If you read the newsletter, you know I took some time away over the last couple of weeks. Part vacation with my wife, part birthday celebration, and part exploration. As I considered turning 55 this year, I went back to what I wrote when I turned 50. As I said at the time, with my childhood and mental health issues, I didn’t really have a plan for turning 50, I never expected to live that long. So, I was just going to enjoy what years I had left and consider it all a bonus to be celebrated.
Five years later, it’s not feeling like that much of a celebration. We’ve lost parents, friends, and other loved ones, lived through a pandemic, got hit by a hurricane, gotten laid off, and watched people I love be told by a major political party in the US that they shouldn’t exist. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If 50 was all about celebrating still being alive, 55 is more about just being tired. It feels old. It is getting harder and harder to find the things worth celebrating, but I know that they are still there. It just takes more work to focus on them than it used to.
Most importantly, I know that being alive at this age means I can still make a difference. I can continue to write and encourage others. I can continue to listen and support the people in my life. I’m still here. I don’t know how much longer that will be true. As much of a struggle as life is for me right now, I’m here and just being here and caring about others can make a huge difference. Yes, I’m 55. I’m tired, I’m anxious, and I fight off depression almost daily. But I’m not going to just sit here and wait to die when there are things I can still do. None of them may change the world, but it might just help individuals and if enough of us are out here doing that, it can change the world.
While I can, I want to focus on being part of that. I also acknowledge that there are days when I don’t have it in me. When “all of this” is too much and I need to take care of myself. When I need a break I need to remind myself to take it. That’s difficult for me, but it’s important.
When I do that, I know I can make a small difference in the lives of people I care about. That’s worth being here, despite all the things that make me feel tired and old. Maybe it’s even more important when there are so many things making all of us tired.