Lovelies:

As all of you have been reading for more than a day or two have probably figured out by now, I'm not always the most SECURE person on the planet. In fact, today I was thinking I should do a post about how to deal with my complete lack of esteem when it comes to my looks.

But what I'd like to do instead — if you nice folks don't mind — is to focus on the positive. Because on the occasion of my recent birthday — a birthday which put me WELL into my thirties — it occurred to me that I'm actually much more at peace with my life and myself now (even if I still have a long way to go) than I was in my twenties. Why's that? Lemme tell you...

1) I take better care of myself now. I eat right — no more artificial sweeteners; no more refined sugar; no more white foods (like white bread or white pasta). I also never stay out all night drinking any more; I try to get to bed every night at a reasonable hour. And I always wear plenty of suntan lotion. What's more, I wear my seat belt — in cars and cabs. Plus, I gave up smoking crack!*

2) I know more awesome vocabulary than ever before — and I'm not afraid to use it. It's true. While I'm aware that this fact may make me a part-time geek, I love knowing that there's a word for illicit lover (paramour), a word for someone who's the center of attention (cynosure), a word for that funny top-island-of-bald-with-a-fringe-of-hair-around-the-sides look that monks are known for (tonsure). Having all these beautiful words in my brain is one thing that makes life a little cooler, a little more sparkly and interesting.

3) I have a lot more knowledge in general — and that makes me feel more confident in the world. I can tell you what the French New Wave movement was all about, name some of the most important Abstract Expressionists, and discuss Russian novels. Now, I'm sure the average academic would not be at all impressed with my knowledge...but I can hold my own with the average sophisticated New Yorker. And knowing that I can engage in conversation with a wide variety of people, and almost never feel intimidated? — that's really nice. **Even better, most of what I've learned, I've learned on my own: by going to museums, and reading books, and researching things on the Interweb!**

4) I've lived through enough experiences to know nothing lasts forever. Not the anguish you feel after a bad breakup, or the awful tension between you and your best friend; not even the broken wrist or sprained ankle or back pain. You can even lose the weight you've put on...and overcome some serious relationship troubles (not to mention some mental health issues). I'm not sure time heals every single last wound, but it sure does help with just about all of them.

5) I've had friendships that have lasted for almost twenty years. Which is kind of amazing, isn't it? And they are the kind of thing that makes me certain the world is, all told, not a terrible place; and that there are plenty of good people out there in it.

6) I am finally, finally friends with my parent. As I mentioned to you guys the other day, I really never thought I'd get along with my father...but in the last year or two, in a truly surprising turn of events, we've stopped fighting. We get along. Who knew? It's nice. It's a relief.

Peeps out there, what do you think: 20's better than 30's? What about the 40's? 50's? Beyond? Lay it on me! (Oh, and also--for readers like Augustina and other folks who have not yet reached the big TWO-OH ... things got a lot better for me once I left home and started college. So I think chances are good you that you have something to look forward to!)

xxx

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*I kid. In actual fact, I still smoke it. But I'm sure that with all the organic broccoli I eat and all the pomegranate juice I drink, it evens out. Right?

What Do You Think?