muddling through

I remember being worried about turning thirty and then finding it liberating once I passed that milestone and still felt young. I had some of the best years of my life, in fact, from 30-32.

I feel myself once again turning a similar corner. I’ve passed through the worst years of realizing I won’t be having kids and may never get married and am feeling a blossoming of enthusiasm for life again. I’m still facing a number of challenges, but perhaps I’m on the upswing from the lowest-point of the U-shaped curve of happiness that age 44 is purported to be.

At the very least I feel my “muddling through” is par for the course in anyone’s life:

When I was pretending to be the easy-breezy single gal, I was buying in to the general cultural perception that single people occupy some developmental netherworld between goofy teenagers and sober marrieds. But as I cooked my brother dinner or grilled the urgent care nurse about his red-blood cell count, I noticed a peculiar sensation: self-respect. This was difficult, and while it would have been easier if we’d had partners, we were still managing.

Even the small stuff, I realized, wasn’t so small. One night, while sitting on Mark’s couch watching The Simpsons with him, I had a funny epiphany: I was all I ever needed to be. I didn’t have to be pretty or interesting or delighted with my life. I just needed to get the KitKats, to bring movies, to be a good sister.

Mark got better. “Cured,” the doctor said. We both went back to our regular lives and ordinary worries. But I cut the glamour-girl act. I wasn’t glamorous and I wasn’t always happy. I was an ordinary woman, muddling through, and that was more than enough.