June 1976
September 25, 2012

The Final Year Before Forty

Yes, folks, today is my 39th birthday! I wear it proudly because, well, what other choice do you have? If you’re not aging, you’re either a freak of nature, a vampire or…six feet under.

This past year, I bought my first house (turns out that having a mortgage feels very adult), attended the coolest conference on earth, rediscovered San Francisco, read a life-changing book, and hit the most grueling yet rewarding project deadline at work. And that’s just off the top of my head.

Since I have no super pithy insights for you as I stand one year away from the big Four-O, I’ve opted instead to share some personal photos (I know, so cliché).

Here I am at about age three, standing in a field with my trusty camera (hey, it’s vintage now). My mom would say, “This little girl is not the same person as my grown daughter. It’s not possible!”

It was autumn. It must have been chilly. I look uncertain and concerned.

Fast-forward a decade to my 8th grade graduation ceremony, and in case you were wondering, yes, I’m sporting a satin ribbon in my hair.

I remember this white frilly dress with its sailor collar and drop waist. Didn’t 8th grade look very innocent back then?

Now zoom ahead another twenty years to the summer of 2005. I was training for my first marathon, but that dream would have to wait a while longer.

My early-30s, post-run face was a bit rounder and filled out.

And two days ago, Andrew took these shots of me before and after my last run as a 38-year-old.

Heading out the patio door. As SportsCenter’s Stuart Scott might say, “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose!”

I ended the six-mile run by hoofing up a monster hill in my neighborhood. It had to be done.

My one parting thought is this: if life is like a marathon, then I’m approaching the midpoint (if I should be so lucky to cross the finish line at eighty or beyond). The road isn’t always easy, and it’s sometimes a tortuous slog. But you can’t give up because the clock keeps ticking. You also find unexpected stretches where you can coast, where everything somehow clicks together. It evens out in the end.

I’m a late bloomer in many ways but prefer to think of myself as having a strong, second-half kick.

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Update on September 26, 2012: Andrew took me out to dinner but for dessert, he had stopped at a local bakery to buy me a cupcake (isn’t he cute?). Although I was too full to eat it that evening, it was very tasty the next day.

Birthday cupcake in my fridge.