August is a busy month at casa de Pavi. We have an anniversary, half a dozen birthdays, and the official start of school. I turn 39 on the 5th, which I’m thinking big deal, except it also feels like a bit of a damp squib. 

I had been hoping to get a lot done before I turned 40. A couple of novels published, fitness goals achieved, and one vacation, sans anyone. And I thought I’d be chugging along, well on my way to hitting these goals, around this time. 

Except I’m not doing as well as I would like. With the pandemic and the constant being around people, adult and little, I feel talked-out and touched-out. I try hard to be grateful and giving. Still, I lose my shit occasionally and end up throwing a fit like every other parent. And then, at my lowest, I go into this rage-despair spiral where I want to smack those anti-vaxxers, who’re the primary reason we’re not past this pandemic nonsense yet. 

Now, I acknowledge my privilege. I am thankful to be healthy, with a roof over my head and my children around me. But some days. Man, some days, I feel like I’ve been sandpapered with noise and chaos, and during such times, it gets hard to find the silver lining. A tiny, solo vacation would be just the solution, but ha! 

I’m not all angsty tears today, though. There are some successes, even though I don’t always see them. I’m writing more than I ever have. The novels are coming along nicely. But they have a mind of their own. Some days, they beckon with curled fingers and bedroom eyes, and I can get a lot done. Then other days, they’re broody and snappy, and I’m lucky if I can tweak out a few edits before they slam the door in my face. I fondly think of my novels as high-maintenance, B-list celebrities — so much drama for someone who hasn’t even played in the major leagues yet. 

But I have some surprises to share, which I’m dying to! Like right now, I want to grab you by the collar and tell you the delicious stuff that’s about to happen soon!! But I have been reminded that I’m an adult; therefore, I must possess and exhibit some form of impulse control. Which is why I’ll shut up and talk about something else. 

Come August 16, my Nirav goes to sixth grade, middle school, which, oh boy, all the feelings. He’s also in a different classroom, designed for kids on the higher functioning side of the spectrum. Academically, this is significant progress, and 5 years ago, I would have whooped and hollered if you’d told me this was on our cards. But now, I am not sure. I used to worry myself sick about getting him into a mainstream classroom, but the scales have fallen from my eyes. His elementary school journey has been all steep hills and gentle valleys, where he’s made tremendous breakthroughs and faced setbacks. I’ve seen the wonders that a loving, specialized teaching group can do, so I’m reluctant to leave the proverbial nest and let him fly. I know he must graduate elementary school sometime, but dammit, it’s terrifying to step into the unknown. The good news is that his classmates are also moving to the same new setting, so at the least, there’ll be familiar faces around him. 

Now the fitness journey. Praise the old gods and the new because that one is on a happier trajectory. I’m exercising every day, riding the endorphin high, and eating well. I feel stronger and look it too, which is a very welcome bonus. 

And as I write this — as I catalog all the wins and losses, I’m reevaluating my original opinion. Some areas are still a struggle, but on the whole, I see myself on an upward curve. If I measure where I was last year, on one side of the scale, and tally it against this year’s harvest, I see clear and tangible gains. Even the most conservative accountant would call this success. And since I jump in people’s faces to preach self-love, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t extend the same courtesy to myself. 

So in the spirit of counting every blessing, tiny and big, I’d like to finish with this:

I’m thankful to have the capacity and means to practice good health and fitness. 

Even though they drive me up the wall sometimes, I’m appreciative of those I love. 

I’m grateful I can pursue my passion from the comfort of my home.

I’m thankful for who I am because it turns out that’s exactly who I need to be.

And in a year that has seen so much sadness and loss, death and disease, I’m thankful to make it to 39. 

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