a pirate looks at 40

i’ve been spending hours each day in a walk-in freezer, straddling two different lab jobs which is marginally better than a lapse in funding. the arctic cod eggs in my care are beginning to hatch, and the spring equinox felt like an auspicious occasion for their entrance. when i emerge each day from 2 degrees celsius, i am grateful to retain the use of my extremities and to be useful and efficient.

at the dragon house, we’re excited about the return of longer daylight hours, so we can take our after work bayou walks. my birthday blossoms are in bloom, it’s the season of trout lilies and trilliums!

as life seasons go, i am ready to fully embrace my 40s. as i embark on a new decade, i would like to write more, complain less about not having time to write, and streamline….

streamline is my word for 2018, by the way, but i never had time in january to write about it. i’ve been doing a terrible job of implementing it in certain areas, but making some headway in others. in the physical realm of streamlining stuff, i have donated lots of books and other unneeded items, and created more physical space, which i’m realizing i value more than even books. my goal is to have my household reflect those values one day, but it may be a work in progress for some time. in the cyber realm i’ve unsubscribed from any email subscriptions i receive and promptly delete; i figured there might be around 10, but i stopped counting at 50 and i do a lot less deleting these days. i kept a small handful of subscriptions i actually click on and read, and this streamlining effort allows time for that.

in a more metaphysical sense, streamlining is a term that makes me think of the ways i spend my life energy, and ways i could conserve it more efficiently. dolphins have been friends of my spirit for more than half my life now, and provide the perfect mascot for becoming more streamlined. some of the definitions of the word focus on how the motion of the fluid around the object is smooth, or the condition of being free from turbulence; however the more i think about it, the less it has to do with the status of the flow of life around me, and more to do with shaping myself in such a way that i present less resistance to the flow.

2017 was such a momentous year, that my only resolution for 2018 was to have a very mellow year, one in which i can take moments to reflect on the year just past. so far, 2018 has been intense in its own ways, with little time for reflection, but with spring, often comes more energy for me, and i anticipate a flurry of wedding and family visit catch-up posts soon. in fact, my intent is to carve out some time for that as a birthday present to myself!

i expected turning 40 to feel like a bigger deal, a little more biblical in proportions. you know, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights… take a walk in the desert for 40 days and nights, hike up mount sinai for 40 days and nights, etc. it turns out that 40 may just be a biblical way of saying, “umpteen,” and not necessarily a numerical value. which seems to more accurately describe how old i feel. a vague, abstract, age that is not quite eleventy-seven and not that much older than my teens, yet with a sense that a lot of years have gone by. and i’ve developed the ability to nap on cue (40 winks?), which i think is a good sign that i’m ready for my 40s.

in other areas of cultural significance, 40 is the highest number ever counted to on sesame street.

a glance back at four decades…

1988: when i turned 10, i had a birthday party with all of my friends. i was allowed to get my hair permed and start growing it out. my favorite color up to that point was pink. i was into art and music. i was counted on for my work around the farm. i had one of my favorite teachers of all time for fifth grade.

1998: when i turned 20, i was on a tiny island called rum cay in the bahamas which i reached via schooner! this was during my sophomore year of college, the spring term of which i spent on a semester-at-sea. the title of this post is also the title of a jimmy buffett song i first heard at that time, half my life ago: “mother mother ocean, i have heard you call; wanted to sail upon your waters since i was three feet tall.”

2008: when i turned 30, i was mama to a beautiful one year old boy. i was looking for jobs on the oregon coast so we could relocate here, and spending the rest of my time being a mama and busing around portland with my little guy, managing to work part time sequencing dolphin dna with him strapped to my back. within months i was moving, with a restraining order in my hand, my baby helping me keep my integrity as my compass bearing and my course set resolutely to onward and upward.


perusing the hieroglyphic dictionary


2018: now i am 40. i am married to the most wonderful man in the world. i’ve grown my son to age eleven and 5’1” tall, and we really like spending time together, currently studying such fascinating subjects as hieroglyphics and hexaflexagons. though i’ve become paradoxically both more cynical and more hopeful as time has passed, the bottom line is that i’m filled with gratitude each night as i climb into bed.


4 comments to a pirate looks at 40

  • Lau

    Napping on cue is quite the skill! I am working on mine as I near 40
    Deep sigh….5’1″ oh so mighty!
    You’re a babe!
    So much LOVE

  • camp boss

    A wonderful recap of birthdays ending with zeros!! They say forty is the hump birthday and i think i kind of agree. You have learned and grown so much to get to forty and now you can “coast” as you continue to enjoy and bloom for the rest of the journey. And napping is a much needed skill for this leg of the ride!

  • Holly Fugate

    Somehow I missed this post. Happy belated birthday. Your are so beautiful, interesting and artistic. You are gift to this world and to me…far, far away. -Holly

  • another beautiful post. i love that first picture (i love them all but that one is my favorite). your writing is incredible. you should definitely make more time for it. your talent with writing and photography make such a perfect blogging connection. i loved everything about this post and look forward to more!

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