Monday, April 18, 2011

What a long, strange trip it's been....

I turned fifty yesterday.

That number feels odd.  Unlike forty, where I relished the idea that I did not have to worry about whether people liked me or not anymore, fifty is disturbing.  I am not sure what its significance is, other than people seem to feel that it is significant.

The Red Headed Menace tells me that my life is half over; he seems to believe I will live to be a hundred.  Lovely child.

I know better.  Part of the reason fifty feels so unsettling is that, without being overly melodramatic, there were times when it was a question as to whether I would live to see forty.  It's a full decade past that, and I'm not sure what to do with myself.

There is the "WTF have I done with my life?", usual for birthdays and New Year's Eve. And the answer is, as always, elusive.  I have made my peace, I think, with the fact that I am not going to be anyone whose name the world at large will ever hear.  I am not going to change the world:  the best that I will be able to do is to enable others to do so.  Since I believe firmly that no one does anything on their own, that we are all connected, I recognize that in itself to be an important task.  Still, given the tools that I was blessed to have, in education and ability, it feels like I have wasted far more opportunities than any one person should have the right to.

There is a different sadness this year.  For various reasons in my personal life, I have become acutely aware of all the people that I have lost track of.  I think of them often; I wonder where they are and how they are doing.  And I wonder if I will find the strength to find them and apologize for ever having let them go.

Maybe that's the task for my next half-century.

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