It’s my birthday today. I turn 46. It’s not a BIG birthday, but this birthday puts me in the official position of being closer to 50 than 40. Holy time-warp Batman! How did that happen?
It’s so strange to ponder age and what we think specific ages mean or remember back to what we thought they meant when we were children and young adults. Just even writing the term ‘young adults’ makes me feel wise. Mature.
It’s ironic to have those occasional moments of truly feeling my age when my circumstances and choices the past 5 years have led me down a path that actually makes me feel younger every year. It’s a little bit like I’m living my life backward, Benjamin Button style. I started out as the well paid corporate employee with a mortgage and a car and have slowly morphed into an artist with a tiny house who is attempting to earn her living through a myriad of side-hustles that will hopefully eventually pay the bills.
When I left my corporate gig in 2015, a lot of people admired me for having the guts to JUMP. To leave the ‘safe and known’ and head out into the wilds of the ‘yet to be determined.’ Now, after being back in Portland for over a year, I still encounter people who want to know how I am able to live in the way that I do… i.e. without a full-time job. I have no answer for them. To be totally honest, I am still very much in mid-jump. I haven’t landed yet. I am flying through the air trying to figure out the best position to configure myself in so I don’t break both my legs. It’s thrilling and terrifying. Everything is possible but nothing is certain.
I remember very vividly as a teenager being convinced by my elders that my desired pursuit of art would be fraught with insecurity and poverty. I made the logical decision, the wise decision and put my art aside. Now, more than thirty years later, I am back in my gangly teenage body, making the heart decision, the gut decision, to forge ahead. I feel like I’m on the cusp of adulthood, clasping my dream to my chest, heart beating in my ears. Anxious. Excited. My mind races. I can do this! I can do this! … Shit! What the f*@k am I doing? This isn’t something one should attempt at 46! Right? I freak out. Then I breathe deeply and return to what I know to be true.
Even though I am often anxious, and terrified, and feeling ALL the feelings, I do feel like I am living in a fuller way than I ever have before. Every morning I wake up and work on projects and business ideas that center around the things I actually love to do. I have no idea what is going to happen next year or next month or even next week, but I feel the blood rush through my veins and the butterflies in my stomach and I wonder if this could be the elixir of youth. Stepping every day into the unknown while viscerally feeling the dizzying rush of trying to follow your heart.
So here goes another trip around the sun. I’m 46. I will trust that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and this crazy winding path will transform my heart, mind, and spirit in ways I can’t even imagine. On this path nothing is certain, but everything is possible.