Life at 32

March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

The thing about birthdays is they sneak up on you every year. Two years ago I was sitting down writing about turning 30. Two years. My last birthday post was about how much can change in ten years, between decade birthdays, and now when I look at all that has happened over the last two years… it’s like cordial concentrate; the same amount of shit packed into an even smaller amount of space.

Two years ago I came to write about the difference between my near-fiancee at 20 and my then-husband at 30. Today I write about my young Italian lover at 32 – and what a joy it is to share this with him.

That he is unquestionably handsome is a given. He has the dark black curls and smooth olive skin of someone born and raised on a Mediterranean island. His fingers and hips are slender; his tongue and his lips are plump, both as they should be. His laughter is deep and throaty and tumbles out through his mouth like rich whisky falling over ice. His skin is like an untouched desert of the finest caramel-coloured sand. He is loyal, adoring and kindhearted, with flashes of cheek and mischief, and glimpses of some kind of inner grit – perhaps a dark combination of stubbornness, pride, determination and a hint of selfishness. I am calm when I am ensconced in his arms, nothing else matters. And my body quietens whenever our eyes meet, though his gaze is only ever momentary; there is fear holding him back from falling into my eyes the way I fall into his. He is generous with his kisses and I melt when his tongue battles with mine, his hand wrapped around my jaw or my throat.

He does not trust me fully, nor himself. For all his beauty, he is uncertain; generous yet guarded, charismatic yet cautious. My fierce heart wants to protect him from all the hurts of life, all its injustices and mistruths and ugliness for he deserves only love, truth and beauty (that may be a line from Moulin Rouge). I would give him the world in return for his glass heart and care for it like my own, as if it were a piece of my own body. Slowly slowly, he says.

The world turns and I find a new life. At 32, I have become that which I have always feared – The Single Woman In Her Thirties. I’ve always considered them a frightful breed – incessantly hunting for their future husband and father of their future children, becoming more desperate as the months and years tick by. One of the best parts of being married was avoiding the pitfalls of single life (terrible reason to stay married, by the way). Though marriage was never something that I truly wanted; I fought against it the whole way, capitulating only to appease my family and my partner. The ending of my marriage, like many things in my life, was dramatic and painful, leaving bruises inside and out. But as always I have come out fighting, full of independent spirit and renewed resolve, while some small part of me sticks my middle finger up and yells at the Universe that I told them it wasn’t going to work! Her wild heart has not yet been tamed.

In the place of comfortable married life – because it was comfortable, that much is certain – has come new forms of love. New love for new friends – these incredible, marvellous people who have walked into my life either for some hidden purpose or by sheer luck. I sound like a broken record but I thank the Universe almost daily for bringing me so many beautiful souls, the fresh perspectives they provide me with and their friendship that they honour me with. Renewed love for old friends – where some friendships from a marriage are lost by natural selection (they are his friends, they were hers), there is a huge amount of joy in rediscovering old friends with whom you have so much history. And most importantly a reconnection to my love for life – a restored appetite and hunger to soak up every experience, every moment, every tear and laugh and wound. My heart is full, in the best way.

And though it has undoubtedly come at a cost, if this is where life lands me at 32, I can only be grateful and gracious.

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