I'm 46 today and given that my mother died at 50, and my dad died at 30, certain birthdays make me a bit more introspective than others.. I don't have any serious health concerns, investigations but no concerns. I'm in general good health and in spite of the many losses and dramas that have plagued my life, I can look back so far and say I have led a very full and good life. A life rich in love, friendships and experience...things the bank can't take away no matter how indebted you are.
46 years is not much and yet it feels like 6 lifetimes. I don't see the man I am when I look in the mirror. I don't really know who I see anymore but I remember a quote from Douglas Coupland's Life After God “I never expected to become this strange person I had become but I was determined to know who this person is.” It fills me with comfort and reminds me one of the most important life lessons I have learned: No matter how low I get, whatever happens, I know I am not done. My therapist reminded me that you can't count someone out in the 40's and I remembered thinking, that wasn't what I was saying in the session but rather I am embracing my ageing and learning that there are things I do differently now. Things that I don't want to do anymore and the inevitable: Things I can't do anymore. I don't see it as sad either but rather an opportunity to fill that space with more things I want to do.
The last few weeks, I have been thinking about what I have learned during these eventful 46 years on this planet and I thought I would a share a few of them on my birthday.
1. You can't control outside stress but you can take steps to address how it affects you. End of the day, you have to look after your own mental health.
2. More often than not, bad days are usually one moment that you can't let go. Not always, but most are.
3. People are going to talk no matter what. Walk past them and smile, it gives them even more to talk about.
4. Putting others down to big yourself up feeds your insecurity, it doesn’t build your confidence.
5. The two most boring questions to ask when you meet someone are "Where are you from?" and "What do you do?"
6. Learn the difference between remembering the past and feeling nostalgic for it.
7. Never stop learning whether it’s reading new books, a new activity, a new language.
8. You're most likely not going to be friends with the same people you were friends with in your 20's. You were all exploring who you were yet to be. Friendships that are meant to last; will. Those that weren't had a place in your life for a reason.
9. We are not just one thing, we are many things and often they are contradictory. Embrace them all. All that crazy shit is what makes you, you.
10. Celebrate your birthday no matter how shitty you feel about it because like it or not, it’s your day. Honour yourself. Treat yourself to something. You are given one day out of the year where it is really about you! Take the damn day and run with it!
John Lugo-Trebble considers this more of a space to engage personal reflections and memories with connections to music and film.