I decided a while ago that I am going to live for 100 years. I am not sure when I came to this conclusion, but I remember sitting down and calculating my expected lifespan based on my familial tree, advanced health care, and biblical records. After all was said and done, 100 years of full, healthy living seemed about right. I am sure I wrote it down somewhere–the calculations, the considerations, the conclusions. And I am pretty sure that my calculations are spot on, if I do say so myself.
Because of this, I live my life in quadrants.
The 1st 25 years were mostly sweet, tainted a lingering sour left by years of wondering where my father was and why he had chosen to leave me behind. I spent my time being unabashedly myself even as I lived life in a most elaborate mask of unbothered glory. Reality was that I was exceptionally bothered by the many things that clouded my mind, namely that age-old question of who am I, really?
I practically tumbled down the nefarious hills of my mid-20’s and into the second (current) quadrant grappling with the same questions and pondering my often life-derailing mistakes along the way. I had one break down after the other. Even though it looked like I was making moves, I was a small car with bald tires spinning this way and that in the treacherous icy patches. No one had explained to me how to get out of the snow banks that I had plowed into. For a time, I slid back and forth, digging ever deeper into these slick holes of despair and churning up mud and dirt in the process. I slipped and cursed and cried until I ran out of fuel.
When I finally came to a complete stop, I realized that it was time to abandon ship, to get out and walk (mixed methaphor, but y’all will deal. This MY reflection, skank you very much). I left behind a mini-lifetime of hidden depression, anxiety, despair, and rejection in favor of pursuing me.
The change was drastic, to say the least–so much so that I left plenty of damage in the wake of destroying the mask of self preservation. Everything I did or said came through inflamatory and selfish as I attempted to make up for lost times. More than once, my loved ones had to make me pumps my breaks. I am just now evening out. No longer concerned with proving my authentic self, I have learned to walk in the freedom of being that image I have long held in my heart. The unbothered blackness that engulfs me smooths me, calms me down. I am finally, in this second quadrant of my life, at peace.
As I stride toward that 80 percentile mark of 40 years, I envision a 3rd quadrant full of destiny and purpose. Some of it has already begun: a new challenging job in a new city, a decent blog that is paving the way to publishing my first books, a steady outlook on life that has brought peace in areas that I never thought could be peaceful… I am totally psyched to be on this journey.
And I am most glad that you have come along for the ride. I love good company when I go on trips.