The 50th year

So begins the 50th year of my life; today, May 8, in the year of our Lord, 2015.

Now that doesn’t mean I have turned 50. Not yet. That milestone, God willing, will occur in 365 days — but just like the 52 weeks from the day of my birth was the first year of my life, today I begin the 50th year of my life.

I started this blog because, as I once stated, I felt like I was in the fall season of my life. Sometimes I write for you, the reader. Other times I write for me, the selfish.

Today is about me, so feel free to move on. I’m not here to bore you. I’m just here, trying to find the words.

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And on the first day …

Today, a year away from the big Five-Oh, it feels like winter’s coming. I can almost feel the chill in my bones, even as the spring heat grows toward another summer.

I’m doing what I can to ward things off, I suppose. I’m taking baby-steps toward the future, working on my mental health, my physical health; but it’s not easy.

I guess I’m stacking up the woodsheds of my mind and body in preparation of what is to come.

I’ve spent the last 20 years losing sight of all the tomorrows ahead of me. Instead of who I am (was?), I’ve fallen into the role of what I am — a journalist, a photographer, a writer — and I’ve put my “110 percent” in to that. Day time. Night time. My time.

That’s two decades of having nothing to do with you, but being all about me. There are people who tell me I’ve built a wall around myself and they’re not wrong. I didn’t mean for it to be a “Fuck you!” It’s been nothing more than a “Fuck me!” and it’s cost me a lot. I know that and I regret it. I do.

These days, I’m trying to find a better balance, but it’s not easy.

It was Led Zeppelin who once said, “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run; There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

With 50 fast-approaching though, it feels like time is running out.

And, with apologies to Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham (God rest his soul), “And it makes me wonder.”

I’m often haunted by the past, the choices I’ve made and, on a daily basis, I dance with the ghosts of my history, both the great and the bad. Some of my decisions have been spot on and taken me to great heights, others disastrous with life-altering results.

I have loved with every ounce of my being and been hurt by pain so great it still feels as though the chasm of loss could swallow me whole.

Yes, I know, that’s life in a nutshell.

Live. Love. Learn. (Did you know that was actually a title of a 1937 movie starring Robert Montgomery? Thanks Google).

There are still times when I feel as lost as I did that day when I was 14 and walked into a strange high school for the first time, surrounded by a few friends but many strangers; juggling the balance between fear and excitement of what was to come. That preceded some of my greatest years.

There are times when I’m as scared as the day I felt force-fed into going to Sunday School, where I refused to go into the building, even as my kid sister, Michelle, bravely walked through those doors and into the unknown. That preceded many questions and many doubts.

And there are times when I close my eyes and just breathe, letting everything else slip away into the darkness, and for a moment I can find myself — the old me, the real me that I know is still in there somewhere. That usually precedes a return to reality.

I hate birthdays, same as I do all holidays.

Yet when the girl behind the counter at store I visit every day walks out from behind the register to give me a hug because she knows my birthday is a day away; when one of my dearest friends sends me that Snapchat photo; when certain private Facebook messages pour in to touch the heart, it doesn’t seem so bad.

Acceptance.

I suppose that’s another baby step I need to take to forge ahead into the next year of tomorrows.

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