For some reason, this one really snuck up on me. I of course have known my birthday was coming up for some time. But the number 45 only really struck me a couple of days ago. And it hit me hard enough that I began asking myself if it was really true. Really? 45? Aren’t I only 44? No…1967, that would make this…wow. What is it about our propensity to mark things in 10 year increments, and then find milestones in half of those? Let’s face it, 50 will be a biggie, but 45 puts me on the downside of this decade doesn’t it, and somehow calls for a little greater reflection than the mere 4,3,2 and 1 years that preceded it. It has more weight, more heft, and makes me a little more reflective about where I am at this moment in my life. In some ways, things have never been more stable and certain. I have a wonderful place to live, family and friends, plenty of work to keep me busy. The terms of my life are largely the ones I set. I am smart enough to know that there is no such thing as true security, and to be comfortable in my freelance life, knowing that sometimes there will be an abundance, and sometimes a lack. And not just with work, everything changes — it is the one constant in life, and we are all a part of it.
45 makes me think a lot about the ages of the worlds we occupy, and what that says about our culture. Americans (perhaps more than any other group) are a youth-obsessed nation, in complete denial about death, always attracted to the shiny and new. Even this past weekend’s gay pride made me reflect on that in a number of ways. I have been out long enough, and have participated in enough party weekends to have been a little nonplussed over it. And the idea of going to some all night dance party, which once held such a great appeal to me, now seemed like a lot of effort for not much benefit. But even so, there was a pull, something tugging at me. And that tugging was a wistfulness for something lost in the transition from younger to older. This is where I am right now, and I want to honor it, be honest about it. Every moment in our lives is a new one, a new place, a world in itself. In very real ways we live a new life in every moment, but there is no guidebook, and nor should there be. So who really knows how one should be at any age? When you think about it, it is really strange how we alone among the animals experience time in the way we do, have memories of the past, experience of the present, and project ourselves into the future. But all the experiences I have had have pointed me over and over again to the most striking beauty of the present moment. And in this moment, I see the sun rising (because I am always an early riser), and feel a nice breeze coming in through the window. New York is waking up, I can hear it starting to shake with the movement of people and construction and the flow of traffic. My coffee is in hand, I am standing at my desk writing this, I am thinking about taking a walk, I am alive, and well, and here.