I took it easy and was able to plan the perfect stroll into full fledged adulthood.
Ever since, I have been patiently taking the time to pause and breathe so that I can see the path of my destiny clearly and without obstruction as I finally embrace the responsibility of my age and let go of childish yearnings and whims.
Ha. That is a lie.
I am so not that organized or thoughtful.
My truth is that I ran into my 40s with lights flashing, bells ringing and an "Everybody...look at me, look me! I'm 40. Did you know?"
And then the day after, I woke up with a hangover and crawled from one room to the other like a Golem suffering from vertigo in search of the most precious glass of water and an aspirin to end my suffering.
Yes, this year of 2015 has been quite something.
I've become more Mama Bear and less Party Girl but the question is...
Have I grown up?
A little bit.
I have more wrinkles.
Anything below a joint has become more lined and saggy but I've decided to believe the boyfriend who says he likes me just as I am and honestly, who freaking cares?
The world is being maimed by overconsumption and we are killing each other over ideas.
Literally...folks get more riled up and passionate about an Olympic athlete being labeled a hero for coming out as transgender then they do over the possibility of a racist spoiled brat hotelier being considered the next President of the United States?
I'm trying to grow up and take responsibility for my actions and my words.
I'm learning to bite my tongue anytime I see one of my privileged friends post an "All Lives Matter" rant or "The Universe has a plan for me" meme but I don't know if that's a sign of maturity so much as a reaction of apathy and laziness in a world that seems so draining depending upon the feed of the day.
What have I learned from you?
I've realized that I can't be all things to everyone and putting all my energy into worrying about how I can fulfill the role I think others want from me is exhausting.
To my mother, my son, my boyfriend, my friends, my co-workers, my family and fellow beings...
Tell me your needs but be direct because my creative mind is still easily confused and prone to insecurity. Shoulder shrugs, emotionally ambiguous emojis and "that's interesting" comments still leave me in a state of "what does it all mean?" and it's just too damn much!
Oh, Alysa. Be kinder to everyone but also sit your ass down more.
Oh. My. God...and put down the shiny electronic rectangle with all its little alerts, apps and reminders. It doesn't love you, like you or even care to know you.
Siri isn't your girlfriend and she doesn't actually like your jokes so stop it.
Lastly, say "yes" to hanging out and listening to the people you know and ask the people you don't know more questions or at least say "hi" and "how are you?" and wait for a response.
That's all the wisdom I've come up with.
So far...I'm grateful that I'm drinking less and less often.
I quit and then I binged.
I quit again and for the past month, it's been a beer here and there but it's not a requirement to be social.
I don't find myself liking the taste of beer anymore which is strange because I thought beer was my tongue's fine wine...like I could get paid to be a beer taster because I loved it so much but I guess that's a dream I can let go of.
Now, it's all about me finding gratitude in raising a kind son and dedicating myself to being a really good parent to an awesome but aggravating as all get out child.
He is a brilliant but annoying pain in the ass.
A bit like me.
This year, I have learned that being a good person for myself and others is what success means to me. Waking up and liking myself is much more important then wondering how I can ever advance in a career that isn't about money.
I'm learning not to turn every criticism that my boyfriend may have into an opportunity to slip in the term 'mansplain' and then walk away.
Quite often, he has a point and I can always learn to be better,
I'm a grateful for life but I'm also heartbroken by it.
I want to lead the change I want to see in the world.
I want to have a heart to heart with the very people who think I should be silenced and I want to believe that it's possible for us to have peace between us even if our stories don't make sense to one another.
But, I also know that it's so hard even moment to moment to always have peace within myself.
It's Thanksgiving Eve.
My head hurts, my eyes are tired but I'm grateful for my love, the love of my family and my friends.
I'm happy that I get to wake up tomorrow, put on some hiking gear and go outside and listen to the sounds all around me.
Until next year...I will patiently watch 41 unfold.
I'm totally lying about being patient. I'm probably going to tap at least one finger the whole time and sigh often.
Amen, Hallelujah and bring on the mashed potatoes.