Summer is dwindling and my birthday is nigh. It seems that a bit of reflection is in order.

So who the hell is 42? What’s her freaking deal?

Ahem.

42 is surprised at how young her doctors and lawyers and kids’ teachers and people in charge of things are.

42 is paying bills for more kinds of insurance than any one person or family should need.

42 is in the mirror, lines etched on her face and strands of “ashy blonde” at her hairline.

42 is overwhelmed by nostalgia when she hears Ace of Base in H & M. 42 is confused by fashion trends like high waisted acid washed jean shorts.

42 is disbelief that 20 years have passed since she came to NYC and started her big girl life. That small people rely on her to wipe their asses and pack their lunches.

42 is glazing over when Minecraft is being explained.

42 is a relief and a settling into something. There’s a relaxation that is new. Turns out 42 is OK at this Mallory thing.

Anger, sadness, spaciousness, joy, anxiety, irritation: a flavorful soup of emotions I keep in my mental fridge. I add to and it nourishes me. I feel it all and that ain’t changing. But 42 knows boundaries. She has the ability to let in the insecurity and the annoyances and the fears and sit with them and feel them, and then try to let them go.

42 can still party, though she’s hurting the next day. Also, 42 gets really red in the face when she jogs, and could give a shit.

42 lives deep in the bones of her memories and her old friends and conversations and jokes they made. 42 needs her loves – to laugh and to cry with. To try and be there for them like they have been there for her. A certain laughter or cadence of a conversation can take 42 right back to the good times at camp or Israel or Vermont or childhood in Pittsburgh.

42 knows a good one when she sees one.

42, I love you man.