At fifty four years on the planet I still feel like a six year old, eager to touch, taste and appreciate. “Jack of all trades, master of none” describes me very well. I am constantly reinventing myself through learning, creative works, changing careers and jobs to meet new people and develop new skills.
I’m not saying that I am a adrenaline junkie, I also have a cautious, angst kind of side. The side whose stomach lurches in line at the U.S. border, even though I’ve done nothing wrong.
When I enrolled in University at forty, my friends both laughed at and marveled at my willingness to drag my two children across campus at midnight to turn in a paper on time. When I used the internet to date, they worried I’d be attacked and and when I finally moved in with the new boyfriend, the keeper, they blushed and twittered at the thought of sex. When I opened FeeFiFoFun Costumes at age fifty, my friends shook their heads at me. “Why would you sell your cottage to open a business?”, they asked. “You should be playing tennis, traveling, reading, working at Williams-Sonoma part time, painting, anything but this”, they opined.
I can’t explain why. It’s like when you are healthy, then suddenly you are sick. You are poor, then suddenly you are rich. You think, how did I get here?
I feel this internal pressure, this pull, this borderline anxious desire to keep putting it out there. I am always surprised when I find myself, I think suddenly, somewhere doing something else.
Sometimes I try to explain it through my genes. My amazing and crappy DNA where half my immediate family has died and if I add their ages together and divide by the number of them, the average age of life expectancy is 58.
It’s not a bucket list I’m going through. It’s not a book entitled 300 Places You Should See Before You Die. It’s just a way I want to feel each day. That I reach for. Not always successfully though.
You know, like a winter day after a long storm. The air is still and the sky is startlingly blue. The sun is so bright. You breath in the crisp air. You hear the crunch of the snow. You marvel at it all. How breathtaking that I am alive and aware in that moment.
How even the terrible moments endured have been exquisite in their pain. That when that terrible moment was released, the realization that the weight of it was opposite and equal to the joyful moments.
Sometimes my six year old self gets into trouble, but it’s never catastrophic or so I’ve learned. I’ve had enough life experiences to know that it can get really really bad, and yet I can still find my way back to myself.
I don’t believe in heaven, not the way it’s explained by religion, but should I find myself in heaven, I expect to be a glimmer of what I am now. I expect that it will, like all those other moments, to be a surprise regardless of whether I arrive at 88 or 58. By cancer, heart disease, or by being hit by a bus. That I will still be like that six year old, eager for the experience and trying to be in the moment.