Final Lap on my Forties

13 01 2016

Weather: January. Snow. Wind. Crappy roads. Lather Rinse Repeat. (Been in the Teens, temps wise. But yeah. Unrelenting winds, snow and shoveling. )

So yesterday was my birthday. And as the second half of my life approaches,  I didn’t post on the day but after.

Had a lot of mulling to do. My Birthday posts tend to have a lot of mulling. I think there’s an obscure law somewhere about that.

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Jack London, who shares my birthday, is saying very much where I landed after a lot of thinky thoughts. And wine.

I decided that, since I was turning 49 and about to face that dubious benchmark year of 50 on the very near horizon, I needed to do something this year to give my forties a proper send off.

My forties have been very good, catastrophic medical incident aside. (Every decade has an outlier.) I’ve managed to accomplish a lot of things: Moving out of Indiana, getting a working studio, buying a house, and finally getting the gumption to get motivated about things again. It’s been a lengthy transition decade.

So I figured, why not do something akin to a bucket list, without the Sword of Damocles of Death hanging over the end of it? An anti-bucket list of sorts. I’m going to try and do something I’ve never done before, every week this year. I’m not making a checklist in advance. Instead, I’m just going to try something new or accomplish some new goal every week. This will give me roughly 50 new experiences by the time my 50th birthday rolls around. I think that’s a doable goal and what the hell, why not?

I’m not making a checklist because things and opportunities crop up all the time,  and then the list either gets longer or things get knocked off because of no time. Nah. I’ll fill in the blanks as I go. And they don’t have to be world changing, life altering things. Just something new.

Truth is…I’m kinda bored with things right now. I find myself slipping back in to old habits, mostly the bad kind, when I get bored. So, I’m giving myself a challenge and a deadline. I love deadlines. Seriously, it’s amazing what I can get done if I have a deadline. And a challenge? Hoo boy. Let me tell you a little secret about me. I’m a ragingly competitive person. I just don’t activate that part of myself very often. Mostly because I can turn into an asshole.

People wonder why I avoid sports or video games– That’s why. Husbeast has seen some glimpses of it, and he gets that worried look when it shows up.  I need a healthy way to be competitive. So I compete with myself. Usually by playing games that don’t require an opponent other than myself. Or I give myself a rigid deadline for some challenging task. (NaNoWriMo is an excellent example. I will  go without sleep or potty breaks to make that deadline. Which is why I tend to “Win” when I decide to do it. )
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I’m hoping that I can direct some of that self-competitive energy into getting healthy as well. Sometimes it’s as easy as daring myself to do something. Go without a particular type of food for a while. Hit a particular fitness goal I may have not reached before.

My biggest obstacle, is sadly ALSO myself. Because I can both talk myself out of doing things with extremely  compelling and elaborate excuses and also enable bad behavior by dressing it up as a reward for good behavior (Went to the gym for 5 days straight–I deserve an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s.) 

So this is a series of challenges wrapped in a bigger challenge. (Challenge Inception?).

The smaller challenges are to keep me from being bored. The bigger over all challenge? To not get derailed and sidelined by my too easily distracted or enabled self.

I think I can do it. And that will make me happy. I’d like to enter the second half of my life with fewer potential regrets (balanced on top of the idea that getting older may not keep you from doing something, but it makes some things a little less easy or possible.)

On a side note, I’m still kind of in denial about Bowie. It’s hard to accept he’s gone, but as many have said, his legacy is long and will last. I intend to keep a small bit of stardust in my soul, to keep his unwavering artistic energy alive. It’s the tiny way I can honor his artistry and spirit.

So that’s pretty much the holy all of it. I’ll be posting at least weekly, updating on the things I’ve accomplished and sharing the experiences. Husbeast is on board as well, at least in the supporting me in doing this. (He’s gonna be along for the ride on a few things. I’m sure he’ll be giving me that raised eyebrow look when he reads that. 😀 )

So 49 years. 49 trips around the sun. Not as much to show for it as I would have hoped, but still plenty to be proud of, so there’s a nice balance there.

Here’s hoping the year unfolds with less stumbling blocks and few more accomplishments I can add to my dusty shelf.

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Traditional Birthday Musing Post….

12 01 2012

Weather: FINALLY we’re getting some SNOW. FINALLY!  temps are dropping through the day from the 40s to the 20s & we’re supposed to be getting between 6-10 inches of snow. ::clappy hands::

So today is my birthday. I’m 45.

Forty.Five.

The “5” years always give me more pause than the “0” ones, for some reason. Maybe because the mark the middle of the decade and thus put me in the “Oh Crap! Heading towards [insert next decade marker here].” frame of mind.

Mid decade is always a period of reassessment for me. For good or bad.  This time around I find myself mulling over what hasn’t been achieved and realizing I’m still a lot further along than I was last year or the previous milemarker year. So…maybe it’s more of a “Goal Line in sight, time for the press to the end” thing. That is heartening for once.

In the past year alone, I finished a novella, started a self-publishing imprint, jumped into  mosaic art with both feet, and am contemplating the ever popular leap of faith that comes with realizing that your passions have become too demanding to compete with a day job that doesn’t satisfy anymore. (If it ever did.)

In the negative column, we’ve dealt with loss of family members, family pets, a burglary, and several minor setbacks. The truth be told though…most of that was out of our control.

I’ve been joking the past few weeks that now that I’m 45, I’m only 5 years away from actually enjoying the AARP benefits that I’ve been receiving mail about since I was 35. The reality is, I’m actually looking forward to the benefits. I’m looking forward to being retired. (Though as a writer/artist, I seriously doubt I’ll stop working until I’m 6 feet under. )

The one thing I do know is 45 is barely halfway through my potential lifespan. And I still have a good number of active years ahead of me. The question now is…do I use them to pursue my goals till I exhaust them, or do I continue to just chip away at things?

I think 45 is a good year to start grabbing the bull by the horns and seeing where that gets me. Attempts will probably outnumber successes, and I’m okay with that. I’d just like to at least have the opportunities to make the attempts. Sitting idly by and waiting for life to happen, whether through caution or fear, is no way to live. I envy people who had this kind of fire in their 20s. That’s a lot more years to make mistakes & course correct. Still, it’s never to late to reboot your life path. Nothing is written in stone for the future, no matter what the doomsayers would have you believe.  So why not try ALL THE THINGS? Well, ALL THE THINGS you’re interested in, that is. 😉

Art & writing will always find it’s audience, if you give it enough room to find it. Weather the critics, ignore the jealous and nurture the supporters in your life. At the end, you’re on your own.  I think I’m ready to deal with that. In the scope of world history, I’ll only be a blip, but I can be a slightly shinier blip if I’m doing what makes me happy.

I guess 45 and I can be happy together. Age IS only a number, you know. The universe doesn’t really pay attention to our need to arbitrarily assign time frames.  Keeping perspective is important.

So…happy spawning day to me. Here’s to another 45 years. I only hope they’ll be as fascinating and entertaining and challenging as the previous 45.  (Without all the negative stuffs, mind you. Really tired of that crap. 🙂