Happy 40th Birthday To Me!

Yesterday, I celebrated my 40th birthday. It was a great day, filled with family and friends, plenty of time with my children, and a few great presents.

My kiddos got me some fantastic Halloween inspired pillows, a Jack the Pumpkin King, and Zero, Jack’s faithful ghost dog. My daughter, Kora, created these amazing runes for me. I’m not entirely sure how to use them, so bonus side quest time!! But, they are ridiculously sparkly and super cute. She made them, which is even better.

I’ve got a few more things coming soon, and I’m super excited. One of the items is a dress designed after Sally (from The Nightmare Before Christmas) and I can’t wait to wear it! Yes, I am obsessed. No, I’m not sorry.

As I embark on a new year of life, I’ve been reflecting on the past forty years. I wish I could say it’s been a smooth ride that I’ve enjoyed every minute of.

The truth is much less happy.

I’m a product of a broken home where my childhood was far less than fantastic. My formative years as a small child were filled with memories of people. I remember my Great-Grandpa, the one who sat on his porch swing every single day and whistled. One year, I wrote a paper on him for history class. What I wouldn’t give to have that paper now. So much history lost that I can never recover. I remember Aunt Nilma, with her leopard print leggings and supermarket tabloid magazine addictions. Her house always smelled a little bit funny, but she had these huge cutouts of country singers and I loved to visit her.

My teenage years were rich in dysfunctional athority and poor decision-making. My parents divorced and I was made to pick sides. Nobody should ever make their kids feel this way. It’s horrible and I wanted to die rather than pick. Because of this, I spent several years of my teens bouncing between my parents, trying to find a place where I was wanted. When neither home felt like home, I turned to relationships and ended up in a horrible place with a guy I had no business being with. I stayed far too long because we had children and the people I trusted most told me that was the right thing to do. They were wrong, it was horrible advice, and I shouldn’t have listened for so long.

My twenties were a mess of men I didn’t love who trapped me in relationships I hated and trying to figure out where I belonged in the world, all while attempting to raise children who didn’t grow up to hate me. This decade saw me survive a terrible domestic violence situation, come out of “the closet” as bisexual (and losing some family in the process), and my first attempt at college (which I failed due to the violent relationship). Toward the end of this decade, I met my husband and had my last child.

My thirties were chaotic and tumultuous, but had some shining moments. I’ve raised my kids, welcomed three grandchildren, and taken on the task of raising one of those grandchildren. My biggest achievement was re-entering college, then graduating with three degrees. I also wrote my first complete novel, which I’m in the process of editing and publishing. I spent a bit of time reconnecting with my father, reconnecting with some old friends, eliminating some toxic people from my life.

And now, for the next decade. Looking ahead, I have some lofty goals for my next ten years. My writing goals include publishing a few books, getting more short pieces published online, and maybe exploring poetry a bit more. I’m looking forward to finishing my Master’s degree, and eventually restarting the process all over again! I want to practice baking and master cake decorating. And I want to spend more time cooking and growing my culinary skills. My boys will become adults at some point, and I have so many hopes and dreams for their future. I can’t wait to watch my grandchildren grow up and explore their own personalities. I know, inevitably, this decade will bring death, tragedy, and drama. I’m trying not to dwell on that too much.

So many things could happen in the future. I’m looking forward to sharing so much with my readers here, and sharing even more with my family and friends. I hope the next year brings success, happiness, and growth to my life.

Until we meet again!

Cathy Marie Bown

Published by cathymariebown

I am a writer and student looking for my place in the digital world.

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