Thirty-three. A year many refer to as your “Jesus Year.” Scholars believe that 33 is the year that Jesus started a spiritual and political revolution that led to his crucifixion. It’s a year meant to put you on a different path than the ones you were on before. The year you put the things together that you’ve been working toward. While I never put too much pressure on any single year of my life, I have felt increasingly as though the promises of such a year for my life would be true. I know God’s been opening doors that I have failed to walk through. I don’t want God to have to shove me out ten story windows because I keep ignoring the doors. So I’ve been sitting in what it would mean for me to embrace my Jesus Year.
I am a fierce lover of birthdays, and especially of my own. I’ve always loved celebrating the triumphant and humility of another year around the sun. Another chance to do things a little different, a little better.
I celebrate my birthday for the entire month of November. I feel the magnitude of my being during the weeks of Scorpio season. Maybe what I should say alongside stating that I’m a fierce lover of birthdays is that I’m a Scorpio through and through. Fiercely loyal and passionate with strong desires, courageous and straight forward, approaching the world without thinking of limitations, deeply emotional, relentless in my pursuit of a better world, and a little mysterious.
But this year, for the first time, has been different. Scorpio season began and nothing felt like it was ‘turned on.’ November 1 came and went and it felt like every other month this year. Nothing felt any lighter. Even my therapist commented a week ago at the end of our session together that my birthday was coming up soon, but I had not mentioned it the entire time, and it was a reminder of how I was everywhere, doing everything all the time, except here with myself, in these moments. I felt small. Lost. Unable to find my magnitude of being.
If there is one place that never fails to revive me, it’s the ocean. I’ve always been humbled by its vastness and inspired by its beauty and life-giving nature. I needed to escape to the sea. So I planned a trip to the neighboring seaside town of Half Moon Bay with my dear friend Paola, a fellow Scorpio also searching for the strength of our season. We are both caregivers in our own way, often ignoring our needs to ensure that the needs of others are met. Going to Half Moon Bay was about doing something for ourselves and letting go of the fear that if we take these moments that something terrible will happen to others in our momentary absence. So we drove along the waters, ate delicious foods and drank delicious wine. We found our dream leather jackets at a vintage shop, took a chance on mystery wrapped books, and never rushed ourselves. We breathed the salty air and let it ground us. Finally, here with ourselves, in these moments.
As the sun began to set, we made our way toward Poplar Beach to spend time with the ocean. I took my shoes off and closed my eyes, as I felt the sand between my toes. Sand is the perfect reminder that I am both on solid ground, while also hugged and covered. We ran into the ocean and let the waves surround us, the cold shock of the Pacific heightening my senses of the scenery around me. The orange, pinks, and blues of the sky. The birds and the soft echoes of the waves.
We eventually made our way to the rocky cliffs and sat, deciding that this was a place that could handle the weight of the previous year. We talked about what we were letting go. I talked about letting go of trying to make relationships work that were not meant to, letting go of the fear of uncertainty, letting go of the way I had previously seen my body, and letting go of not truly resting and caring for myself. So, so much. I kept listing them until the final rays of twilight had dimmed, and I let the ocean carry them far away.
Later that night when we were reading cards by the fire, I was reminded that the thing for me to let go of was my fears and the thing that would help me overcome everything was to focus on my vision. Being on that beach at sunset helped me realize that somewhere during this past year I had leaned into my doubts more than my power. And it’s time to change that.
If you ask me, I’ve been 32 for a lifetime. It’s been the longest year of my life. A year filled with doctors and hospitals and exhaustion and fear and uncertainty amidst an ever present pandemic. A year that felt like every step society took was backwards. But my friend Vina always reminds me that I have faced this year with strength and grace, and it is that I must remember to begin to reclaim my power. I’m ready to say goodbye to 32. I won’t take her with me on this next journey. I left that weight on the ocean, and she carried it far away. I’m getting better at letting go.
I want to be more brave. I want to speak more loudly through my work and my actions, and do more good and right in this world that align to my radical politics and values. To do that, I’ll have to jump through the ten story windows and trust that I’ll fly. I am ready for my Jesus year.