Being eighty years old wasn't some grand goal of mine. It just happened. Honestly, I never planned on living that long. Experience had taught me that I could only take a day a time successfully. So, I'm taken aback by the truth in front of me. I really don't know what to say about it, but here are some thoughts I've had over the years.

Hardship was a constant companion early on in my life. As I grew older, it became harder to find the will to live at all some days. My perspective shifted sometime in my thirties or forties as Gabe and I settled down together, got married, and adopted children, even though he never wanted them. I left the career path I'd chosen before transitioning and decided to pursue a different route in the creative arts. In doing so, I opened up a new world of possibility.

Foremost, it brought close friends into my life. We still meet regularly even though distance separates us - the muse of our adventures being camaraderie. We share each others lives' closely with one another as though we were all long lost sisters. Moreover, we share interests in equality and kindness towards others, in effect reducing a great deficit found during the early ought years. Even though we have had our share of troubles over the years, it has brought us closer together, giving us the chance to lean on each other or offer help when needed.

In addition to meeting the best friends a girl could ask for, I've been able to explore my gender and sexuality throughout my life. New partners entered my circle here and there. I still see them from time to time. As for Gabriel, he and I remained faithful to each other, and as you can see we're still together now. He was able to understand that I was capable of expressing love for many people. Our relationship strengthened through the truthful expression of these feelings, and while it wasn't easy, we're both happier for it.

The career itself was a wonderful change of pace too. It didn't pay as much as my past job, but it did provide me a stronger sense of satisfaction. For the first time in my life, I felt like my work was appreciated by others. Gabriel felt this spark of inspiration too. He completed his degree and found a career which paid well when he still worked. That is to say, we've retired, but we still admire functions we used to have. In all, he and I found ways to manage our expenses so that we could afford this unique career of mine.

Our children, unexpected blessings as they were, have grown to be adults in their own right now. Our son and daughter have their own families. We share holidays with them, and our grandchildren, and generally live close but separate lives. Balancing multiple children with multiple partners, including Gabe, was a challenge that didn't end without wounds on both side, but I believe we've settled into equitable, loving relationships.

As for me, I hope to have the opportunity to live to eighty one. I'd love to continue to watch my children grow up and live healthy lives. I want to feel the warmth of my friends and partners who care deeply about me. I cherish their friendship and loyalty. But eventually, we all grow old, and as much as I chanced for death earlier on in my life, I wish more than anything to share more of life with my family, my friends, and the world. So, here's to another year, and maybe a few more.