Congratulations! on completing your 45th trip around the sun. Approximately 1,500,000,000 miles through space while constantly traveling 1000mph on the surface of this spinning top. Are you tired yet?
A bit of birthday wisdom I heard once on NPR, from a girl on her 10th birthday. She said her 9-year-old self was still there, just as she was the day before, but now with a 10-year-old layer on her surface. And the 8- and 7- and 6-year-old girls she used to be, she still was. We don't stop being who we've always been.
I feel increasingly certain someone much like you is going to be a character in a novel I will write, probably in the next year or two. An ageless woman living on the edge--the border between wilderness and civilization, between mundane and magical, between history and imagination. I don't know if she'll be the book's protagonist, but I do know she will be the character my readers won't be able to forget, even when they close the book.