In typical fashion, I joined the party late.
At sixteen, a dear grown-up from my past called me a “late bloomer” and that, my friends, has never changed. I chuckled at the continuity of this concept as I “followed” an “Over Forty Blogger’s Club” at Never Growing Old today.
Do the math folks. Not only am I over forty. I’m over the next one too. In the early stages, sure, but not just over it either. And for those of you who think the idea of being fifty-something is a distant happenstance for you--just wait. God willing, one day, you too will turn around and say, “How in the hell did I get here?”
That said, I have discovered the bonus about living through this landmark age arrives on board an unswerving conviction that it is no longer a good idea to waste time. In all likelihood, life is more than half over so it's imperative to get cracking—in a manner additional to those cap-gun explosions that occur between the joints.
To some degree, I’m a cliché. Twenty-three years with a company and kicked to the curb at fifty. As soon as I landed though, this writing thing hollered from behind locked walls. When it yelled, “Who the hell cares if you’re 50? I've been trapped in here for ever, waiting for you to produce a key. In case you didn't notice, they handed it to you, dummy, use it,” I decided to listen.
So here I am, surrounded by these lush words ripening in me, and I brush through them, trying to find the sweetest ones. Like someone tending a first garden, as I encounter a plump, berry of a word, it charges me up, makes my mouth water and I reach out, pluck and taste, rolling my eyes at the succulence.
The thing is, these last sixteen months have been such a time of growth and discovery that when I step from that garden and remember that I'm not new, that my upper arms jiggle, (my darling daughter loves to set them swinging) and my eyelids droop (thankfully the glasses hide that most of the time), I’m surprised. How can this aging exterior be mine, when inside, I’m fresh and shaking with eagerness?
A further dose of reality appears in the words of so many other aspiring writers, years younger than me. Through their styles and use of idiom, it becomes ever clearer that as green as I may be, I am of another time, of a previous generation-- someone who would be mocked at for using words like “squee” and “awesomesauce," no matter that they make me smile. I mean, let's be honest here. Half the time I have to resort to Google to understand text-speak acronyms. ROTFL, right?
On bad days, this makes me feel more out of it, as left behind as ever.
But then I straighten my shoulders, in spite of the fact that they may be creaking, and slog ahead. Some people accomplish their goals at 20, 35 or 42. Some people reach them when they are 70, or 83. Here's to learning that it doesn't matter how old you are. Just keep dreaming the dreams and then slap on some Bengay and limp on out there and reach them.
A quote from Buddha on the header from Never Growing Old says it all: “Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters most.”
So I may be 51, but today, I’m brand new. And I’m going to write.