I turn 38 today! Birthday Blues is a song that my choir sings…a fun, irreverent, slap-dash kind of birthday ode to joy. In this spirit, I’ve decided to bang out a few words about birthdays and birthday blues…
38 feels older (ugh!) and wiser (yay!), yet still full of future possibility. It feels disappointing and irritating, but also with a greater command of knowledge and experience. It still has regrets, but it must also admit to moments of unique pleasures. It’s kind of the twilight thirties, but this latter phase holds much curiosity about what happens next.
38 has awareness of emotional chaos, existential angst, and a sense of where I tend to meet my edge. It has regular coffee dates with doubt and uncertainty. And, it has an extremely resilient ego (remember all that stuff you accomplished in your late teens, twenties and early thirties? What’s up now? DO SOMETHING!!!).
But now, after some years of meditation practice, 38 also brings with it quiet assurance, strength, and some priceless gifts. Not least of these is the constant reminder that awareness conveys— a real sense that now, there isn’t a moment to lose. That whatever I’m doing from this moment on, I don’t want to spend my time being mentally lost: re-doing, re-wishing, and re-playing. And I get the gift of practicing this, right now. Even if it’s for 5 seconds, small enlightenments count big time 🙂
This is all very human, and correcting course is a lifelong journey. Yet, life may be very long or very short. Whether the current flavour is gloriousness or wretchedness, we all have the choice of freedom in the present moment. I have this choice today… in the flip of the Gregorian calendar, from 37 to 38. That’s also freaking awesome…another kind of ode to joy, available at any time 🙂 Happy birthday to me!
Kara Santokie, PhD, is the Executive Director of Real Life Meditation. She teaches mindfulness meditation in Toronto, Canada.