Friday, July 25, 2008

39, not 40!



Don’t even think about it! I still have one more year left before I turn forty; today I am only 39 (and I still have until 11:42 PM before that happens!). Forty, it is not as scary as I thought it would be. Granted, this is not what I pictured my life would be at this point. I imagined myself being in different place, hell, a different state at least! Houston, Texas is definitely not the imagined background for my midlife. I also did not picture myself being single again, living in an apartment or back in debt. Sometimes it can be really hard not to compare myself to others my age (or those even a decade younger) who have more, who are more settled, more financially secure with a ring on their finger. To steal a line from my fictitious alter ego: I can help, but wonder, ‘Why them, but not me?’

I guess the simplest explanation it would be: the difference in the choices we have made. I also know opportunity and luck can play part also, but it really comes down to choices. The choices I made have put me where I am, but so have the concessions that I have refused to make. I may not have a large house, a loving partner, a fancy car, an executive career, or even a real college degree, but I know the life I have lived and all that I have experienced would not have taken place if I had simply chosen to follow leader. I also know I have experienced more than most I know, and for that I am glad.

As I get older and I hope wiser, I am starting to see how perception is just as important as choices. When I start comparing myself to others, I have to stop and really ask myself 2 questions.

1) These people and their accomplishments or possessions, is it real or an illusion? Is their life really that great? Does that really equal them have more value or be happier than myself?

2) Even if they really do have everything, so what? That is their life, not mine. And really would I want to live their life rather than my own? No, not really.

As I stated earlier, the choices I made have put me where I am. It is true; I don’t have a large house, a loving partner, fancy car, an executive career, or blah, blah, blah. So what, I still have so much. I have loving friends that are family to me, that are always true to me. We can count on each other no matter what bad choices we make. My life would be a hollow shell without them. I am also lucky that my own blood family truly loves me, flaws and all. We may not be the Brady family, but it works. And I have my home which is my irrepressible Tallulah, and ever faithful Beaux, they will never be just dogs for me, they are my children. These are the things that matter, and the things that are true. I guess if I wanted those other things, I would have made the choices it would take to get them. For now at 39 I don’t have them, and that is ok. Who knows things may look a whole lot different at 40. Until then, I will try to live each day with integrity, and forgive myself when I fall short.

So life is good and this is a Happy Birthday for me. Thanks to all of you that make my life so special and worth waking up in the mornings.
Take care,
-Steven

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