Birthday cake with lit candles

My 36th Birthday Inventory

I turned 36 this week and am taking stock. Here’s what’s going well–and not so well–in my life.

Good things:

Image of a smiling building

  1. I have a boyfriend who is devoted to me, willing to put up with my sh@t, gives me a bear hug when I’m feeling hopeless, makes me laugh, and enjoys taking rambling walks and bike rides with me.
  2. A freakin’ adorable, silly cat with personality to burn that I’ve known since the moment she popped out of her mom’s uterus.
  3. A steady job.
  4. Another part-time job teaching at a community college.
  5. Loved ones near by with homes I could sleep in if it ever came to that.
  6. Friends.
  7. Good health.
  8. The ability to ride my bike safely several times a week.
  9. The ability to meditate.
  10. Having access to affordable healthcare.
  11. Being in better shape than I was as a teenager.

Bad things:

Image of a building crying

  1. A freakin’ adorable, silly cat who meows and steps all over me in the middle of the night.
  2. A steady job that pays me $4 below the proposed minimum wage and doesn’t offer any benefits.
  3. An extremely part-time job teaching at a community college that requires me to sign class contracts months in advance, but often cancels my classes with only a week’s notice.
  4. A lot of unanswered resumes and job applications. Rejections following the few job interviews I’ve gotten.
  5. Loved ones with psychological and substance-abuse problems, who can be painful to be around.
  6. Friends who I often isolate myself from because I work in customer service and get burned-out on social interaction.
  7. Knowing how to meditate, but still not doing it. Then beating myself up because of it.
  8. Being self-destructive and self-pitying (see #8, for example).
  9. Having affordable healthcare that might be canceled any given month depending on my income.
  10. A good sprouting of white hair. Yes, bone white hair. Sometimes I dye it, but mostly I just let it sprout.

It looks like the good equals the bad. In that case, let me repeat a favorite aphorism:

At the darkest hour, you can either light a candle or curse the darkness.



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