My 40th Birthday (a poem)

An ode to my body on my 40th birthday. Read more at illuminatewriting.com

Words by Laci Hoyt

For me, the New Year starts

    in August

when the heat outside

    makes mirages on the pavement,

and there's an abundance of ripe food on the table

    fresh from the garden.


This year

    will mark the 40th trip I've taken

         around our sun.

And I'll be happy to be one year older.


But while everyone else

         plans out their dream trips

         and special events,

I am stuck wondering

    if I'll even be well

         when the day comes around.


Maybe it is understandable,

    the slight pangs of jealousy I feel

         whenever the others

         talk about their own birthday plans.

But even if it is understandable,

    that doesn't make it any easier

          to feel.


I am not jealous

    because I wish to travel

    or do something grand.

The jealousy is more because

    my life doesn't look the way I planned.


The jealousy is because

    I spend my life adjusting my expectations

         to fit a life I didn't ask for.

Every plan

    nothing more than a mirage

         on the horizon.


Still, I will go on

    subduing my longings

         just as I have

              for the past 7 years.

And I will make the best

    of my New Year,

         whatever that day brings.


But for right now,

    whenever someone else

         turns 40,

I'll be making space for myself

    to grieve

         everything I've lost

         and missed out on

         and had to give up

              while I find my way back

              to acceptance.


Editor's Note: As part of the illuminate monthly writing membership, our writers have the opportunity to get their writing featured on our blog. Click here to find out more and sign up. We hope you enjoyed this selected piece. Congratulations, Laci!


About the Author:

Laci lives in a little town in upstate NY with her husband and two teenagers. She writes about living with chronic illness, love and relationships, and any other thing she can’t get out of her head. When she isn’t writing she can be found with knitting needles and yarn or hunched over the sewing machine making all the things. Learn more here.