I’m going to be 49 soon. In one week. If I were to consult an actuarial table, I would be certain to learn that more than half my life has already passed.
Since I started writing this online diary and reading others’ blogs regularly, I’ve tried to keep an honest perspective about a variety of circumstances that weave through my daily existence. And then a bit earlier today, I read an essay by Katrina at Ordinary Day Journal. It made me recall a watershed moment in my life that opened my vision to see an alternate path. One that I eventually took years later.
As a youngster, and even as a young adult, I had the feeling that I somehow stood apart from the rest of the population. And not in a bad way, like I had body odor, but in a secretly special way. As though I had some unique talent, skill or intelligence that one day, the world would acknowledge. In the meantime, I worked really hard to accelerate my career. Honest to goodness hard work. But, I don’t know, in the back of my mind the thought was always there – what I was doing now was merely a resume entry for the grandeur that would surely come next.
However, one day it occurred to me that my life was exactly as it appeared to be. I was not being considered for a Nobel Prize, was not an esteemed author, a notable composer, nor an accomplished entrepreneur. The word that bounced around inside my head was mediocre.
It sounds considerably harsher now than it felt at the time. But it was as though an old fashioned alarm clock had started ringing. Noisy and persistent. Pay attention—this is your life! I had a middle-class American life. Nothing to either brag about or feel ashamed of. But since I was subconsciously waiting for the proverbial red-carpet moment for my life to begin, I let my days slip past without much notice. Until that alarm clock bell.
I don’t have all of life’s answers, because I am still learning, still finding the questions along each day’s journey. Like Katrina, and so many other bloggers that keep my perspective in check, the best I can do is acknowledge the present moment steeped in as much gratitude and joy as I can locate in my heart. And thankfully, I find that it is overflowing with both. Gratitude produces joy, which produces more gratitude.
As I read in a birthday card once, the gift of this day is the day itself. So, bring on 49. I am almost humbled to tears that I have had so many days to live and breathe, walk and talk, smile and love. And my gratitude escalates with each additional day.