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Dear readers, it’s almost my birthday. Again.  Can you believe how this last year has flown by? As some of you may remember, I was fortunate enough to have a 2nd year at being “45” (you can read about that here). But after two years, it’s time to move on to 46. I’ve been dreading it because it seems so much closer to the ominous 5-0. Blech– not looking forward to that one. That means I must squeeze the joy and happiness out of the remainder of my 40’s while I can.

I don’t know if I feel any great sense of accomplishment over this past year, but I did make some bigger and harder decisions, and if nothing else there has been personal growth.

In January I had to put two beloved dogs to sleep. Not a day has passed where I don’t think of them, though now its easier to talk about how amazing they were. Pepper’s picture sits on my desk and is very comforting on my rougher days.  Since then I have met a few people who have older dogs with health issues who absolutely will not put them down and I feel my heart ache for their pain even as I pray for them to have strength. Its not an easy choice, but I still think its selfish to let an animal suffer because we don’t want to face the world without them. They love us unconditionally and we must do the same.

Before the weather turned too warm, my mom came to visit from Oregon. It was a whirlwind visit, as usual, but so good to see her. Its so great to see how many friends she still has here that all vie for her attention when she’s in town. I realize I want to be that loved and that funny when I’m her age.

Somewhere around June I ended a year-long relationship. It hurt like hell. Being older and wiser doesn’t make heartbreak and betrayal hurt any less.

In July my son moved out of state to live with his dad. This was a case of picking my battles. It hurt to send him off, but I couldn’t keep hounding him for, well, everything. (What is it with boys not bathing?!) Thankfully I have an excellent relationship with my ex, so there wasn’t any custody drama or anything like that. My son is doing well in his new school and has a new bunch of friends and for that I am grateful.

In August I cut my hair really short. Something I said I wouldn’t do again. Amazingly I love it!

Finally there is the biggest change of the year, I started a new job this week. I’m relieved to be out of that last hell, but this new gig isn’t really eliciting any enthusiasm yet. The pay is considerably more, but then so is the commute. But my boss is much easier to get along with, and surprisingly we have the same birthday! Maybe that’s why I don’t see his tendency to be a smart ass as a problem – because I understand it too well. It’s the new opportunity I’ve wanted for the last 2 years – I will make the most of it.

This is the last weekend before my birthday. Saturday is the new company picnic at the zoo, so my daughter and I will be out there enjoying festivities and seeing the giraffes – yes at 20 she is excited to see giraffes of all things. Then Sunday we are volunteering at the Air Show. My daughter has never been and I haven’t been in years so that will be a full day. The bonus is I get to use the “but its my birthday” excuse all weekend so THAT will be fun! I’m turning 46 – I take my cheap thrills where I can get them.

Enough of the retrospect. The next year-long adventure starts in a matter of days. I’m kicking it off with two adventures…first, there is a weekend getaway to visit my son and ex in Iowa. I know, it’s not epic, but it’s a place I’ve never been to and I really miss my son. The second is guitar lessons – electric guitar at that. Those of you who know me are re-reading that statement. I fully understand, but its different and it was either that or hang-gliding. Who knows, maybe I’ll fit that into this year’s adventures too.