In March, while I was on a book tour, I was also on a blog tour. Random House set it up with the lovely Dorothy, who had me contributing guest essays at blogs around the web.
But it all went too fast. I was racing from town to town, blog to blog. And I promised myself I’d do a best-of later, when I could savor it more.
So here is a favorite post from the tour. It originally appeared at In Bed With Books.
March 11, 2009
The Lives We Hoped For
I just had my birthday. I turned 37, and now I am old. Boom. Just like that.
I knew it was coming: 37. Though I wasn’t thinking about it too much—or even seeing it as a Big Birthday, the way 40 will be. It was just another birthday, and, like with many things in life—a due date, say, or a book coming out—it snuck up on me.
I’ve always been struck at how not-at-all different you are when your birthday finally arrives after all that buildup. It’s almost a letdown. You wake up, and you’re still just you. Same old, same old.
But this year, washing my face just before I woke my kids for school, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw wrinkles. Deep, significant, there-to-stay wrinkles. And I swear they weren’t there the night before.
And so it was really lucky for me that I happen to be a big fan of wrinkles. I’ve even joined the Bring Back Wrinkles group on Facebook.
I guess the downside of wrinkles is that they remind you you’re not young anymore. But guess what? I already knew that.
And I’m not even sure that I would want to be young again, frankly. As fun as it was.
I’m on a book tour this week, and one of my stops has taken me to a little town north of Seattle where one of my best friends from college lives. Last time I saw her was at my wedding. Nine years ago.
She’s hanging out with me right now at a hotel room, working on her computer just like I am working on mine. We both have a lot going on, and it’s pretty quiet in here, except for the typing. But every few minutes, one of us will pipe up and say, “Remember when we got obsessed with dominos and couldn’t stop playing?” Or, “Remember when we found that train-car diner in Maine?” Or “Remember that time we played that drinking game watching When Harry Met Sally?”
A lot has changed since then: I’ve had two children and written two books. She’s opened the restaurant she always dreamed of. We are, in fact, living exactly the lives we hoped for.
And so I’m not going to complain about the wrinkles. Or that I’m not twenty-two anymore. Or that life carries you away from people and places you loved. Or that the joys of living have to be spaced out over time. You can’t have everything all at once. That’s what memories are for. And also, gratitude: You loved them once. You really did love them. And that just has to be enough.