Friday, June 27, 2008

40 Days 'til 40

So ... I'll be 40 in 40 days. As a Leo through and through, I thought I'd sound the trumpet early so you can all get your gift-giving and party-throwing plans together! :-)

On a more serious note, I've been thinking a lot about ... what am I thinking about turning 40. Turns out, not a lot.

I feel very much where I am supposed to be. I feel at the peak of my performance, as I guess athletes say. Do writers say that? Maybe more accurately is the notion of feeling fully in my season of summer. Maybe it's the mid summer time in my life. Maybe it's late summer. I don't know of course. Seeds I planted early in my life, as I moved from winter into spring have blossomed now. I feel in harmony with my body and my work. I am healthier than I have ever been. My work is finding an audience in the world. My teaching is reaching many people. My heart opens more each day (and so does my shoulder and my spine). 30 wasn't like this. 20 certainly wasn't like this.

The photos above are:

top: me, current -- in front of the barn in my "backyard". It's really someone else's barn and backyard, but I can look at it from my deck and have claimed psychic ownership!

2nd from top: me, 33, MFA graduation, Antioch University Los Angeles

3rd from top: me, 10, I played "Hagga" in the Charlotte Children's Theatre production of The Thirteen Clocks. I still remember a line... "The guards are guarding the clocks! YOU wanted it that way!" (I got to hiss the word "YOU" as I sneered at the kid wearing purple).

4th from top: me, 1 or 2 with my dad. Both my parents read a lot to me. We can blame reading to children for the reason I am the way I am today. :-)

I can look back on each year and see how it fed into the one that followed. I can see how every "crappy" experience fueled the next period of growth. Without exception, everything has happened perfectly. I have deeply loved people outside of my family. I have loved too many cats to count.

I married myself when I was 25. Best decision I ever made! :-) (Who wouldn't want to devote their lives to moi... but that's another blog!) ;-)

But it was the best decision I have made because my commitment since 25 has been to my personal and spiritual growth and my writing. That may come across as selfish, but I have found it to be exactly the opposite of selfish. By committing to me and to what I feel I am on the planet to do, I then have more freedom and desire to be with others and to give to others. I don't feel that others drain me because I have placed a priority on filling myself. I learned to set boundaries and not to do the things I don't want to do. That doesn't mean I don't compromise and sometimes do things that aren't the first thing on my list, but it does mean I don't pretend to be what I'm not, or to enjoy what I don't. This has kept things very clean. I am able to be more fully with the people I choose to spend time with because of these choices.

I promised to love, honor, respect and cherish myself and my writing. I promised to live my life with writing as a companion, not with writing as a pet or a short-term lover -- a companion, a day in, day out stinky sweet companion. Do I write every day? No. But is writing with me every day? Yes. It knows I have shown up, and so it shows up.

I will renew these vows at 40. At 50. At 60 and beyond.

I am absolutely tickled with gratitude to be hanging out in this flesh and bone body right now.

(And yeah, 40's the new 20!)

Happy Living Days to You All!


msb said...

Then 56 must be the new 36. love the photos.

Andi said...

rock on with your 40 (almost) self . . . I'm having a joyful day, and I'm so glad to see you are, too.
Kitties are here - have touched noses with big brother and are now sleeping soundly in their room. All is well, isn't it.

armely said...

'Turned 46 last weekend. Yes! I almost lost count.That barn... I was communing with a huge barn, pond, grasses, cows, fox, and Tasja, my niece on my birthday. You reminded me of vows and commitment. Indeed faithfulness to oneself is one thing that we can be deeply proud of. Gracias!


Dawn Maria said...

I turned 40 last year and I'm still thinking about what it means. I see changes in my mind and body that are both exciting and frightening. My oldest child started high school, which represented another shift. The youngest will enter middle school in August, so our days of school age children are officially over. I'm not sad to see the kids grow up, or myself for that matter. But somehow now it appears that I really am getting older. More than anything, it feels odd at times. I prefer to think of 40 as the new 40 though, I'd never want to be 20 again, unless I could have 20 year old thighs and a 40 year old rest of me!