Impending birthdays don't usually faze me much - mostly I just look forward to cake and attention (or, more likely, nothing much at all). This year, though, it strikes me that I've been a real live grownup for over a decade, and that decade went so startlingly fast. I haven't quite caught up. I don't feel any different than the girl I was ten years ago, not way down deep where who I really am lives. I have accumulated people and responsibilities and experiences in these years but not wisdom, I fear, or the foresight to tell bad choices from good up front. My brain and my heart are just as disconnected as they ever were; my brain does okay with a little prodding in the motivation department, my heart has no sense at all. I decided today that the fleeting nature of time sort of makes sense in terms of the seasons of families. I had my kids in my 20s, and their baby years were tedious to the point of desperation but always busy, always filled with small urgencies. As they get older and more self-sufficient (thank god), I have a moment to breathe and reflect on how little of my life has gone as I'd have hoped and imagined. How unfortunate. I'm guessing that my 30s will be filled with a lot of this discontent, this second-adolescent angst, this raging against pointlessness, and that my 40s will end the angst with new urgencies related to raising teenagers. I have too little imagination to figure out 50s and beyond, but I know when I get there I'll say the same thing, that I don't know where the time went, and then feel another pang of mediocrity at my lack of originality.