Many years ago (decades now, if I’m being honest), I would begin a birthday countdown not long after Christmas. “Forty days until my birthday!” I’d announce to anyone who’d listen. It wasn’t that I expected a big to-do, just that I have always loved this annual celebration of, well, me.
At some point, I started an annual tradition of writing a blog post on my birthday. I’d long since given up on resolutions, but my birthday seemed like a good time to reflect on where I’d been and where I thought I was going. I even managed to write during some pretty difficult years, usually drafting something weeks ahead of my birthday so it would be ready on the day. (I’m nothing if not a planner.) I’d study the meaning of numbers, trying to figure out some random factoid I could pretend was significant. (Forty-eight, for instance, is a “semiperfect” number. It’s one third of a gross. And, “according to the Mishnah, Torah wisdom is acquired via 48 ways.” In case you’re here just for the random factoids.)
But not this year.
It’s now 12:37am on February 26th, the day after my birthday, and I’m just now putting words to virtual paper. I’ve been, take your pick—distracted, distressed, depressed… I’m not even sure. The State of the World isn’t particularly uplifting, and this perpetually underemployed writer is closer to “just barely making it” than she’d ever let on, but I don’t think that alone captures why it hadn’t even occurred to me to write my annual birthday post until midday on the 25th.
I told the boyfriend I wanted to pretend my birthday was next week, since I felt burdened by deadlines this week, but I had budgeted time into my schedule to go to my regular Tuesday knit night. My birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, so it sort of felt like destiny. It maybe seemed a little strange to him that I wanted to go off and do something without him on my “special” day, but he was perfectly lovely about it. And I couldn’t imagine spending a Tuesday night anywhere else, so I went.
And then, a couple hours later, I was surrounded by a dozen women I have come to know and love over the past few years. Every week (or damn near every week), we talk about ridiculous memes and ads we can’t explain on Instagram. We talk about kids, partners, mothers, fathers, and grandparents. We mourn together. We celebrate one another. We debate politics. We discuss local events. We buy (and eat) Girl Scout Cookies. We plan get-togethers to share soup and yarn.
And yeah, we knit. Sometimes.
Above all, we support one another. We are there for all the good and bad times, ready and willing to step in to offer help or just a kind word. I am deeply and profoundly grateful for this army of incredible women I have come to know through knitting, and I can’t imagine a better place to have spent my 48th birthday.
Do I still feel distracted, distressed, depressed…? Yeah, I do. And that doesn’t halt me in my tracks like it used to. Every Tuesday night, I’m reminded what a powerful force we can be when we’re together. Every Tuesday night, I feel like we’re unstoppable. Every Tuesday, I believe we can change the world.
(How convenient it is, then, that election day is always on a Tuesday.)
Whatever else you believe, let me offer you this piece of wisdom from this side of 48: Always make time to spend with people who make you feel invincible.
And, if you’re not sure who that might be, allow me to suggest you find a knitting group. We turn string into fabric with a flick of the wrist.
We’re fucking magic.