I look back at the many years of my life that I devoted to "What if?" Living in fear of what may come to pass. Only in retrospect have I come to realize that all that fear of impending doom, all the anxiety and negativity was for naught, other than to rob me of the opportunity to experience the positive pleasure and full potential that was rightly mine for the claiming.
I have no time for that today. I don't live recklessly, but, I certainly don't deny myself certain pleasures because it may cause me to burn when I pee.
As I've said countless times. I'm at an age where I'm facing the laws of diminishing returns. This does not make me a fatalist with a pessimistic outlook on life. I see myself as pragmatist wish an infallible positive outlook on the future. But, I'm realistic. Look, I realize that were I happen to get a misspelled tattoo on my ass today, that I would in fact have to live with it for the rest of my life. But, just how many years are we talking here? It's only a matter of time before the only ones that will see it is the nurse that's changing me or the mortician.
Get out there and have raise Hell!
encounter a person that expresses some dread regarding the fact that they are
facing a birthday that will mark the milestone of another decade of living.
They're seemingly filled with dread at
the prospect of turning 40, 50,or 60. However, I've observed that by the time
70, 80, or even 90 is on the horizon, they're often inclined to approach it
with a sense of amused anticipation and pride.
I may have had a
twinge of trepidation as I turned 40, but it was soon replaced by acceptance
and even a bit of braggadocio. Turning 50 was fantastic. For a few weeks prior to hitting the
half-century mark and for several months subsequent to the event, I was
actually almost giddy. I had arrived. I
wanted to announce to the whole world; "I'M FIFTY!!" I actually felt
as though I had accomplished something, that I had fooled the House, beaten the
odds. Here I was, living in San Francisco, in a lovely apartment with a view of
the entire city and bay. I'd already
been six years with a wonderful man, enjoying the most functional dysfunctional
relationship of my life. We're still together, today he's my husband and day by
day we continue to grow more steadfastly entrenched in the quagmire of
codependent enmeshment that we prefer to consider "unconditional love.
"Hell, turning 50 was like a slap in the face to all of those naysayers,
myself included, that said I'd never live to see the day, much less be happy
In the ensuing
years, I've went on to observe more subtly nuanced changes in my attitude
towards aging. At some point at around
55, I came to the realization that all of those things I had most feared in
life, all of those "what if's" that filled me with fear and dread had
pretty much lost their potential to create even a bit of anxiety.
Cancer, HIV, disability, relationship issues, being alone, wearing
diapers… You realize that some have
already come to pass, and you've survived. And, the looming threat of those
that haven't have ceased to consume you. Even if they were to manifest, you realize
that you have the skills and degree of acceptance to deal with it. Hell if I do
end up in diapers, it's hardly my problem, it's not likely that I'll be trusted
with the task of changing them.
I was giving all of
these thoughts a bit of mental bandwidth this morning as I was involved in my
morning ritual of coffee, observation, rumination, and procrastination. I
realized that I've have pretty much reached this sense of balance, a sort of
emotional/spiritual Feng Shui within. A calm place where the fears of
"What If?" have succumbed to
"So What." I've honestly yet
to clarify whether So What is actually a question or a declaration. I think it
may be both. This is not the cavalier or defiant "so what" of youth
or ignorance. Not a "so what" of tempting fate, or the arrogance of "come on Life, give it
your best shot. I can take it."
It's not even a "so what" of insipid and apathetic
indifference, or resignation.
It's a "So What" of gratitude, of faith, of confidence and
security. It's knowing that in the very
depths of my being that once again, I am part and parcel of all that I've ever
been, and prepared to take on the experiences that will lead to being all that
I will ever be.