Monday, January 04, 2010

Roast Pork and Labor Pains

In 1970, my mother was helping my grandmother prepare the New Year's Day meal. She wasn't feeling well. Turns out it was labor. I was on the way.

My mother is petite, however, and that foiled my New Year's entrance. Instead, she and I battled with pelvic bones and other sundry impediments until I made my belated appearance on January 3rd. I have the forceps scar to prove it.

As we enter a new decade, so I do on an even more personal level. (No more descriptions as a thirty-something writer. Blech.)

My childhood decade was happy and somewhat mindless. Lots of things to enjoy when you're a kid. Wrestling with dad. Arts and crafts with mom. My teenage decade became unsettled and unsatisfied. I couldn't wait to get out, find like-minded people, and make my own mark on the world. My twenties are when I really hit my stride. My eye was on the prize, and I could feel the wind rushing in my hair. Aine and I were rolling.

And how was my thirties? I'll give myself a B-. The pace slows greatly in your thirties, which I found confusing. Children bring momentous pressures. The targets become fuzzy and wandering. I'd like to grade my performance lower, but I can't deny that I achieved some pretty great things too.

I embark on this next decade a bit like you would look at a landscape of forest after you've already got yourself turned around and lost. I'm definitely up for the challenge, that hasn't changed, but I'm a lot more circumspect and far less fresh and eager. Nevertheless...

Onward! I've got work to do.


Raj said...

:) don't rate yourself any lower. you must have done things you aren't aware off as well. no one says thank you for things that aren't quite the obvious.

SzélsőFa said...

welcome to the 40's club.

I have wondered a bit too, about the pace and rhythm of life and of my life. I don't think slowing down is the equivalent of 'losing it' - it's rather gaining.
and I'm not referring to the extra grammes on one's hips or belly.

keep on going with what seems the best, those are my weary two cents for this bright day :))

Karen said...

First, happy belated birthday! I know just what you mean about turning 40. I had spent my life trying to accommodate others, but I developed a real attitude that lasted for quite a while. I can recall is thinking, "I'm 40 years old, and I don't have to take this sh** anymore!"

That quickly passed, but it also did me good. I really did come into my own and feel like I grew up at 40. Here's to your new growth!

the walking man said...

Are you certain those are forceps scars or are they where Dr. Frankenstein placed the bolts to connect the jumper cables?

Either way you made it through your middle age, yes 35 or so, is middle aged and now you happily have come to the 40's.

Good for you Jason, better for us because if as a kid you gave and offered us so much then what lay ahead can only be tremendous.

Rest easy and have another slice of cake you earned it. Be Well and here's to the coming years, may they find you finding all you desire.

Aine said...

Great post! I find it so therapeutic to pull away and view my life from a more distanced perspective, as you did here.

Naturally (you know me...), when I was young I often imagined the future decades of my life. I had very specific ideas about how each decade would feel. Very few of those imaginations have come to pass. So I've learned to stop projecting and just make the most of now. It's all there is, after all... :)

I've enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) witnessing your experience of life, how you've grown and how your core self continues to shine (it's the brightest self of any I've ever met!). No need to rate yourself-- you've lived life, as we all do-- there can only be positives if there are negatives, too. Though it can be a challenge at times, I really like the truth that what is is. Any judgement we apply is just human ego, it's not truth.

So, here's to the next 40-- may they be full of growth and new experiences! Wisdom and experience are polishing the gem, my diamond, my love...

catvibe said...

Happy Birthday! I think the 30's are a time when your ideals which sent you flying in your 20's begin to crumble. They are a wealth of self reflection and learning to relate in ways beyond idealism. For me, the 40's were about surviving my children's teenage years. Not a whole lot of room for introspection because a lot of it is cope mode. However, once they leave the nest, it's a time to dive back into the cave in a mixture of adventures and introspective redefining. 50's? I'll tell you in 10 years, k? Have a wonderful year 40.

Bernita said...

Happy Birthday, Happy New Year and Happy Next Decade, Jason.
"I have the forceps scar to prove it."
Something we have in common, though mine is more like a dent...

PixieDust said...

And you will do it well... or at the very least describe it with literary wit and charm!


Happy Belated Birthday!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Jason.


Chris Eldin said...

Happy Reawakening, Dude. I hated the thirties. The forties are much better. Much.

Nevine said...

Happy Birthday, Jason. And I do feel all of this introspection. I've been doing quite a bit of it lately. I'm going to be 40 next year, and I'm so looking forward to it. I think our 30's are the time of our lives where we find our true selves. We're still sort of growing in our twenties. But then, people age and mature differently, I suppose. This is a new beginning, then, for you. And what a great one it is. More to achieve, more to look forward to. Good luck with it all!


Margaret said...

Happy belated birthday Jason!

I'm a decade ahead of you, I turned 50 last year. I can only echo Aine here and say live for today, make the most of now! Don't brood over the past - it's gone. Enjoy today and what's to come.

Good luck to the next 40! :)

Anonymous said...

Raj, I don't judge anyone as harshly as I judge myself.

Szelsofa, those weary two cents are perfect. :) We keep rolling despite the mileage.

Karen, I guess I'm feeling a bit overmatched, perhaps. I was always confident that with enough effort, reality can be shaped. There are too many variables, though. Too many complexities. But I think that I'll learn to shoulder it all nevertheless.

Walking Man, those jumper cables he used on me were rusty too. Dang. As to the next stage, yes, I've earned my passage.

Aine, thank you for the shining words. :) :) I admire that you felt all those different stages! Like other rationals, perhaps, I couldn't see past the murky waters following the big goals. Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophesy. I think the truth is that the goals now just aren't as easy, so prefabricated. This is when the real artistry comes into play. ;)

Catvibe, it sounds like you've earned your reformation doubly. Teenage years on top of the crumbling thirties? You are strong to have come out in one piece!

Bernita, a dent, yes. That's a great description of my scar too. I drink a toast to our dents! May they aways add to our character.

PixieDust, that really made me smile. :) Thanks for the compliment!

Thanks, Paul!

Chris, yeah, let's brush off these cobwebs and get rumbling!

Nevine, that's intriguing. I can see you grappling with similar currents and tides. I hope you find your solid ground.

Margaret, so you have embarked on your own new journey. I hope you've found peace. My eye is definitely turned to the future. It's there where I see the challenges.

Terri said...

Happy Birthday, my fellow Capricorn! (belated though my wish is, as usual)
Remember when 40 was really, really old?!! :-D
I'm 2 years behind you; still don't feel a day over 18 (apart from the odd creaky joint).
Congrats on reaching 40. This is the part where women start ageing and men begin to look 'distinguished'. No fair.
btw At your age, you don't get lost in a forest; you merely become temporarily displaced while taking the scenic route ;-)

Aniket said...

Yikes. I almost missed this post in excitement of the contest.

Best wishes for today and all the days to come nonetheless. :D

If it makes you feel any better, I used to think you were way past 40 already. ;-)
You are not that old. You just have 15 yrs on me!

And for what its worth... I'll be glad if I could live the next couple of decades like you've done. A man whose wife calls him a diamond, can't have done much wrong. :D

Anonymous said...

Terri, I'm paving the way for you, fellow Capricorn. ;) Yes, I do remember when 40 seemed like another generation. Now I'm that generation. What that's old song? Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping...into the future.

Aniket, 15 years on you.... :p Use them well, my friend. And yes, you're right. Aine is a rare soul. To be called a diamond by her is big. :)