Guatemala, Living from the Heart, Michelle's Memoir

Ode to My Thirties

I’m entering the last week of my thirties. This decade of my life has been lived entirely in Guatemala and charmed with abundant almost-annual international travels. Panama, El Salvador, Texas, New York, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, British Columbia, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia.

My thirties have been most marked by the marvels of motherhood and vicissitudes of long-term partnership. The marriage of body, mind and heart. Witnessing my precious daughter grow and blossom into the charming, clever, obstinate child she is today. Like mother like father like daughter.

Career changes, from school teaching to retreat center/hotel management to freelance writing, editing and translation. So many dramas, difficulties and details glossed over there in that single sentence. Suffice to say: cute as children are, dreamy as the retreat center was, I am happiest working exclusively with words.

The tragic loss of my beloved canine amiga and the gradual accrual of a fur family of three cool cats and two ridiculous dogs.

Slow motion yet sudden movement, from the giant pulsating dirty city to the small pulsating dirty town to this precious wooded hillside upon which I perch and listen to the buzz of cicadas and hummingbirds, the reassuring song of birds upon branches.

Ever increasing fluency in Spanish, yet I still make 10,000 mistakes per month. Ever increasing fluency in English. The Oxford comma. Perfecting punctuation. Joining the grammar police force. Reading voraciously, writing prolifically. (Sometimes.) This blog, begun 10 years ago. Elephant Journal. Human is what we are. The Storyteller Within.

Continuing on the path of yoga teaching (of course, on coronavirus sabbatical now; I’m not hip to the Zoom). Leading women on retreats, wonderful weekends in the mountains and on the beach, blessed transcendental weeks at the lake shore.

The yoga of daily life. The yoga of this moment.

Homegrown coffee, bottomless cups of herbal tea, commuting across the lake to work, makeshift home offices on beds and balconies. Where I sit now, at a solid wooden desk overlooking the greenery and the blue gray mist of the lake and volcanoes on this quiet morning. A dream vision come true. Reality does not bite.

Whole foods from the earth. Rainbow-colored meals made from scratch. Fruits and vegetables and nuts and less and less packaged/processed junk. Kimchi. Lulo. Maracuya. Always plátanos. Foods I’d never heard of before have become my daily bread. My husband has perfected the art of kombucha.

Sanity. Mental and emotional stability. No more psychotropic pills. Ever seeking and finally finding balance. Self-knowledge. Accepting my homebodyness. Embracing my eccentricities. Dancing to my own tune.

Scorpion stings, spider bites, ants marching, cutting leaves, flying. Getting over my fear of certain insects and all snakes, slowly slowly, thanks to living in communion with them.

Touching Earth. Practicing gratitude. Planting trees. Seeding new paradigms.

Now things have slowed to a halt. The world on hold, held hostage by fear or care or love or all of the above. Falling asleep, waking up. I am love. You are love. We are love.

Thank you, thirties. You’ve been “amazing” and “awesome,” words so overused they’ve lost their meaning. Incredible. I’m digging deeper for adjectives. Splendid, brilliant, curious, intriguing, terrific, fantastic, explosive, expansive.

My twenties were tumultuous and depressed and manic. My twenties were longing for love and adventure and freedom and escape. In contrast, my thirties have been expatriated. Grounded in gratitude and greater awareness. I am looking forward to discovering what heights and depths my forties have in store.

Thank you, life, for giving me so much. Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

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