Forty Candles

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So yeah, in October of this year of the Lord, 2020, year of many, many, many events, I’m reaching my 40th birthday. That’s a big number isn’t? If these were the Middle Ages I would be considered an elder of the village. In prehistoric times, I would be downright ancient. So I’m taking this with some perspective.

If I’m honest, I never expect to reach this age. When I was 16, I had the odd feeling I wouldn’t go past my 30s’ at best. Why? I’m not sure. I guess a general sense of dread of the future plus depression at the time. That’s why I perhaps was in a hurry to achieve things, to leave a legacy.

Reaching 40 has put things in perspective. I’m in the middle of the way. Reaching this age in 2020 has a peculiar meaning to boot. This year, with all the things that are going on have made me meditate in the future -anxiety included- and in doing things I never imagined to do, like a will (yes, because you never know and you don’t want to leave problems behind).

But I consider mysefl lucky, perhaps priviliged, because I’ve been able to achieve some of the dreams-transformed-into-goals I had at 16. I was able to study a postgrad, to live in a different country for an extended period of time, to visit several countries, to get married, to write a book (more on it later). There were some goals I never considered, like owning a house (well, I’m still paying for it, but you know the meaning), doing road trips with not even where to sleep being planned, reaching the finales of a competition (Heroclix in this case), working on a comic book shop, and so on. Others were planned for after I reached 40 and yet I managed to do them last year (like taking my wife to her dream holiday to Tokyo, after a gruelling year of work and savings, starting something, which was Inklings Press). I’m not bragging. I consider myself lucky because not many can do or live what I have been able to. I know all of the above have been a privilige. That’s why this month, full of reflection is teaching me to not take it for granted. Because I know there are goals that won’t come to fruition and I have to learn to let those go and as a friend told me a few weeks ago, set up new goals to keep me motivated.

On the book thing (remember I said there was more on this), I recall I has this sense of dread that if I didn’t write a novel and publish it before my 30s’, I would never do it. I had this idea that to leave a legacy I had to be this famous writer. When the book didn’t materialize out of thin air, I moved the goalpost to my 35 birthday. Well, I started to write a book, but didn’t finish it till a couple of years later and certaintly took a couple more to get it published (because the reality is that the publishing industry is an endurance race). And fame hasn’t arrived. But I think that’s fine for a few reasons: I wouldn’t have been able to write the books, the stories I’m writing now, if I hadn’t had more life experiences, more maturity. I needed this growth in order to write a book that I hope, connects with the reader in an emotional level, beyond a simple thrill. And in the case of fame, well, fame is overrated. I mean, having extra money to pay my mortgage (or move to a better zone), to take my wife to more trips so she can increase her photograph catalogue, or adopt more dogs would be awesome (Netflix, call me). But paraphrasing and editing Master Yoda’s quote, “Fame. Fortune. A good person craves not these things.” I think it is more important to be a good person who learns to enjoy the little, the medium, the large, the simple and the complicated things life gives us. To enjoy the little triumphs we achieve (including getting up from bed in a bad day) and learn from the fails we endure. To help and lift others in whatever capacity we can. We are what we leave behind.

I still think that the Ancient Greek had it right. True immortality is the legacy, the memories, you leave behind. I just hope for the next 40-50 years allow me to leave a good legacy behind and people remind me kindly.

And I still want that TV Tropes page dedicated to my writings.

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