Saturday, May 01, 2004  

30 until 30...

Perhaps there is something chemically a little off in my brain that I do not fear aging. Adding to my years does not cripple me with desperation. I am not besieged with horror that my fragile mortality is giving way to nature, to time. It is all fine with me. Perhaps because every day I get older I become more and more the kind of person I have always wanted to be.

For whatever reason I some time ago stopped measuring myself in relation to my peers. The successes or the positions of my classmates, or my friends Ė both current and former- and my relative successes and positions do not occupy my thoughts. I realized I am not in a race against anyone for anything. Wherever I am, whatever I have accomplished, whatever things I have acquired are all relative just to me and can only be measured against my expectations. Further, those expectations themselves are not built based on anyone else. You know what you call that? In a word: liberating.

I see people all the time that are striving to achieve and acquire things that are external in nature. They gather up, tally, and compare the sum of what they think defines them against invisible benchmarks that they think defines their class, or age, or gender, or whatever. It is not always the material, these objects people use to account for their worth. I work in an office with some woman who are approaching or have blown past the age of 30 and are unmarried. When compared to women their age they do not have a commitment of love and life. They donít have children. This instills desperation in some, fear in others, and yet some are remarkably pragmatic about where they stand in their life. There are others who are always searching for that next career assignment that will make them feel better. Perhaps they want to be held in a certain light by their colleagues. Whatever the goal, there is this panic to obtain that commitment or attain that position.

I am 30 days from 30 years. And for much of this time the view of the future was fear more than wonder. It was dread more than peace. I worried about collecting all the ingredients that would bake a better life. My dreams were big and my punishments for failing to live those dreams were bigger. But somewhere between there and here the stopwatch I used to measure my current speed in the footrace of becoming the Ideal Mike Haddon just stopped. The importance of my life became more important than the measure of it. So what if I collect days and then gray hairs. Who cares if I outpace and outlive all my old loves and pains, if the sheer number of my years makes insignificant those things that used to matter so much? Am I any less of a success if I donít campaign to be one?

After this will come other milestones. I will see them coming and I will watch them pass, one by one, year after year. My successes will be many. My failures will be as plentiful. And at the end of this life I will hopefully mourn more for the end of these days than the wasting of them. And to live a life you only live to get to the next thing is a waste.

posted by Mike | 6:34 AM
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