The old man and I are going to a rap show tonight. And before you say I’m too old for that kind of thing I will let you know that the people performing in the rap show are all older than me (thanks Wikipedia). Barely…some only by days so they are my age. And if they can drink whiskey and perform at said rap show then I can enjoy it…And then go immediately home and fall into bed.
Lately I’ve been feeling old. Like past the point of being cool and might as well settle into my life as I know it and ride it out…old. Un-inspired. Unmotivated. Un-everything. Too afraid to make drastic changes but bored to tears by tiny ones. So I sit. Getting older. Odd pains in my body and forgetting crap all the time.
But when my Google calendar reminds me and I battle the aches and pains in my joints and I drag myself out into the world for a rap show or a live podcast taping or a writing class or an art show then I see all these amazing people. Amazing women. Amazing men. Who are constantly reinventing themselves and never settling for the status quo and are changing tiny parts of the world all by themselves. And through some brilliant fate they are all my age. Not old at all. Definitely not destined to sit on the sidelines and get older.
So what is it then? Old is not a number. If all these people don’t feel old and dusty then the actual numerals that make up the years they have been earthside isn’t a definition of old. Old is a mentality. It’s a giving up. It’s deciding that I’m done striving and I’m done learning and I’m settled.
And all this un-inspired, un-motivated, un-everything I am feeling? It’s really just unsettled. And my personal philosophy is that when people are unsettled its time for change. Those drastic changes I am afraid of. Not the tiny boring ones (but a tattoo or purple hair might not be out of the question).
I’ll leave it here because I don’t have any more answers. I don’t know what change is ahead of me. I don’t know where I want to take this but its comforting to not feel old and dusty and stuck.
And because it’s the day before Thanksgiving I will send a shout-out to my husband who I am always immensely thankful for and who gets super terrified when I talk like this but always supports the changes I make in my life. Don’t worry, hun, I don’t think I’m quitting my job to drink whiskey and rap. I’m not good at either of those things.
Also, much gratitude to the rappers…artists…podcasters…writers I’ve found who motivate me to reinvent and get un-stuck in my oldness.
We woke up on that Sunday morning and it became clear early on that “No” wasn’t going to work for either of us that day.
It started simply. I said, “Yes”, to her request to wear her My Little Pony pajamas that day.
I said, “Yes”, to the second TV show.
I said, “Yes”, to wearing her princess dress and ALL the accessories to run our errands (over the My Little Pony Pajamas, of course).
I never set an intention to say yes all day but we were on a roll. I didn’t realize just how much joy this yes day would bring to both of us and perfect strangers as well.
Maybe I’m now blinded to the magic of seeing children living out their heart’s desires through their clothing choices. I’m regularly treated to princesses and super heroes in my own home. I didn’t expect that most people we passed would at minimum smile or even stop to tell “Her Majesty” how much they adored her crown or dress. But smile they did and stop they did and I could see the pride in Elodie’s confident posture as she strolled through the farmer’s market in full royal attire with matching princess bear in her arms. The musician playing for the shoppers welcomed the “Farmer’s Market Princess” to the dance. Our farmer friend who supplies our family with meat each month told me that she absolutely made his day. And the smiles on the faces of those we passed showed that we were bringing a little joy to their hearts.
There are one-thousand reasons to say no each day, many of them necessary for safety, but given the freedom to say yes, I found myself experiencing a different kind of joy: less anxiety, less fighting, less stress and a lot more fun.
Ten years ago yesterday the 35W bridge in Minnesota collapsed. Ten years ago I frantically tried to get through busy cell phone lines to reach my fiancé and his brother who would have crossed the bridge to go to their MBA classes at the Carlson School of Management. Ten days later I would marry my fiancé in a beautiful ceremony with a really fun party afterward. Three years later we would be divorced.
Yesterday as the media covered the ten year anniversary of the bridge collapse I felt a lot of emotions as I remembered that it is coming up on the ten year anniversary of my first marriage. With all that on my heart I heard exactly the right thing from a 1 minute segment of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast titled “My Daughter’s Ex-boyfriend’s Mother Found the Right Words to Say”. The message was, “Sometimes, it’s hard to put into words the exact nature of a loving relationship. ‘You’ll always have a place in my heart’ says it all.”
Despite where we ended there was love and there was happiness. There were so many memories made. Mistakes were made big and small. The divorce was inevitable for many reasons. And right for so many more. I have grown and I have learned. I am happy and in the right place and I hope that he is too. I’ve struggled for a long time to put into words how I want to convey that time in my life and those people I shared it with. My ex, his family, our friends. People that I think of from time to time but don’t have contact with anymore.
“You’ll always have a place in my heart” does say it all.
So I’m throwing this out to the universe of the interwebs. I don’t know who it will reach or where it will go. If it reaches the right people, just know that you do have a place in my heart and you always will. I wish you happiness, health and peace.