On the eve of my 42nd birthday, I came across this post by Katrina Kenison, This is 55. Katrina's post was inspired by the original, This is 38, by LIndsey Mead at A Design So Vast, which was later reprinted in the Huffington Post.
Reading these posts got me to thinking specifically on what it means to be me,at my age.
Thank you to both ladies, for the inspiration, and the raw, richly beautiful writing. It touched me to my core.
At 42, I'm wise enough to know a few things, and perhaps wiser still to recognize that I have so much more to learn.
Life is a paradox. I tend to like the solid, measurable, concrete elements of life. The permanent things, the ones you can "count on." That's how I prefer to show up in life, to the best of my ability.
But life is inherently fluid and impermanent. And at 42 I know this much: all things have a life cycle and will change. Those that we wish to hold onto forever, like sweet sloppy baby kisses, and those we would like to quickly move on from, like the seemingly endless sleepless nights that accompany those kisses. Breathing deeply and embracing them both make both richer, and neither last longer. Staying present with all things, to the best of my ability, allows me to mine the gold in both.
At 42 I know quite clearly that my time here is finite, however long it may last. I know that there isn't an endless amount of time to do the things that are important. I know also that what was important at 20 and 30 might look very different at 40 and 50 and beyond.
I know that waiting for things to change doesn't change them and pushing against them doesn't either. I change them, or I accept them if that's what the situation calls for. But I don't wait as long to do either.
I know that no one is here to make me happy...I am here to make me happy. And it is largely my state of mind, not the circumstances which surround me and sometimes envelope me, which creates either happiness or the lack of it. At 42, I know that practicing happiness, like practicing cartwheels, makes one better at it.
I sometimes wish I could share this with my 22 year old self. But she wouldn't have understood or believed me...as Glinda said of Dorothy, in the Wizard of OZ, "She had to learn it for herself."
I have learned that I'm never going to get "there," enough to start doing the things I want, so I'm just going to start doing them now. There doesn't seem to be time, money or anything else in place for what I love, but at 42 I now longer care.
I haven't been a big fan of my birthdays over the past 20 or so years. It has seemed like a time settle up accounts, and see how much closer to "there," I was. This year I started to do that, and then remembered, there is no "there," there is only here. So here I am, at 42, which is a pretty good place to be.
Happy my 42nd to you, and may you find the gold wherever and whenever you are in life.