Yesterday I got a tattoo on my inner thigh. It is a piece of script. I am not going to share what it says. It’s very personal. It came to be as a friendship tattoo with a person I met just around a month ago. We have become fast friends, making a type of connection I wasn’t really sure I was capable of doing any more nor the type I thought I wanted and especially not one I thought I needed. The same night I met this incredible woman I lamented that my social circle was too much for me to handle as I approach 40 which I will turn in less than a week.
I quite meant it when I said that I could not longer keep up with my social circle. At 40, honestly, I’m way late to the growing up stages of life. This was entirely on purpose on my behalf to be sure. Growing up is not something I ever wanted to do. But at some point last year, this fact was going to become inevitable. Aside from a need to care for my body, my needs were changing. More importantly, what I want from this life is changing. The people around me, beautiful as they are, want other things in for their life right now. That is totally awesome. It’s even sad to have to leave activities behind that you once reveled in and with it some of the people that came with those. But partying and writing novels and stories can not happen simultaneously. Least not so far as I have been able to practice it.
When I moved to Albuquerque in late 2010 I was 33. I was unemployed. I had all the time in the world and I was starting my life over. I stayed out a lot. I made crappy art (and some okay stuff too), and I met a lot of people many of them younger than me because 33 year olds don’t often hang out a crappy dinners until 2AM. So it was easy to act and feel young again for a while. I went to shows, I went to parties, I tried to be the sober driver most of the time, sometimes I didn’t. I slept on couches, on floors, the occasional bed. I lived my 20’s in my 30’s and I have no regrets about that. Then I almost blew up my heart last summer, right before a tour my band would actually go on, with me thankfully. Things changed. I changed. I wanted to change.
Growing up means different things for me than I think most people go through. I’m not having a crisis in the typical sense. For one I have no kids, I am not married, nor even in a romantic relationship. My so called “wild oats” do not need sowing. I have done more than enough of that. I do have my laments in that regard for sure. Chasing pleasure, chasing romantic stories and heartbreak, late night drives, always needing to be stimulated and cramming that in like it would one day run out are things I have been having a difficult time letting go of. But I also don’t really want these experiences anymore. Pleasure means something so much different to me.
One thing this new connection taught me is how to appreciate the time that I have while I am in it. The circumstances helped to facilitate this; she’s moving in two days. In meeting her and becoming quite fond of and encumbered by her, I decided that I was going to make the most of every moment she and I were able to share. I was not going to rush to the next meet up and try to create anything in that space. What existed in that time was memorable and special, even if the activity was mundane. What mattered was I got to just enjoy what was there without a spectacle. I have never been more present in my life and that became true with my other relationships too. The time I have is limited, by proxy of life and by the cycle itself. I have learned that pleasure can be derived differently and that spending the time I do have aware of its limited existence where I am concerned makes those moments more important.
And I have shit to do. It can’t be done at 3 AM when I am drunk and across town. Or at 9 AM when I am walking to my car. Or at 2 PM when I am sleeping through the hangover. The time I have to get my work done, the work that is important to me needs to be utilized with more precision. This keyboard under my fingers is the most important thing to me right now. It is where my stories will emerge. It is the place I can live in my creativity, bask in my own imagination and wonder that I have managed to hold on to despite the crass, cold, and sarcasm that growing older seems to beset upon us.
What I value is still true, but how I choose to engage in those values is different now. I am not a hollering, brick throwing, pissed off person anymore. I want to manifest what I hold sacred and share it through words. I want to light that fire of hope in someone else, perhaps a person who is a hollering, brick throwing, pissed off person, to keep going. Moving forward, wanting to live past 40, realizing that it’s clear that if I made it this far then to keeping getting better, keep treating myself better, keep creating only makes sense. This middle ages are not about regret, it’s about getting shit done. It’s time to do it!