My birthday being an autumn one, it always seems like it's part of a naturally occurring reflective cycle. And a birthday, though it's one more day, it's also the name, in number, of one more year. A measuring unit that aligns you with your own progress, but also puts you in some kind of comparative framework with what the age 33 has meant to others. What has happened to others at the age of 33?
I am a thirty-three year old woman. So here I take stock:
I have a modest albeit intense singing career as my own songwriter, a master's thesis in theology written and published, one book written, (a gender/culture/spiritual love-story called Shall I Not Sing?,) a few children's stories, a smattering of poems. I have well over a hundred songs written. And with eight years of school-teaching under my belt, that I have left behind in profession but not in thought, and with several cities visited and inhabited for various lengths of time, I have seen and heard my share of 'things'. I am full of observations and connections.
It is all one giant relationship with time, really. It's a love-hate one, at that. I am a woman in my thirties, after all.
I am no more or less special than any other living breathing human being, that's for sure. Everything that happens to me in my more recent bohemian leanings, with all its uncertainty, spontaneity, is only a metaphor for what just about every human being struggles with in a given lifetime: circumstances: Love gained and love lost, spiritual questions asked, and answered with a further set of questions, units of people continuously redefining their delimiting borders. Concepts repeat cyclically almost - hope and despair fluctuate, as do love and fear.
I am profoundly lucky that I am at least, relatively, hovering in safe-from-violence zones. The "revolutionary" anti-capitalist thing that seems to have popped up in the last two weeks in the world of facebook, (in its reflection of reality), is indicative both of this being an interesting time and of this being a time that is reminiscent of several other times in history. Predictions of outcome seem ridiculous to me. That things will crumble and rot is certain, how people will guide themselves through it is what I'm curious about.
I would say, that I think my biggest effort as an adult is to be my own marionette master, me being the marionette. And to try to treat that marionette with care, is a whole other challenge. I think the fragility of everything is both the most frightening gradual discovery of mine, (highly unoriginal, I know) but also the most inspiring.
There is a mind-boggling amount of pure information out there, being hurled at us. And we weave between getting it through media and technology, as well as face-to-face encounters, not to mention our own minds trying to tell us things all the time. It is all full of meaning, with symbolic connections and archetypal associations always present, enhancing that meaning. They reveal themselves in degrees of obscurity. We are always scratching at the core, but it's fleeting, at least in its relevance to any given moment, in our ability to apply what we have come to know to what and how we do.
If I can learn from mistakes and avoid them the next time around, that's one thing. But if I look back at all of the mistakes I've made and see that they all seem predestined in retrospect, that they all led to good things in their own way.. it kind of makes me wonder if I should keep making mistakes, informed mistakes.
Life is a bit of a gamble.
If I am grateful for anything, it is that there is camaraderie available no matter what paths we choose. It morally relativizes everything, which is a pretty big headache, but it's still, ultimately good to know. There is always someone else who understands.
So I thank you, both friends, and the uncanny design of things that makes friendships possible.
May we all continue to navigate through this weird and wacky life with as little harm as possible, allowing for creativity, communication, and pockets of joy and relief.
Thank you for reading.