroughly unlike me, but to start, I’ll just take more walks and count the days till January when the new community fitness center opens in town.

Besides that, I want . . .

  • to unshackle my tongue so I never have to feel validated (or annoyed) by seeing other people say what I wanted to say but was too afraid to.
  • to retire the parade of qualifiers and disclaimers I usually tack onto every sentence and to be bold enough to stop you if you start that nonsense.
  • to be the kind of person you can feel comfortable and safe with.
  • to turn the tear ducts loose.
  • to create with abandon and glee.
  • to forego the practice of apologizing for myself.
  • to get reacquainted with the earth, maybe sometimes through my bare feet.
  • to unlearn worrying about whether you’ll like me or not.
  • to forget how to justify and explain everything I think, feel, and do.
  • to regain personal space, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
  • to get by with less stuff and more space.
  • to laugh and enkindle laughter.
  • to live poetically.
  • to make everybody I come in contact with, including the woman in the mirror, feel like the rare and special and extraordinary person they . . . we . . . are.

Or, as I said to my friend Angela just a few days ago: I want to fling-it from the f##k-it line.

How’s that for starters?