2010–2023 Writings
by Michelle Margaret Fajkus

cupcake with sparkler
Photo by Genaro Servín on Pexels.com

I’m turning 39 at the end of the month.

39 is not that old. 39 is ancient. It’s all a matter of perspective.

For whatever reason, I clearly remember my dad’s 39th birthday. I remember the yellow light in the kitchen, the German Chocolate cake my mom baked from scratch, my brother and sister and parents gathered around the table, and me feeling melancholy, worried, sad about the fact that my dad was “so old”!

Now I’m turning 39 and we all know what number comes after that. The dreaded forty. And just ten years later, fifty!? It’s true, life is short.

More anniversaries. In August, I will officially become one of those people who has lived abroad for ten years. A decade! That seems like an impossibly long time. Yet many of my friends have lived here for two or even three decades.

My first three years here, when I was living and teaching at the American School in the capital city of Guatemala, seem like another lifetime. As do my chapters in Austin, London, California, Pana. I feel like a cat on her seventh life.

This current chapter, living in the woods with three cats, a vagabond dog, a tree-planting husband and a six-year-old daughter, has lasted four years so far. The first black cat is currently asleep on my lap. Oscar has been patient and open-minded in accepting the other members of the family: human, canine and feline, one by one.

I have a lot of tasks to work on today, and just about any given day. Such is the life of the freelancer. I am grateful for the work. I typically enjoy and earn a good income from the writing, editing and translation projects. I am learning to set better boundaries around my work hours, to unplug and reconnect with nature and the reality of the present moment “in real life” more. I am choosing, right now for example, to write a quick, personal blog post this morning instead of jumping into my tasks for clients.

The choices I have made in my life have led me to be sitting in a small wooden cabin overlooking a pristine lake, starting my day with a cup of tea and a black cat on my lap. A meditation on birdsong. A quiet moment on the balcony. The silence between the sounds.

My life is not stress free, and yesterday I had a mild headache all day for no apparent reason. The reason, although unapparent, had to be something. Work. Mental overload. Too much screen time. I barely worked yesterday.  I took a nap in the afternoon and then dropped my daughter off for a “playshop” and went and played with my friend. We giggled and colored. We ate gelato as it began to rain. Jade and I shared a cone with three scoops: passion fruit/maracuya, pistachio, strawberry.

I am grateful for a clear and not-aching head this morning. I am grateful for all the lessons of my life, and my thirties. I am looking forward to becoming older, wiser, fitter, happier and more productive in my forties.

Not “over the hill”. Yet I realize that death is approaching, every day, every year, the older we get the closer it comes. I’d like to think I am not afraid to die. I am glad to see death as a transformation to another realm, a shift of energy, a return to the light, yet I am attached to life and want to keep living it.

Following my heart. Breathing and inspiring others. Choosing love and wisdom.

Viva la vida!

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