34nomenal

‘I can’t wait to be 34. that’s the sexiest year!’

i just had dinner with my brilliant friend dani mcclain. when she first said that to me, we were over a decade from being 34, it was over a third of our lives away. we were young radical smart women of color in new york, still landing in our styles, elegances, glamorousness. 34 was far enough ahead that we couldn’t imagine not having figured it all out to be completely and utterly with it by the time we got there.

and now there is here.

and dani is one of a handful of people in the world who knew me when, and even before, i was 24, outside of blood family.

and with this handful of brilliant women who are in or within a stone’s throw of 34, we are learning to fully occupy here.

of course we don’t have it all figured out, except for some of the most important things, which we are pretty sure about, like:

hold onto those friends who will see you whole, no matter how many miles are between you.

don’t shy away from saying the things your beloveds need to hear, with all your kindness.

celebrate every single little step away from settling for not enough, every step towards the possibility of greatness, no matter how small.

affirm life, even when it looks like weeping, shame, heartbreak, hot messes. if ‘grief is gratitude’ for the blessing of being alive, the glorious mistakes and exquisite failures are how we learn to live, how we fight for ourselves to have extraordinary lives.

you don’t need to say I told you so, not ever. cultivate a particular smile or shoulder shrug that says, ‘we knew that, right?’ and then stand for each other’s dignity.

get better with age – wiser, more stylish, more complex, more open, more loving, braver, more interesting, and more self-aware.

don’t get too old to learn – curiosity is the fountain of youth.

and when you reach a threshold that you called into being, like 34 being the sexiest age, embody it. my 24 or 14 year old selves wouldn’t have believed how fine and fly and loving of myself and on my healing path I am today.

and it isn’t just the year, it’s this phase in our lives of self-realization, forgiveness, surrender, heat and uncompromising love.

and not one day of it was promised, and who knows what will happen, but I want us to be the hottest 50 year olds anyone’s ever seen.

axe.

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