On the Eve of 53

I’ve always been somewhat of a late-bloomer, venturing into new experiences a bit out of sync with what may be considered the norm or at a different pace than that of my peers.  Tomorrow I turn 53 years old, and, as usual, birthdays offer an opportunity for reflection.  I wonder what will shape this next year, this next period of my life, the next steps along the way?

Last week, my daughter, who turns 17 later this summer, opened the door for this reflective moment. She said, in the midst of a conversation about choices, “dad, you should just do what you want to do…what you want to do for you.”  Her emphasis on you took me back about 18 years when, after having a heart-felt conversation with my sister about a decision with which I was struggling, Deb called out to me as I was leaving her house walking through her yard to the back gate:  “hey, Vinnie, it’s your life…live it.”  Deb’s voice offering that advice has stayed with me for 18 years, echoing through my mind and serving as a guidepost, in a way, for different decisions along this journey.

So today, as an adult with responsibilities (responsibilities I am happy to meet: those of parenting, those of a demanding job, those with financial ramifications), I am reminded again that I have the choice to create my life — and then the opportunity to fully live that life.  It’s different on the eve of 53 then it was at 35 or 25 — because of the responsibilities to others and the ripple effects that one’s decisions have on others.  I guess, ultimately, it comes down to making the choices that we will — then living out those choices as passionately as we can.  And I am neither naive nor a polly-ana.  I know that living “life on life’s terms” means facing the challenges that each day brings and meeting the responsibilities that come with this life.  I also know, though, that it is possible to experience “the joy of living — even under pressure and difficulty.”  Down which path will I walk:  the path that reveals a life rich with possibility and joy or the one that only sees the pressures and difficulties?

So on this eve of my 53rd year, my hand poised to open the metaphorical gate of Deb’s back yard, I consider the balance of making the choices to “live it” fully with the inherent responsibility of adulthood. I will trust this to be true:  “live from your own center.”

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