put simply, age is only evidence of how you invest the time you’re credited with – without the meaning you attribute to the age you are and how you value it over the various ages you’ve been, the whole exercise is entirely pointless. Being thirty three doesn’t mean anything in and of itself, except to count how long I’ve been doing this whole living experiment. But when I was young and I first looked into numerology, I read that 33 was a special age, it’s the last “Master Number”, specifically “The Master Teacher” age, that I once referred to as ‘The Jesus Year’, but now much more affectionately call ‘The Fleabag Year’.
So, watch this:
I’m at a point in my life now where I can quite readily admit that I don’t really know what I’m doing, or whether anything I am attempting to do is yielding results, or if I have any sense of how I’ll know if it amounted to something that is of any worth beyond my memory of it. I can also admit that this has caused me to feel spent, distressed and sad as I approach what should be a time to celebrate a milestone, but the closer I get to it, the more thrilled I begin to feel at the opportunity that cluelessness poses, the possibilities it presents. If this is to be the year I begin to teach, then let my first lesson be this:
In my experience, you need only be three things in life: alert, intent, appreciative.
when I was twenty six I experienced a kind of “life stage dysphoria”, where I felt that my life had slipped from my powers of intention. I looked around me, and nothing felt manifested, I just had the sense that I’d “wound up” where I was, and the fruits of my labour were rotting before my eyes because I was expending all my energy and focus on figuring out why the things that should have brought me happiness, simply weren’t. It was like my own life wasn’t speaking my love language. The same sensation has been haunting me of late, where I somehow feel “not on purpose”, where I get the sense I’m falling behind. I look around at others seemingly achieving their destinies, and while I know that their achievements aren’t really relevant to me, I covet them anyway because I’m yearning for a sense of progress and affirmation. Of course it’s entirely illogical, because upon reflection my life is packed with privilege and blessings. There may not be an excess of resources or a satisfaction with circumstances, but it’s not a bad thing for this point in my life to require drive, hunger, vision. As I recently wrote to a friend “honey I’m no longer young, I’m in my prime”.
my father used to say to me, “you’re only bound by the limitations of your imagination”. It turns out that it’s a Misha Collins quote. I’d like to add that “you are only bound by the limitations of your imagination and your intention“. It’s easy to want more, or to want else, but to focus on it and set yourself a course toward it – whether at the pace of an inch, a step, a bound – requires far more vulnerability. my mother used to say to me that most decisions in life could be boiled down to “the money or the box”, and regardless of how I feel about either option at any given time, the heart of the choice is always about what purpose each serves.
That alertness I mentioned is what you need to do the hardest part: figure out WHAT YOU EVEN WANT. When we’re younger we’re told what we want: stability, wealth, companionship, a seeming of decency, children etc. Many of us work ourselves to the bone to reach what we’re told to want only to realise it doesn’t meet any of our core values or personal passions. At that point, people tend to experience a “crisis”. Some people who grew up in the abundant 90s as I did are facing the opposite problem: we were given no guidance on what to want, were told we could be anything, and to pursue happiness, which means we are having these “crises” earlier and more often as we become overwhelmed by the process of exploring as many of the options as we can while desperately adapting to the fastest period of social development in human history (the technical/virtual “Information Age”). One needs to be incredibly tenacious to figure out what tool will suitably and specifically measure fulfillment for them.
I had once thought that by now I would know what I wanted, how to get it, and would be on a smooth track to enjoying the process of getting there. The hard truth is, I am. Six years ago, I decided to dedicate myself to consent discourse, education and advocacy; that ‘c word’ has more awareness and application than ever at this moment so my time to thrive is here and now. The year ahead is going to have to be about making the most of my ambition to take the next step, reach the next goal, manifest the next level of that dream I brought to life. The rest is reality, and any obstacles or frustrations that remain can only be soothed by kindness, optimism and compassion, all of which stem from being appreciative (in both definitions of appraisal and gratitude).
when I was twenty four I found myself working as a sort of motivational educator, teaching tradies about money management. I began most of my workshops by saying “I’m not here, tasked with teaching you, because I know what to do, or have more knowledge than you do. I’m here because I’ve made many, if not all, of the mistakes, and I’m going to continue to make them so I can point them out to you, and also so I can recover from them and then give you some insight into doing that in case you make them as well. I’m not an expert, I’m an example”.