This will likely be a shorter post, since I’m lying here in the dark, thinking about my birthday tomorrow, and playing author (with my thumbs) on my Blackberry.
That being said, I’m lying in a room whose ceiling is covered in projected blue stars, breaking the inky night. I’ve always been a fan of the night sky, and one of the most exciting evenings of my life was spent this summer on dear friends’ boat, camping out on a lake under the stars. In February, its far too cold for such an endeavor. So projected stars will have to do :).
Birthdays are a good time for reflection, as its also our “Saturn Return” point, which means that Saturn returns to the exact station it sat in, when we were born. Saturn is the teaching planet, the strict parent, and thus, most birthdays for most people bring with them some sort of evaluation on a personal level. I’m turning 43 tomorrow, and my life makes much more sense when I recall this fact.
I’m blessed when I hear people say, “I can’t believe you’ve done all that (insert albums, film, tv, plays, radio, psychic work, etc etc and so on)”, and it seems like *so* much — until I remind them and myself that I’ve been doing what I’m doing as an adult for over 20 years now, lol — sheesh, I hoped I’ve racked up somewhat of a list ;)! Yet what I find fascinating at 43 is the space in my life that I’m currently in. It isn’t about “breaking new ground” as much as it is about cultivating the ground I’ve tilled and cared for over the years. Sure, there are a few things I want to do this year that I’ve not previously accomplished — finish a book, for one. And that’s on the top of my list. But in terms of creative projects, outside of perhaps producing a full-length play that I’ve written (I’ve produced one acts I’ve written), there isn’t much “new ground” to break, as much as returning to doing what I’ve really loved doing before.
I think that’s one of the great joys of one’s 40’s: The fact that we’ve already picked through a vast majority of the Whitman’s Sample Platter of Life in order to figure out which chocolates we truly dig. There isn’t that “fight” to figure out who we are at this age, but instead, there is this great enjoyment of *what* we actually are. People’s “mid life crisis” points usually have to do with mourning the loss of “endless new horizons” that one has in their 20’s, and the panic of feeling “trapped” in a banal life of routine that then ensues. This issue of “being trapped” is an illusion based on the lack of really yet being able to get one’s head around what cresting into one’s 40’s is ACTUALLY all about.
In your 20’s, its all about showing the world what you’ve got, and falling into the next big life-altering adventure around the corner. In your 40’s, its all about showing what you’ve got to the world, and that in and of itself is the adventure. Its a peaceful and fulfilling place to be, and some people mistake that peace as “life being over”. That’s hysterical to me. That’s like winning the lottery and then pouting because you now “have it all”, so what is there to work toward? I wouldn’t re-do the chaos of my 20’s for a zillion bucks and a bucket of sweet cream Coldstone Ice Cream, though I’m glad I did up my 20’s the way that I did. That chaos is what made me who I am, and at the time — it was a thrill, and a heck of a lot of fun.
In your 40’s, you don’t have anything to prove to yourself anymore, and ergo, you don’t feel the need to prove it to others. You just *are*, and you do what you do.
I didn’t get to this place without some struggle. I had to come out of the relationship I had with my self identity I’d forged through conquest — ergo, my 20’s and 30’s — and try and understand what’s left, if not for breaking new ground? Though growth is great, the rush of “new” can be its own distraction, and if one’s lifepath is ONLY about “what’s new and next”, then one is ignoring the fruit one’s life is bearing in the moment. That’s like a farmer planting a wheat crop and just as it peaks, the farmer then leaves it to rot on the stem, because the farmer has moved on to brand new ground to start planting before harvesting the crop that is ready. It makes no sense.
So here is to 43: My year to reap and reap from the beautiful yielding crops I’ve planted over the years. I always welcome “new” anything. Yet what is most important to me now is fully bringing into the world the gifts I’ve been given. I’m so outrageously humbled by my wealth of life experiences, and I fully look forward to even more. However, today I’m simply thankful. Just plain-wrap, garden variety thankful, to all my family, friends, and those I’m lucky and honored enough to call “fans” — for loving me exactly for who I am, and appreciating what I have to offer for exactly what it is.
There is no greater gift in this world, birthday or not.