Waves recede towards the sunset light on a beach near Oceanside, Oregon.
I've never cared about 'getting older' or crossing age thresholds. I've always been a firm believer that age is just a number and that as long as you're having fun, following your heart, and making it a point to experience life.. then who cares?
But recently it's been on my mind. In a couple years I will on my 40th trip around the sun. And so I think about it. Not in the 'OH MY GOD I'M GETTING OLLLLD!!!!" kind of way.. but more the "I really need to prioritize what I want to do with my life and where I want to be" kind of way. I think of the days passing, the punching of the clock, the bills, the money.. you know.. life. And nothing throws it directly in my face like watching my son get older. The progression in his learning.. his life experiences. The dude can READ now. And he reads WELL. Thinking back to when I was excited that he could finally hold his head up, or grab the cookie on his highchair, or crawl, then walk, then run, then climb, then parrot the things he hears, and then come up with them on his own, and then be able to hold a conversation with him, and then being amazed that he is so well spoken, and then kindergarten, losing his teeth, and then first grade, and then prom, and then graduating high school... and then.. wait.. I'm getting ahead of myself here. But I'm sure you get my point. The days are ticking. He keeps getting older and I constantly tell myself that I'm staying the same age.
But we know that's not true. Thus is the state of my mind lately and it wasn't helped (or was it) when a friend showed concern of turning 30. She asked me how I dealt with it. I told her the story of a man named Dick Proenneke (I highly recommend watching his documentaries 'Alone in the Wilderness'). This man moved to a remote part of Alaska to live in the wilderness. Alone. He built his cabin with his bare hands, felling the trees himself and even carving the hinges for the door out of a stump. He gathered gravel from the lakebed to use as his floor. He hunted for his food and a couple of times a year had some supplies flown in which he bought with gold that he had panned from nearby streams. He lived there for 30 years. One of the entries in his journal states "I wonder if there's anyone else in the world as free and happy as I was." I'm not positive, but after watching the series about him dozens of times, I imagine that he felt as though his life BEGAN when he moved to Alaska. Here's the catch, though: He was 56 when he made that decision.
That kind of puts it into perspective for me. We're getting older.. but we have the option to start living our lives NOW. I know that's easier said than done.. especially when you have a six year old. But there's a fire inside that burns deep. It's a very strong desire to spend my life living EXPERIENCES.. whether good or bad. I'm fine with living life on life's terms, but the key word for me is LIVING. Punching the clock, worrying about money, my credit score, having the things in life that I'm 'supposed' to have.. the material belongings.. that's not LIVING.. that's life.
I don't know about you.. but I'm over it. I'm going to do my best to not let life get in the way of living. Burn on. Photo © copyright by TJ Thorne.