I’m 40!

By the time these words reach the world, I will be more than half-way through my 40th year on the planet.

I am 40, ya’ll! Saying that still feels weird to me. Surprising. It seems like I was in my early 30s just five minutes ago. But, the old saying is totally true: Life moves so much faster the older you get.  This year is certainly flying by. And, I am no totally sure that I am keeping up with it. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as saying that I have some serious anxiety about growing older. I got plenty of issues, but luckily, a fear of aging ain’t one of them.  After all, there are really only two options: You get another birthday. Or you don’t. And, so far, aging – even with my now, non-existent metabolism, the fact that I can no longer EVER find my keys, all these grey whiskers, and my inability to consistently recognize anyone who made music after 2003 – is better than the alternative. But, while I don’t have anxiety about aging, the truth is, as I was approaching 40, it became more and more clear to me that I was playing it safe in certain areas of my life. Most obviously as a writer. I was always a bit afraid to put the effort into developing and sharing that talent and passion to the degree I knew I could. Going hard, giving it my all, would mean risking a kind of failure I have spent my entire life avoiding. There’s this poetry/spoken-word project that has been sitting in my head and in the pages of my journals for more than twenty years now. That’s right, more than half my fucking life. For many reason, 40 seemed like the perfect time to finally go for it. OBJECTS IN THIS REARVIEW, my first collection of poetry in three years, was released in January of this year, right on my birthday. It’s the first volume of a three-part project. And, I think some of my most personal, vulnerable, and honest work to date. It was my most challenging writing process. But, the challenges don’t end there. The remaining to aspects of the vision for this project involve me sharing my work in ways I have never done before. Most of these ways are far outside my comfort zone. I’ve been terrified and uncomfortable all year. But, in the best possible way. And, as scary and uncomfortable as working on and sharing this project has made me, it has also been freeing. I hope that sense of freedom comes through in the work. I hope the art that comes from this connects with people. I hope experiencing OBJECTS IN THIS REARVIEW in its entirety does for people what creating has been doing for me. It’s as if I suddenly woke up to the existence of all these new possibilities of my life: The love. The adventures. The healing. The joy. The risks that could get me hurt or leave me disappointed. The faith that I can survive any hurt and disappointment. The wisdom that avoiding going after the hard stuff I want to do with my life hasn’t spared me a single tear. It just separated me from my purpose. Kept me from my fullest life. Working on this project has been an awakening to all of that. Figuring out how to turn that awakening – those insights – into real life has not been fun. At least, not all the time. It’s a complex work in progress. I am 40. Time is flying. Most days, I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. But, I feel present. And awake. And honest. And willing to do scary stuff. And willing tomess up and be kind to myself about messing up as long as I learn from the mess. Because, I think, at 40, I finally see, that is the only way to make the most out of my life. That’s the only way I know how to live it freely.