There are two lines forming at the inner points of my eyebrows, ever so slightly creasing down into the bridge of my nose. I've known of their existence for some time now -- I first caught a glimpse of them four years ago, driving into the the sun while checking my rear view mirror. The light play illuminated a shadow I mistook for a smudge of pen only to discover that no, that was my face. At the time I tried not to be horrified at the ripe age of 24, fresh out of college and not yet married or pregnant.
In some ways, that feels like yesterday. In others, a lifetime ago.
Today marks the end of my magical year, my twenty-seventh on this planet in this skin. Somehow my brain never really processed much beyond this point, as if somehow being 27 was all I would ever be -- not in a morbid way, but just that beyond that was inconsequential because 27 would be the year to make all the other years jealous.
Except this year has felt really sort of run of the mill -- there have been ups and downs and sideways and longways and highways and byways and more goodbyes than there were hellos and still at the end of it, I just feel like I'm still treading water, keeping my head above perhaps ever so slightly more than barely.
I can no longer claim mid-to-late, just late, the next big hurdle of a decade increasing it's presence in my periphery with no more malice or impending doom than the thought that I will probably be driving a minivan sooner rather than later. I realize I am old enough now that I feel weird referring to myself as a girl, but not so old that those days feel long behind me. I am equally confused by outsiders disbelief at my status as a mother as I am the fact that my ten year reunion (which I am refusing to attend based mostly on being privy to the planning and I'm sorry, I'm not going to pay $40 to go to a hoedown, thanks) is impending.
I have always felt older than I am, been called an old soul by people twice, thrice my age and have known this to be a good thing, for the most part. But that doesn't change the creeping sadness I feel at the passing of time, the loss of youth I never quite had, the quiet stillness that comes from gaining wisdom and losing innocence because you're simply too old to pretend anymore.
Today will be much like the rest. It's Monday, so there will be errands and chores to accomplish, children to care for and work to be done. I will start to have to think about Kiedis' birthday next week, and I will bless the Leap Year for giving me an extra day to get my shit together. I will hear from my mom and maybe my dad and my brother, and my grandfather in California will call to sing me a happy birthday (as he always has) and I will make a concerted effort to have my phone on and up and within reach as not to miss it as I too often do.
And for my present from my husband, I will be getting my first tattoo in four years -- something small and sentimental and one I'd rather not have the reason I do for getting, but in the circumstances it's all I can do but to carry it with me so I never take for granted these banal things that comprise my life.
The lines in my forehead will inevitably teeter on the brink of absolute existence for a while more I think, most apparent when looking up from one of my several screens or from deep thought or from lack of sleep. As for the rest of this, my 28th year, I have no idea what it holds in store for me, nor do I feel the desire to guess lest I be disappointed or invite more challenges into the already harried fray I call my life.
But I will admit I had thought this past year would be more spectacular, just by its very existence, and I am sad to see it go with such little fanfair or celebration. More just reverence, I guess, for everything I never thought I'd have and everything I never thought I'd lose.
So today is my birthday.
Nothing big, nothing special, just a day I felt worth marking somehow.