My mom sent me a wonderful birthday card. It's been a while since a card made me cry. This one did. One of the things it mentioned was surviving hard times. I'd like to say life has been easy, but the truth is, it hasn't. I've survived a lot of losses. I've survived the cruel actions of others. I've survived my own mistakes. I've survived a world that sometimes isn't pleased to have some one like me around.
Birthdays, like other milestones, have always prompted me to do some self-examination.
Here is a bald fact: I'm not where I would like to be in my life.
But that doesn't really bother me as much as it may have in the past.
This is going to be a year of change. I don't know why I know that but I do. I can feel myself changing. I have several projects in the works that I think will change things. But I'm also talking about my own personal development (a loaded word, but let's just not worry about deconstructing it in this context).
With aging I've found myself being able to let go of things much more easily. People's foibles still piss me off, but I don't spend much time on it. I don't feel the need to change everything around me. I can live and let live. To add one more cliche: I don't sweat the small stuff.
I'm also more gentle on myself. Most of my life I've felt like I needed to control my environment as a way to protect myself. This was an illusion, of course. Life is too complex to be able to control it. I am not perfect. In fact, much of the interesting experiences I've had come from mistakes.
Monday, a friend of mine and I went out to Lake Mead Recreational Area near Vegas looking for a place to shoot a film project in the desert. We got lost. There are only 2 major roads in the park and yet we got lost. But in getting lost we had a blast! Adventures are like that. (Picture is of some new friends we made while lost.)
The biggest change in my 53rd year was increased mobility. My scooter acquisition in December changed my life (thanks Modest Needs and Brad at Scooterville). I've read the research and I knew that a better quality of life is almost always the result of increased mobility. But I didn't realize what that really meant until this year. My health and well being has greatly improved with this mobility. I didn't realize how reclusive I'd become until I got the scooter and started going out again.
So where do I want to go this year?
Well my creative juices are getting more demanding. I've got art oozing and I'm having trouble not going with the flow. I probably will stop fighting it and just see where it leads. I look forward to collaborting with Carl and seeing his art grow as well.
I'm freelancing again and finding my love for writing renewed. Not that I have ever shut up, but it does feel nice to be a paid writer again. I hope to do more of this.
I'm also going to be an entrepreneur again and a new business start will take up a lot of time. I hope it will also mean a lot more money.
I've settled into teaching and I am loving the role more with each passing semester. I'm going to teach a "late night" class in the Fall and I'm looking forward to seeing what is different about such an experience.
I'm going to try to learn Spanish. That will probably be the most challenging thing I do this year. Definitely out of my comfort zone.
Some other things are in the fire as well. So, at the very least I will be busy.
Where do I imagine myself on my 54th Birthday?
My goal is to spend next summer in a cooler climate. If things go really well, it will be camping in my totally accessible and totally green, environmentally sound RV. But that realistically may not happen by next summer. But I think a two month break from the desert is realistic. So this time next year I'm hoping for a cool, green day surrounded by trees.
I don't think that's a lot to ask out of life.