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On Birthdays: Older, Wiser or Neither?

Today is my birthday. Oh, yes, thank you.
It’s been a pretty uneventful (and practically unproductive) day, but that wasn’t unexpected. Fortunately, the day isn’t over yet, so there is still *some* hope, but I wouldn’t place any bets! LOL
You see, I generally don’t do much on my birthday. Why? Let’s discuss…

I try not to plan much for the day around my birthday — this includes time to do fun things. It’s not that I have anything against fun or don’t want to, but I like to use this day as a time to reflect.

Over the course of the past months (well, the past three years, really), I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’ve been, where I am now and where I am going. Overall, it’s been a sobering examination. I am not unhappy with where I am, but I do realize that I am getting older, not necessarily wiser and that my time grows shorter with each passing day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fixated on my own mortality, but I am very aware of it. It’s definitely not the abstract concept it was in my younger days. I am thinking a lot about how the rest of my life might go, what I intend to accomplish and what it is going to require of me.

This includes the people I will be related to, resources I will need, what I have the physical and mental capacity to do, etc. For me, this isn’t a “sit around and ponder your navel” exercise. Quite the contrary, it’s an active inspection that will result in certain changes being made in how I live my life. In a certain sense, this has been underway and I have already made some changes — more changes will follow! I am reexamining my priorities and where I am going to invest my time and attention. I am no longer willing to just do what I’ve always been doing, especially if the value from it is suspect and/or questionable.

I am considering questions like:

  • What is the set of real interests that I am going to do something about?
  • Where do I see it all going and what’s my fit with that?
  • Who am I going to be related to? How?
  • etc.

That’s been the flavor of the things that I’ve been considering today. I am at a point in life where there are no “obvious answers” and these aren’t (necessarily) part of where I am going. Even if there were, I’m not sure that they’d be right or fitting with the next phase of my life. That said, there are many things that I am starting to come to grips with about who I am, what I want in my life and how I’d like things to be. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, what of this I will succeed and fail at, what relationships will/won’t last, but that’s not the point. I cannot know that with any degree of real certainty — it all will play out over time. Yet, I know that I am not just “along for the ride.” Those days are behind me now.

I have a better sense today of who I am, where I am going and who I want around me as this story unfolds. I am also clearer about what I don’t want in my space, how I don’t want to be treated and what I’m not willing to be a party to. In the past, I let a lot of that slide, as if it were something that I would “work out the details later.” Well, later doesn’t necessarily come. Even if it does, I’ve not had a good track record of recognizing that later is now and that there’s something up to be addressed. So, I am not planning on waiting around for things to magically work out. It’s time to get to work. My days of settling are done.

I am certainly older. I may not (necessarily) be wiser. I am paying attention. I will give it everything I’ve got.

We’ll see where it goes and how it turns out.