Sunday, October 6, 2013

I’ve Come a Long Way Baby

Who had a birthday?

I had a birthday!

A mini-milestone of sorts, as I like to call it. 45. Yep. 45.

45 years old.

Or young??!

I passed through my 20’s and 30’s with little to no dread. Even 40. Came and went without incident. But 45? Pending anxiety rose deep inside of me, much like acid reflux or some other old-timers condition that is sure to be awaiting me in the very near future. Heartburn, that this, this year, just might be the year to change all of that. That the “happy” would be far removed from the “birthday.” That, perhaps, standing high on the top of the bell-curve of my forties would feel like “it’s all downhill from here Sista.”

I put my closest friends on alert that I wasn't sure if I will want to celebrate this year. Stay tuned girlfriends. But as the day drew closer, spending a night huddled up in my bed, possibly with a cat or two at my side, on the day of my birth sounded like a completely horrible idea. Whew.

Plans were made. The big day arrived and I was in a great and grateful mood. (Hint: “grateful” is a perfect catalyst to “great” things)

So now here I stand, 45, balancing on the peak of this decade. Being able to see clearly where I’ve been and what might be in store for me.

How’s the view from up here you ask? Let me tell you, the view is beautiful.

Your past does not predestine your future.

I look down the curve towards my past, where I've been, what I've done. The memories, while they are vivid in my mind; barely feel like they are my own any longer.

An evening many years ago, there was a single mother standing on one foot, the other foot freshly broken, making a box of Macaroni and Cheese for the gourmet square dinner of the day to feed her two young children. Her source of income threatened as she was a waitress, not enough reserve funds for even a gallon of milk, and an ex-husband who supported the race track or bookie rather than his children. This all equaled a fiscal emergency in that exceptionally meager household.

Over the orange glow from an imitation cheese product, that mother decided to enroll in college.

She did just that.

She put a tiny graduation cap on her rear view mirror to look at everyday for inspiration. “Treasure mapping.” The physical representation of want you want to achieve.

She went to school and worked.

She worked and went to school.

She broke another bone. This time a finger in 3 places.

Many trials and tribulations in those years… but…

On Mother’s Day 2001 she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, in cap and gown, with her two children cheering her on in the audience. Doesn't get more “Kodak Moment” than that.

Of course, that “she” is me. I've come a long way baby. I can now afford dairy products. And then some. ;)

I trudged up and through hard times. Only distant memories now.

At 45, looking at the present and the future, I am lucky to have so many people around me that I care and respect. Warms my heart but certainly is not heartburn.

I proclaimed rather publicly, at work, on Facebook, or to any poor soul that had the misfortune to stroll pass me, that I will dance 45 songs at my celebration that evening in honor of the years I have been blessed with. A tradition I hadn't heard of before, but jumped, all too eagerly, at the idea when it was suggested to me. Thank you Mike Fong!

I recommend everyone start this tradition on their birthday. Pick something FUN.

Milestones – shimilestones.

This day was incredible. I danced my 45 songs and then some. On the 45th song I was in the middle of a circle formed by some of my favorite people in the world. A high point and I kept on dancing.

At 45 years old plus 1 day, I laid in my bed, wondering if anyone got the license plate number of the truck that ran me over? Every muscle, ligament and tendon in my body sore. If your blood can hurt, that, too was aching. Feet, knees, hips screaming at me and my non-stop dancing shoes (which were 5-inch heels of course). Nearly 5 hours of dancing is a lot. Who knew?

The old-timers conditions I so feared had arrived already. One. Day. In.

Bengay or not, I've come a long way baby and I've enjoyed dancing through a lot of it.

Happy Happy Birthday to Me!


  1. Sherri - You rock and roll. Count me inspired, and for that, I'm grateful. Happy year 45 to you and I have no doubt that your next 45 will be doubly as amazing.

  2. Thanks Jim! You've inspired me, as well, you know that. From one "writer" to another "writer," I thank you. Well, from one wanna be to one "real."

    ~Signed - The Wanna Be ;)



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