Its been ten years since I began writing. It was one of those things that I didn’t intend to do. I started as a way to get out of my head and work through problems. I began to understand the importance of reading my thoughts. I didn’t always know what I was thinking until I wrote it down. I know that sounds strange but its a way for Myself to communicate with me.
I turned 53 today. I remember when my grandpa was 54 and when my dad turned 50 and when my great grandma turned 88. I don’t remember all my birthdays but I remember a lot of them. I turned 11 on an airplane home from London. I turned 16 sitting on the steps of the Paramount theatre watching Risky Business. I turned 5 in my grandparents three season room while my auntie led party games. I turned 50 talking on the phone with an HR recruiter thinking my life was about to change and it did. My 14 birthday was spent jumping off a snag hanging over a creek in Montana and swimming with my family. My 48 birthday was at Cafe Zoetrope in San Francisco eating Francis Ford Coppola’s mediocre Italian food and feeling scared about the impending future. Most birthdays I spend at the Edmonton Fringe Festival with Guys in Disguise laughing my ass off.
Each birthday I was very present. I wanted to remember every moment and for the most part I did. I spent about 8 birthdays wishing certain people would acknowledge me and I spent about 10 birthdays taking for granted those who did. Today I am not at the Fringe. It is named ‘The Fringe that never was’. Covid-19 has changed my life and made it better in many ways. I am sitting in my backyard listening to the kid down the block play his recorder. Some guy is mowing his lawn a few blocks over. Birds are signing to each other in my trees. Apples are hanging low on the tree and my cucumbers are about an inch long on the vine. My pal Cap is lounging on the lawn. The table is set up outside and cleaned for my birthday dinner from Fox Burger. The parents are coming for a visit. This will be my third socially distance visit with humans outside my family since March 15.
Ten years ago I was at the same park I was at for my 50th. It was my brother-in- law’s birthday and my sister included me. I was in the middle of a dark and deep depression before I know I was. I didn’t know what I wanted or what I needed. All I knew was that I wasn’t living it.
I began writing, taking risks and trying to figure out what was wrong with me. One reader left a comment and said, “I think you are depressed and hate your job.” I stared at that comment for a very long time. I am grateful to that reader. They were right. I went back to school, changed careers, tried out some new friends and ran a half marathon and finished it with a stress-fractured foot. I learned I was made of some tough stuff, I loved my family and I had some remarkable people in my life. I figured out my values and removed people from my life who required me to compromise them.
52 was hard. But not as hard as 42. 42 was dark. 43 was darker.
I know 53 will be what I make it.
My plans and goals for 53 are simple:
- Meditate every day. I have meditated every day since December 13, 2016. That equates to 1361 days. It has opened up my world and provided clarity on everything. It is the greatest gift I have ever given myself.
- Practice being mindful and present. It reduces stress and anxiety.
- I will write and finish the YA novel I am working on. It will be my fifth novel. Maybe one day I will get one of these published.
- I will continue to surround myself with people who bring me peace. You know who you are <3.
- Laugh often and hard.
- Tell people why I appreciate them. I started doing this about a year after I began meditating. I don’t always, but I am much better at it.
- Love people even though they aren’t good for me or in my life.
- Love me.
I went to See Oprah when she was in town and she said (I am paraphrasing) “Your 40’s are for figuring out your life. Your 50’s are for practicing your new life and your 60’s are the best you can ever imagine.”
I believe it Oprah.