Friday, October 5, 2012
I've always loved the perfect squares. They are numbers that stand out, that mean something, that can be represented visually in so many pretty ways. It is for this reason that I get very excited when I reach a "perfect year." Today I am turning 36 years old. 36 is a perfect square, therefore, in my mind, I can expect big things this year... and, hopefully, they will be awesome.
The "perfect years" I have experienced so far are 1, 4, 9, 16, and 25, and though I can't really recall the first year, the other four were very important to me.
4 Years Old
No, I don't remember being four years old. I'm not that amazing. However, something so incredible happened to me that year that it has altered the course of my entire existence. When I was four years old I got a baby brother. Aside from my husband, this other "boy" in my life is the most important person in my life and I knew it the moment I met him. So, yeah, 4 was pretty awesome.
Like many girls I knew, I grew up a tomboy. Boys were nothing more than peeps to hang with and there was nothing greater to watch on TV than baseball. My team, for all the heartache it gives me, is the New York Mets. During the summer of my ninth year, having another "perfect year", the Mets played baseball in a way I had never seen before (or, sadly, since). Although I had already turned ten by the time the final 1986 World Series game was won, the real baseball joy came from that summer when I was nine.
Junior year of high school. In my mind, there's nothing better than it. There's a certainty in all acts. You know where you fit in your social circles, you're making your plans for college (before you really see how terrifying it is) and you still have another year to fool around. All of these things were true for me, but what makes 16 shine more than all of that wrapped together is SWIMMING. I was 16 years old when I joined my high school's swim team. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself. In the twenty years since, I have always felt a sacred calm whenever I am blessed enough to find myself back in the pool. 16 - I love you forever!
25 Years Old
Holy crap. What can I say about this year? It was on target to be amazing. I was attending Hunter College I was going for my Masters in Pure Mathematics, a dream I'd had ever since a summer program at Rutgers put me side by side with real mathematicians. I was commuting in and out of Manhattan for night classes and loving that I had an excuse to be in "The City". In addition to all of this, my school year as a teacher was starting out fantastically - I was heading in to work super early, I was ahead on all of my grading, I was connecting with my students and loving all of my classes.
But I turned 25 in 2001, a month after my city was rocked. Then, for the rest of the year, my family was rocked. My aunt passed away who I loved and felt I could identify with more than any other adult in my family. Followed by my grandmother, the mother to my father who I had lost when I was twelve, passing away a month later. And, of course, my grandfather passed away months after that - I felt like I lost my father all over again.
25 wasn't a perfect year, but in its unrelenting storms, it chiseled my innocent form into the adult I am today. I don't know how I survived the year, but, I tell you this, it is one of the most memorable of my life. It changed everything. It changed me.
36 Years Old...
What will be the legacy of this year? So far, the odds are in my favor that it is going to be a pretty good year. Even 25 had such potential for being one of the greatest. I have good feeling about this. Hey 36, I put my two chronic conditions in remission for you and I've been writing a lot lately... I think we might have something to work with here!
How do your "perfect years" measure up? Do they stand out amongst the rest? Is there some other pattern in your life - perhaps you are cubic? Hmm... not a lot of years to work with there... Oh well, you let me know!