New Year, Golden Me
And in 2018, I will turn 26— on April 26th, no less, making this my Golden birthday. The golden birthday is the age one turns that corresponds to the actual date of their birth. So, in my true extra fashion, I’m considering this my Golden Year.
The yogic question, “Are you awake?” doesn’t just ponder if one is not sleeping— it asks whether one is physically, spiritually aware of their surroundings. For the longest time, I thought I was. But over the course of the last year, and especially within the last few months, I’m learning that I’m quite the snoozer!
At the risk of using a corny airplane reference, I’ve learned that life does not reach a certain point where the autopilot can be turned on, and the rest is smooth sailing, erm, flying. One must continuously work for each and every day to make life at least bearable and the fullest. Are you thinking um, duh? I guess I was fooled by adults in my younger years that, once you “make it” in the real world, it somehow gets easier. But I’ve been quoting a John Mayer song recently, “I just found out that there’s no such thing as the real world.” (I do want to scream at the top of my lungs.)
I’ve also been duped into thinking that we know more as we grow older— but my path has led me to believe that I’m more unknowing than anything. What this begs of me is to stay curious and malleable in the mind; the more rigid one becomes in their thinking, more work it is to cope at a later date.
Life right now is sort of like pulling sheets out of the dryer— most everything is dry, only to find out that a pillow case wadded up in the corner of a fitted sheet. Warm but damp and not quite there yet— I think about getting there and having it: the life, whatever that means. A well-established career, a loving relationship, and dogs (so, so many dogs); a network of friends and professional contacts. But the illusion is that it already exists, that there is no such thing as “getting there” or “having it.” It’s right there in front of me, waiting to be experienced.
No, this isn’t settling. Don’t mistake my happiness for complacency.
Why is it such a bother to experience joy?
There are barriers to accepting one’s true pleasures. For me, there are a few things that make me light up— languages, aviation, yoga, and travel. But I oftentimes don’t do what would most assuredly bring me joy for fear of falling short of that expectation. And I’m calling bullshit on myself.
That’s why I compiled an absurdly long list of things that would make me happy, not just in spite of my Golden Year, but because of it. I won’t divulge the half of it, because some of it is private (I do have some secrets, after all) and sacred— and parts of it I don’t even know yet.
The catalyst for this epiphany was an experience I had recently with a very striking individual for whom I have a sincere attraction. It was beyond physical, a connection unlike any I’ve had before. I was so dumbfounded by all of it that I kept questioning myself (and a litany of friends) if my emotions were validated, attempting to keep myself in check.
I put my heart on the line, held it out in front of him like a dog bringing back a dead animal to its owner— see! Lookie what I brought for you! It nice. It for you. It special. Need treats and pats thx. Sitting in that awkward vulnerability makes my heart pound, daringly, but that increased heart rate surpasses any fleeing and hiding. I can’t say that I didn’t try, and I can’t say that I didn’t put it all out there. Because if I had held back, I wouldn’t know one way or the other (and, for the record, the jury is still out, but that’s a topic for another day). What I discovered is that being vulnerable isn’t cowering in weakness, it’s the crux of strength. I said what I needed to say (here we go with John Mayer again, sheesh!) for myself, regardless of the outcome.
Maybe I’m having a Diane-Keaton-divorcee moment, despite never having had any sort of meaningful romantic relationship.
Maybe I’ve been afraid to start for fear of not being able to stop.
In a sense, I feel like I’ve been asleep forever.
Albeit groggy, it’s time to wake up.
Soundtrack for this post, appropriately featured in a mediocre commercial: