One week from today I will be forty six years old. I repeat, FORTY SIX FUCKING YEARS OLD. Holy shit, shouldn’t I be in an ill fitting sweat suit watching Matlock picking out burial plots by now? Perhaps.
The last forty five years, the highlight reel.
Complicated mother. Absent alcoholic father. Autistic brother. No room for me to have an adjective.
Spent almost three decades bumping along without much purpose, besides putting out fires caused by all of the above as being a fixer appeared to be my station in this life.
Met a safe, sane guy to spend happily ever after with. Set me free from family worries. Lived in the shadow of his dreams until I was terribly sick. Got better. Reevaluated my priorities. Realized that our safe, sane life was not doing it for me.
Moved to Chicago. Drank, danced, went a little crazy. In a good way. Started writing down the stories of my life as they were burning a hole in my head. Found other people with heads full of story fire. Started telling stories to anyone who listen, fanning story flames. Felt a sense of pride, a sense of direction, an unprecedented sense of worth. Can’t stop now, flaming story train has left the station.
Met another guy. Tried to make it work. Failed miserably. Hardly wrote a word. Broke up with him. Held on too tightly, ripping my heart apart, not because there was a future for us but because he believed in me. Mourned the loss of having someone to cheer me on. Cried every night for a month. Cried to anyone who would listen, not so much over lost love, but over lost youth. Scary to let others know that I was in pain, that the fixer needed fixing. Couldn’t go home, slept on friends’ couches. Recognized finally that love was all around me. That it wasn’t too late. Woke up to feel the sun on my face. Felt an unfamiliar sensation. Joy. Walked the beaches of Florida’s redneck Riviera while traveling for work, surrounded by low rent tourists trolling around yelling on their cell phones, eating crap food, playing volleyball, screaming at their overweight children. Didn’t just write them off as trashy, as I usually would. Connected only with their happiness, that they were spending their vacation days on a beautiful beach, doing exactly as they pleased. Strangely contagious, smiled the rest of the day.
Have been thinking differently about everything. Not because of being sick or moving to Chicago or going a little crazy or having my heart broken or whisky tango beach epiphanies. Because of all of it. No longer care what others think, no longer have to pass judgement on other people to feel good about myself. Finding bliss in everything I possibly can. Discovering that if I pay attention to my world, I will always have something to write about. Ecstatic at the possibility. Spent such a great deal of my life so far telling everyone that everything was fine, that I would make it fine, which I did and I didn’t. Glad to quit that fixer job. Recognizing that the only life we have is right this minute and possibly the rest of today and tomorrow if we’re lucky. Spent a long time pretending to be impenetrable, only to find out that it was the shield standing between me and happiness. Surrounding myself with love and support from all kinds of wonderful people. Embracing being single. Soaking myself in lady power. Reaching out to the straight dudes that I adore in order not to lose faith in them as a species, a few who I would drunkenly marry in Las Vegas as my next fabulous mistake. Throwing the bird to societal expectations, shedding the apathy that was suffocating me like a dry cleaning bag. Loving that sharing stories brings my joy together with your joy, my heartache with your heartache, thus pulling me out of lonely isolation.
Forty six, show me what you got. Prepared to keep fire walking, friends are always there when I get burned. Inspired by Rumi, forgetting safety, living where I fear to live, destroying my reputation, attempting to be notorious. Never too old to make shit happen….I invite you to join me.