I just celebrated my 39th birthday. It was a hard one to swallow, the final year of my 30’s. From talking to friends, I know that I am not alone. There’s different ways of coping. And mine is to declare celibacy for a year and attempt to write a book. Which is kind of funny to think about because both of those things seem like drastic measures and I wonder if I’m fooling myself about the fact that I’m cool with this whole train-to-40 type thing. But honestly from the moment I dreamed up the notion, I have been so excited about it.
The amusing part is hearing people’s reactions to the whole thing. I’ve had a few people say “Wow, you’re going to write a book?” But more often than not people have said “Wow, you’re going to remain celibate for a year?” And it is hard to tell which one of these things will be the biggest challenge. But I know in my heart/gut/soul/tiny little voice that this is just what I’m supposed to be doing.
I’ve always wanted to write a book. There’s been a story inside of me that’s been trying to find it’s way out for quite some time now. I just never knew what it was until about a month ago. And when the idea floated into my head, I seized it and didn’t let go. I put out an open letter asking women to tell me their stories about love and connection and heartbreak and longing and all the little things that exist in between. And the response was overwhelming. Within a few days, I had dozens of emails. The women who responded have ages that span 40 years, distances that spans thousands of miles and stories that run the spectrum. Some of them want to tell me a story that they’ve never told anyone ever before.
I told a friend a few days later, humbled and in awe, “This has become so much bigger than me.” She shook her head and said, “No, this is just your size.” I suppose some of the reason behind my decision to remain celibate during this time (and celibacy including dating and any kind of intimacy or romantic encounter) is to fully honor the space that needs to be created in order to receive these stories. I’m just not sure I could properly hear a story of heartbreak if I was falling in love. And I’m not sure I could hear a story of love in I was in the depths of heartbreak. But from where I stand now, I have been through almost all of it by this point. I joke to others that if it’s one thing all of my attempts at love have given me, it’s the ability to provide great advice to others in a variety of situations. Some of it may be ‘do as I say but not as I do’ but whatever.
But there’s more. I have some work to do on this ol’ heart of mine. I’m ready to come to terms with some things. I’m ready to change the tape reel in my head. I’m ready to redefine who I can be as part of an ‘us’. In short, I’m ready to figure my shit out. And I’m ready to see what could happen when I spend a whole year giving myself the energy that I usually freely and carelessly throw to anyone who I become involved with.
In the weeks since I started laying the roots of this project, I have already been in contact with some pretty incredible people. I spent a weekend at a yoga camp and learned more than I ever thought possible about sisterhood. I’m developing strictly platonic relationships with men, something that I’ve never really done before. And here’s the big one……I met a really nice man who was nothing but kind and sweet and adoring. And on my birthday I ended it because this project is more important to me right now. I chose myself. And he completely understood.
Today I went to a complete stranger’s house and she made me coffee and we talked for two hours about love and sex and celibacy the idea of ‘the one’. It was a beautiful story; one that at many points I could see myself in. That’s kind of the whole idea of this…we are all on these crazy, undulating and intersecting roads and there’s a beauty that exists when we stop at a crossroads and share what we have learned. I’ve got 51 more stories to hear. And I’m so ready, for all of it.
I’ve still got room for a few more stories. If you or anyone you know is interested, please email [email protected]