40

I have to say, at least I still make myself laugh! Like that time I moved to LA in large part because I saw 40 approaching and was totally freaked out that it would arrive to find me in the same house, city, and career I’d been in since my mid twenties. Or that time I moved back from LA into that same house, city, and career and breathed a sigh of relief that they were all still there, two years later, patiently waiting for me to realize that none of those outward things had anything to do with inner peace, contentment, or joy.

Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.

-Leo Tolstoy

And now 40 is here, today, and that makes me laugh too. I was so worried about this particular birthday and all of the arbitrary meaning imposed upon it. If anything, I now feel excited to begin a new decade in the same way I felt excited to begin 2019; a clean slate upon which to design a life I love. img_0331

My twenties and thirties were weird! Good parts, bad parts, and a lot of heavy, confused, conflicted parts. I am happy to say that by the time my late thirties rolled around, I’d become better at having fun and at seeing it all as an adventure, which eased much of that self imposed pressure.

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Am I evolving backwards? I wonder. I was a serious child, teen, and young adult. When my peers listened to pop, I preferred Leonard Coen, Bob Dylan, and any cowboy poet crooning over love and loss. I would draw and design my “fashion books” for hours at the dining room table and fall asleep to Italian lessons on tape at night. An odd duck.

Now, I just want to dance. And laugh. And write and draw and relearn the languages I studied as a child, but have mostly let go dormant.

Spirals coming back around. Never the same lesson but one that takes me just a bit deeper.

Life is short.

Are the 40’s the decade in which the self finds a groove, some clarity, and answers appear? Maybe.

Or maybe we will always feel like our five year old selves inside, amazed when the world bestows the word adult upon us? It seems that little girl understood herself pretty clearly and that ever since I have simply been coming home, back to her.

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One Year

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One year ago I was wrapping up a Western in the Rocky Mountains and all that has come to pass was yet to be. I didn’t yet take my LA view for granted or know that I would find an apartment with wood floors, make new friends, tell a story in front of an audience, work on a great project,  plan an international adventure, or survive  (at least so far) under a mentally unstable man-child President.

How can we know what the future holds? Thank God we don’t. Or, do we?  We play such an obvious role in creating that future, it’s a wonder we are as repeatedly surprised as we are. Where is our attention and energy and what are we creating by dwelling on things/places/situations and people, over and over and over?

One year ago, all that is real today, was an idea, a plan, or a fear. I was about to pack up my car and drive to California; to look for an apartment, classes, friends, jobs, a new life. I know that I helped manifest everything about the past year, including the election of our President, which truly shocked me.  I dwelled on him, thought of him and detested him, endlessly. But, I also saw myself on a stage, joyful, playing, living on a palm lined street in the hills, with wood floors, meeting cool, creative people. It has all come to pass.

When will I fully recognize this super power? How long until I stop playing dumb, wondering why certain areas of my life seem fuller than others? Everything we desire is always within our grasp, as is everything we fear. Choose wisely.

 

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Another Year Done Gone

Another Year Done Gone

I woke a year older and started to think of birthdays past. Some feel like yesterday while I have no recollection of others.
Turning 4, I am at my grandmother’s house in Denver with my mom and my sister. There is a knock on the door and a man in a uniform delivers four red roses which, to my astonishment, are for me, from my dad.
Turning 5, I am on the swing set at recess with a friend, asking her if it feels different to play with me, now that I am a year older.
Turning 14, I am in London, with my British pen-pal, waiting in line for half price theater tickets in the rain.
Turning 18, I am in Germany, on a month long trip with my high school German class. It is Easter Sunday, I have the flu, and am sitting through a five hour long Wagner opera, wishing I was in bed.
Turning 22, I am depressed, realizing for the first time that the years will just keep coming and that it is up to me to make them good.
Turning 26, I am in a motel room, hitting a pinata with a sword. It was the first of several birthdays I would spend shooting a movie in Las Vegas, NM.
Turning 30, I am sad because a dear friend has recently passed away. But, I am also happy because he appears to me in a dream the night before my birthday and I know he and everything is ok.
Turning 31, I am on the set of “True Grit” and it is a rough day.
Turning 33, I am in Colby, a fake town in the desert, drinking a vodka tonic.
Turning 34, I wake to a beautiful day. It is a three day weekend and I have a few hours to get things done before the festivities begin. Before realizing that my birthday would fall on a Saturday, I was sure I would spend it standing in blowing dust on the set of yet another western, but instead I am home, clean, and well rested. I feel optimistic about the year ahead, happy that I seem to be evolving and retaining wisdom from lessons learned, becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin as the years pass.