Four days from 40

Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I read this, this morning, and, well... Related.

I am four days from 40 years old and that's both irrelevant and totally pertinent.

I just get this. I want someone else to make me do what I am capable of. There are all kinds of things to which I sometimes aspire of which I am incapable. For example, I'd love to be able to eat anything I wanted without (a) overindulging, (b) suffering any digestive difficulty, (c) gaining weight, or (d) remaining preoccupied with what I'd eaten (or didn't) for hours or days afterwards -- this isn't going to happen. And today, I'm okay with that. I can't eat whatever I want without suffering for it in a hundred ways. Okay. Got it.

Also, I'd love to be able to make a living as a singer-songwriter. I love singing. LOVE it. And when I'm in the flow of it, I love writing songs. But I don't read or write music, I don't play any instruments, and it ain't likely anyone is going to pay to hear me sing anytime soon. This, too, I can live with as a fact of my life without feeling angst about it.

Really, this list goes on and on. I'd love to be able to trim my own bangs without looking like a victim of Edward Scissorhands' mentally disabled pet monkey. I've tried many times, but the technique escapes me. I'd love to be able to train as a boxer again -- but two babies later and my body's torn up. Some things just aren't going to go back together the way they were before and the effect is that I can't train without causing greater damage to parts of my body I rather enjoy having functional. I'd love to be able to do the splits -- or a pull-up -- or a handstand -- or a cartwheel. Now, possibly those things would be do-able in time -- with help. Training, etc.

You get what I'm saying. There are many things I'd like to be able to do -- some of which are impossibilities, and some of which are things that perhaps I could someday do with lots of practice and help -- but right now, I can't. I lack the skill, the know-how, the physical preparation, the practice, the magical powers... etc.

In any case, that's not the kind of thing Ralphie-boy is even talking about. Or at least, that's not how I heard it.

I want someone to make me do the things that I can do. Keep the house clean(er). Write a little something every day. Meditate. Practice the guitar for 15 minutes. Get daily exercise. Take a minute to recognize how profoundly blessed my life is -- how beautiful life is in all its forms. Dedicate at least an hour each day to doing something very intentionally with my kids, something that's for their education, entertainment, physical joy, curiosity, compassion and/or imagination...

After forty years, one hopes to be wiser. I don't know. One hopes to have taken herself in hand somewhere along the line and recognized this simple fact: There isn't anyone else who can make me do the things I can do but me. I'm it. The only savior who's coming.

That it's myself from whom I need saving is both totally pertinent and irrelevant.

Here we are and this is it. I am soon to be "officially" middle-aged. What I want for my birthday is some wisdom.


  1. The wisdom you seek is what you have written. Happy 40th my dear friend! I hope I can look as fantastic as you do when the clock strikes 4-0.