On Turning 45

On Turning 45

Given that my grandparents lived into their 90’s, I’d say that my life is roughly half over. I don’t mean that in a negative way, just an honest one.

So, I’ve been thinking:

What did I do during the first half of my life?

  • educated myself
  • started a career
  • published two books
  • saw one of those books take on its own life
  • sat in the dark and watched other people watch my imagination come to life on a stage
  • got married to someone I want to be talking to when I’m 90+
  • taught 107 classes from 1991 to present
  • taking into account that some of those classes had 35 students and some had eight, I’m going to say that I’ve taught about 1750 students thus far in my life
  • at least six of those students have published books
  • changed jobs four times in an effort to have my career close to family
  • severely compromised my long-term earnings by doing so
  • found peace and contentment by doing so
  • got tenure, gave it up (in said effort to move closer to home), got it again
  • moved (interstate) seven times
  • witnessed the death of two of my grandparents
  • bought a house, sold it, bought another one
  • became the parent to two cats and a dog
  • decided, after much soul-searching, not to become a parent myself
  • spent a third of my 45 years with severe jaw, then back pain
  • came to terms with pain
  • came to terms with my bad breaks
  • thanked my lucky fucking stars for my good breaks
  • stopped smoking
  • figured out who I was
  • became exactly who I wanted to be
  • taught myself the tech skills necessary to take a thought in my head—like this thing that I’m writing and that you’re reading—to take things like this and share them easily, quickly, and widely

I’ve been thinking:

What do I want to do during the second half of my life?

  • stay married
  • stay put
  • write some more books
  • get an NEA grant
  • settle into my teaching career, finally
  • become a full professor
  • get my “school life” to a point where it’s not all-consuming so that I can enjoy a fuller life
  • this will be accomplished in my brain (internally) and in real life by making wise choices and seeking out available resources (externally)
  • become more financially secure so that I can feel less anxious all the time
  • travel to every continent
  • be a good aunt to my four nephews and two nieces
  • be a good caregiver to my parents as they get older
  • be a good caregiver to my husband as he gets older
  • be healthy and independent and cogent for as long as possible, and then, be someone who can accept being cared for
  • be interested in others and interesting to others for as long as possible
  • be happy most of the time
  • stop worrying about why some people don’t like me
  • do something, accomplish something before I die that will make a difference and create some sort of legacy (in lieu of having my own children)
  • let go of the grudges I held during the first half of my life
  • accept what’s going to happen to my body, my hair, my skin, my mind
  • accept that people I love are going to die
  • close the door on all my ghosts
  • open the door to everything that’s coming, because I know a lot is coming–both good and bad

Thanks, as always, for reading.



  1. Hilary says:

    Add: visit my friend Hilary as much as possible because we didn’t see enough of each other in the first half of my life.

  2. Amy says:

    –do something, accomplish something before I die that will make a difference and create some sort of legacy (in lieu of having my own children)–

    I’ll say from experience that you’ve done this, at minimum, 107 times. But probably closer to 1750.

    Happy birthday, Cathy!

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