About six weeks ago, I was at work talking with colleagues. I was talking about my upcoming holiday trip back home to Texas and how I’d have my 33rd birthday while there. One of the attorneys, an older lady who I’ve worked with for some time now, remarked that she had just read that “33” was supposed to be the best year of our lives. It’s when we are in the best health, with an optimum balance of vitality and perspective, she explained. “Great,” I said, “it’s about time!”
Like a touchstone, I’ve carried that comment with me and pondered it often. For me, that comment, once conceived, had the immediate and powerful potential to spring into one of two distinct animals. It would either become the mantra I’d been seeking in my soul, giving expression to the deep place of knowledge whispering to me that in fact it was time- time for me and my voice. Or, it would, with years of history to nourish it, grow into the familiar beast of anxiety and develop a plan to convince me that “33” would only be the “best year,” if I did everything “right.” Right to be measured of course, by the objective, powerful, ubiquitous, (and yet amorphous) standard of others.
The thing is I’ve had enough of the others. They exhaust me. They deplete me and my soul and leave only shadows as a source of inspiration. So for me, 33 isn’t about running a marathon, going sailing, getting into the best physical shape of my life, proving myself at work, or, even, “completing” our family with another child. Others might say, objectively, that any and all of these things could make for a perfect 33rd year. In fact, the best year.
But so far, I’ve started my 33rd year, not by asking for a challenge at work, but to be rotated out of a high profile, incredibly intense unit in our office. I asked for a break. This surprised even me. I never ask for breaks. Breaks make it tough to the best, others would say. Yet, this break felt so good, so right, that I then, a week later, asked be taken off the career-building, high-profile case I was assigned to. This was really nuts. Others started asking if I was okay, and if I was leaving the office. And from a place of quiet power, I’ve been explaining that no, I’m not leaving, and yes, I’m perfectly okay, great in fact.
I’ve read before that it’s all about the dog you feed. The dog of anxiety is a gluttonous animal. I’d made her so fat with my energy and thoughts that she couldn’t move. Yet she wanted more- so much in fact, that she was trying to consume me. It was time. So, with admitted tentativeness, I’m starting this year feeding a different animal. I’m testing what it feels like to let the whispers sing and shout.
The other day, I was at work, in my new position. An attorney who I’ve worked with for some time told me that he was happy to see I’d moved. “It was time,” he said. He wagged his finger at me and stated, “This. This is Cara. Those cases- you weren’t yourself.” I just smiled and looked him in the eye with a deep acknowledgement of all he’d said. And now, I can’t say for sure if this is going to be the best year of my life, but I’m not worried about that. For me, for now, 33 just feels the most true. And, it is about time.
Cara is a displaced Texan who is a full time prosecutor for the long arm of the law. It is law and order on the home front too, as she and her police Lieutenant husband proudly parent a bright, sweet little princess sassy pants, 3 year old Hope. When she is not making sweet tea for Hope or teaching her how to properly apply eyeshadow, Cara enjoys quilting, reading mystery novels and playing with Addie and Brandon, her dogs.