Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Year Older...

In seeking wisdom, thou art wise; in imagining
that thou hast attained it, thou art a fool.
-Ben Sira

Well, I guess it's impossible to avoid. Another year has passed for yours truly. I always thought that age was supposed to bring with it wisdom. The truth, if there is such a beast, is that I now have more questions and less answers than I ever did before. I certainly am not getting wiser at the rate that my children are getting older. Despite my efforts, neither am I gaining wealth, success, access, nor acceptance. I do not say these things to garner sympathy, or to bitch and complain. It simply is.

I generally do not participate in holidays, especially if they are of a religious nature. It is not a statement of protest, I just can't think of any reason that my participation is necessary. So, around my house, birthdays are the thing. We often celebrate a family member's birthday for a couple of weeks. Last year, I turned forty years old. Typically, forty is considered the most "difficult" birthday. A crossroads, if you will, into the second half of your natural life. While I did pay attention last year, it didn't get me down. However, this year feels more strenuous. It could have to do with the financial strains I'm feeling right now, I mean who isn't, right? But, the truth is that I've been pretty much submerged in financial woes for the last 8-10 years. Maybe I'm just feeling the wear and tear of it all, but I'm still not all too attached to fiscal well-being, even if I am beginning to recognize that my age is becoming a factor in any attempt I make to change that. At some point, it is harder to reinvent yourself. Hopefully, I'm not quite there yet. So, what is it? The gray in my beard? While I do keep it shaved for stage work (no one wants to see gray hair on a rock'n'roller unless they've earned it in the public eye), offstage it fails to get under my skin. How about attractiveness? Well, truth is, I think women find me more attractive now than they ever have. Is it the steady approach of my impending walk into old age and eventually death? That's getting closer, but death truly doesn't bother me. Actually, it's really the only thing that you can completely depend on in this life. Believe me, we are ALL going to die. I don't look forward to watching my once lithe and agile body disintegrate into anything less, but at least it's lithe and agile now. No, I think the answer lies behind me.

I'm halfway through my life now, and so far I've produced nothing that will outlast me besides one beautiful child. She is my heart, but honestly, most people produce children at some point or other, and usually more than one. I don't subscribe to the idea that one must immortalize one's self in order to have made a statement with their life. It's just that I always thought, somehow, that I would. Maybe that's the problem with me this year. I've officially crossed over into middle-age without having made a lasting statement with my life, and faced with my declining years as they advance toward me, I'm feeling a little less inclined to believe that I ever will. That's the hard one.

So, I will continue to thank everyone as they wish me "happy birthday", and I will continue to be myself throughout the next year and beyond. I will continue the long march, but without the burden of the tyranny of expectation. It will make these boots a little heavier, but the backpack will be lighter. Perhaps therein lies a little wisdom.

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