My birthday falls exactly one week from this drafted post. I’m not sure when this will get published, or if it will get published at all. But, it’s almost 1 am, the kids are fast asleep, the apartment is quiet, and I can smell the rain through our dining room window. There is, what I’m assuming- a drunken neighbor- singing a Marvin Gaye song out front. I peek around the curtain to get a glimpse of his face in the night. There he is, doing some sort of summer rain dance. Even through the laughter, I am leaning towards symbolism in this stranger’s acts. Unbeknownst to him, he’s become a sign of 25 and all that has happened, and the drunken rain dance I am led to do as I close it out.
The neighbors seem to be strangers around here, but oddly enough, very familiar strangers. Some, I have no clue of their birthdays, occupations, or hobbies. But in a moment’s notice, I can tell you what time they walk their dog every day, what shades of pinks and blues their dry cleaning is, and how they like their coffee at our local cafe. With some, we are simply passing conversations. Between the hellos and goodbyes, I’m left with the same responses to their questions of how I’m doing, how the kids are doing, and what’s new in my life. Surely, nothing too different from yesterday when we had this conversation, but still, the conversation goes on. Inevitably so, until a train starts to rumble below-calling me for a meeting somewhere in the city, or River pulling me to finally get on our way. Thus concludes our conversation. Then, there are those who I’ve developed a relationship with. We’ve spent hours talking and attending each other’s birthday parties; they have become an extension of our home.
That’s the thing about New York City and it’s neighbors, it’s a community nevertheless. If anything, it’s made me realize that community, is all about perception. These strangers and friends, they’re community. Even between the day’s ins and outs, they’re there. For some, despite not knowing much, the door is always cracked. The opportunity to grow together and to cultivate a friendship is always there.
As I embark on the last few years of my twenties, and close out 25, I am leaning towards the true words of my dearest friends. 25 was a year of seasonal shifts in every facet of life, coupled with many highs and lows. Like most lives, no year is completely smooth, and without it’s fair share of fits. 25, just felt super eventful. For a lack of a better term-awkward, even. The highs were brief and wonderful, and the lows were drawn out. Honestly, I found it hard to sort through difficult moments with the daily responsibilities of children, a career, and a husband. It became a challenge to get over humps when I actually wasn’t able to truly feel the hump.
I realize now, that my kids did me a favor. They made me look forward when things were tough, and made me celebrate in pure magic when things were amazing. No day was just awful, because I had them to look to. They were constantly the silver lining in all of the good and the not so good. And just like the drunken man doing the rain dance, and the neighbor-strangers and friends, who pass by, it’s all hitting me in a wave of beautiful symbolism.
I close out 25 with a new-found freedom, and a true sense of womanhood. A sense that could not be brought on by child-bearing alone. Something that needed to happen with the addition of vulnerability, a broken heart at times, grace, adventure, and of course, joy and thanks. I leave 25 with so much more understanding and respect, and true love. I leave it feeling deeply in love with my children and my husband, and the fullness that they give me day in and day out.
I close out 25, extremely thankful. Thankful for health, my family, my wonderful mothers, friends, and mentors. I am thankful for community, and the friends and the people in it. The opportunity to grow and the willingness to engage in conversations. Even if they mean nothing more than that brief moment. I’m thankful that community is what I make of it.
I’m eager to put my child bearing years behind me. 26 has no grand adventure for me (that I plan), there’s no hill I need or want to climb or baby I want to have, or career goal I am seeking. I want to simply live and experience. See you 25, you’ve been good!
Now, lets do a summer rain dance and sing some Marvin Gaye!!!