I woke up this morning, and like that, I was 43 years old. I like to keep track of my years, my experiences, my growth as a person on this planet.
Some years, I am successful at this. Other years, not so much.
The year I turned 37, I sold everything I owned, and traveled the world, writing about it daily.
In 2012, I wrote a poem almost every day and posted it online.
I wrote this post when I turned 41 and followed it up with a lot of writing and essays.
Last year, the year I turned 42, my grandmother died a few weeks before my birthday. I wrote about her death in March, and then I didn’t blog again until August, when my baby sister got married. That blank space of almost half a year between posts says a lot about my state of space during that time. It was a year that was filled with a lot of highs and lows, as every year is, but for some reason I felt the rollercoaster of it more deeply than I have probably since I was a teenager.
The highs: Numenera, the game of my heart, won a lot of awards and lots of people had a great time playing it. I love my job. I have a partner who makes me my very best self. We adopted an amazing dog. I lived for the first time ever in a house I owned. My life is full of amazing loved ones. My non-fiction book, “As Kinky As You Wanna Be” came out and is doing well. I had the opportunity to travel and meet some incredible, kind, wonderful people. My little sister, who I love with all my heart, got married and I was her maid of honor. My little brother is following his dream of becoming a police officer. My dad retired, finally, from his job as an engineer and is getting to do some of the things he loves best — being outside, building and making things, spending time with family.
The lows: The world is in a bad place–global warming, ISIS, wars small and large, discrimination and hatred and killings. The world is always in a bad place, I know, but this year felt particularly big and hard and unsolvable. The Internet, a place I loved, a place I felt at home in for so many years — is no longer a safe place for myself and for so many others. Shaming and blaming, dogpiling, lack of human empathy and understanding, death threats, and more have turned the Internet from a safe haven for misfits like me into an emotionally dangerous land. There was a lot of illness and tragedy and sadness among my friends and family this year. I lost far too many amazing people in my life to cancer this year. Fuck cancer so hard. This year, I dealt with some intense depression (which for me brings a binge-eating disorder and a lot of apathy along with it) — all issues I thought I had overcome long ago, but which reared their horrible heads in the midst of everything.
And I didn’t write very much, even though I promised myself I would. And that, right there, sums up the truth of the year for me. I didn’t write very much. That’s how I know my state of space is fucked up. I didn’t write very much. And that means I can’t change the world for the better. I didn’t write very much. And that means I can’t change myself for the better. It means I am not doing what I believe I exist on this planet to do.
Last year, at 42, I was supposed to be the answer to the life, the universe and everything. I’d waited a long time to turn 42 on 4/2/2014. The numbers promised so much. In the end, it turned out I was the answer to nothing. It was my year to be the question instead. Being the question is hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just wasn’t what I was prepared for. I learned a lot, held my seat a lot, listened a lot. I fought hard, sometimes about the wrong things. And sometimes I gave up on the right things. Tough years teach us a lot, and one of things this past year taught me was that I am invincible, fierce, and powerful, even in the midst of difficulty. Perhaps especially so.
43 is a weird number, in the middle of things, half-prime, descending, the interrobang of numbers, sort of this, sort of that, a rhetorical exclamation. I am going in half-cocked this year, like a gun that’s stuck between the mantle and the hand that strokes it. I am going to live fast and dye my hair. I am going to bury the seeds of what could be with no expectation that they will grow. I am going to make promises I can’t keep, because I believe in the power of desires that extend beyond my reach. I will sing to the mermaids when they will not sing to me. I will measure out my life with kisses and coffee spoons and points of punctuation on the page.
Because this is the love song of me.
Do I dare disturb the universe?
Yes. Yes, I fucking do.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.
Loved your thoughts and words. Today is my 43rd birthday. I too am reflecting …..
I googled “on turning 43” & it lead me here. I’m turning 43 next week and I need a moment to pause. Thank you for your words. Since your post last year, violence has gotten worse, along with other global concerns. But I’m still hopeful. “Don’t panic”. -HGTG
I always see one year passing as the chance to make the next even better. Each time the world kicks me I kick back harder, stronger and faster. Gotta improve to be a better person and every day this year that is my goal. Be better as a person, as a friend, as family member but most of all be better to myself.
Keep kickin the universe in the ass!
whatever path you choose …the medals and sufferings are same…my grand dad planted a mango tree and we all eat them now …put some seed in earth or in this universe that will give fruits even after ur physical disarray ….love from himalyayas
A whole bunch of “yep” in here. My 45 looks at your 43 and says you’re doing exceptionally well. Proceed with the being of you.