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We are in 2012. It’s early January. The most desolate time of the year. The most solemn. The most quiet. And perfectly bare like the trees I can see out the window.

The new year has just entered our sphere of existence. 2012. I don’t know what to think about it.

Sometimes I start from the formal analysis of the number. In this case, I don’t particularly like the digits 2 and 1, but the number 2012 looks OK. It’s balanced enough. It’s a leap year – I like that. I like that extra day in February. I like the quality of evenness the leap years have.

I’ve never thought much about the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, but a few people have reminded me of it in the past few days. I still don’t have any particular thoughts about it. The political currents in the U.S. and the world scare me more than the end of the Mayan calendar. As for the Mayan calendar, there are many ways to interpret the end of it. However, many political happenings I cannot interpret in any other way but a negative one.

Back to the voice in my head: I am, of course, aware of the fact that I am turning forty this year. It’s one of those birthdays that can’t just slide by you unnoticed. For God’s sake, it’s your fortieth. You just have to make a note of where you are, what you are doing, and with whom. It’s that kind of place in your life.

Yes, you are writing, Yes, you are making some money, Yes, you are married, Yes, you love your husband, Yes, you have this little boy whom you adore, Yes, you could still have another child, but you are just going to say, No, thanks, Yes, you still don’t like wine or coffee, Yes, you like bread a little too much, Yes, you are still pretty thin but your body is changing and you can’t help noticing, Yes, this is the year when you will get introduced to mammograms because it’s still believed mammograms are a good test , right? You still hate the idea of wearing suits although you are almost forty, Yes, you still can’t drive a car (although at thirty you were an OK driver, but that’s a past tense), Yes, you still love long walks, and warm weather, and summer nights, and Yes, you still have difficulty telling those you love they hurt you, Yes, you are still not organized enough (and most likely Never will be)…and you see how long it took you to come to this word Never.

Maybe that’s what turning forty is about. The realization that if you haven’t changed something that you’ve been trying to change for a long time maybe you never will, because, really, you are already forty! And on the other hand, you still have time to do so many things, and learn so many things, because life goes on.

It’s only that the fortieth birthday is this place  on the road, like the view point on your way up the mountain you can’t skip, because it’s marked so clearly that you absolutely have to stop, get out of the car, and look. And you see what you already saw from some other point, but it’s just a little more clear, maybe a little more touching, and you might be able to see even a lot of what’s ahead of you, because you are standing at this special place…That’s the fortieth birthday. This place of clarity and acceptance.

Enjoy 2012. Enjoy your life. (After all, forty is still six months away.)

  1. denise quinn
    January 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    tanja – for me, turning forty was like a sigh of relief. my thirties were a struggle and the struggle was over! truly, everything seemed to just come together. you said it well – “this place of clarity and acceptance”. each decade seems to have its own special qualities. i was so happy to turn forty, and spent my forties feeling rock solid. i wish you rock solid forties filled with clarity and acceptance! xo denise

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