40 is the new Forty. Or so I have decided to say. Mostly because it seems silly for me to think of it as anything else. I mean, I have never quite looked or acted my age—well, what people expect of someone my age, anyway. So I suppose it only makes sense that I have experienced and suffered through some stuff that many 40 year old men have not.
If you have been following this blog, you know that in the past year I have gone through some major life changes. Naturally, like everything else here, these changes touch on the areas of love, sex and communication.
In the past 365 days, I have crossed boundaries, learned crucial life-lessons and gotten more experience under my 28” sized belt, than I ever imagined I would. (No comments about the size, Yo)! To be honest, there's no way I could discuss the details of it all in this one post. So I will just highlight a few (I use that term loosely) of the most profound (maybe I use that one loosely too) realizations.
Let’s start with a brief synopsis of my 30’s…
My 30’s began at nearly the same time the destruction of Hurricane Katrina set in. Freshly pink-slipped by the New Orleans Public Schools (they literally fired every teacher and started from scratch), I crossed into my 30’s and my 9th year of marriage by returning to the city of my birth. I spent my 30th birthday in transit from New Orleans to Chicago, schlepping what was salvageable from a life I had built down south to a new life in the Midwest. The upside? I had some extended family to lean on, which helped out tremendously.
In that first year of my thirties, I lived in 2 states, 3 houses and added 2 foster children to my family. We loved them and had every intention on adopting them some day. The seven of us were a family and we went everywhere together. Despite some challenges here and there, for many years, we were living the kind of life that many people wished they could.
As time passed though, life's hurdles would prove to be insurmountable.
Throughout my 30’s, I would struggle as an artist, struggle as a husband and struggle as a father. You see the theme here, right? My life's 3 primary roles and the 3 hats I wore with pride were no longer pride-worthy for me. Each year, new drama would unfold in our unit. Eventually, this drama proved to be the kind that was powerful enough to tear my family apart.
There were infidelities. We opened doors in our relationship that were unconventional and ultimately, those doors became destructive pathways. (No need to draw your own conclusions here. You know I am an open book, but I’m still turning myself one page at a time for you). Needless to say, with each fight, I heard the word divorce thrown in the air. Each time, it was spoken with more certainty. As it turns out, my marriage ended before my 30’s would.
Maybe I’m crazy, but even through the moments of suffering I can say that my life has been more good than bad. Which begs the question: How does a man let go of nearly 20 years of marriage (like half of his life) without feeling like he has lost more than he gained? Trust me, I ask myself that very question almost daily and I still haven’t come up with an answer that is comfortable enough to say out loud.
What I do know is that in the past year, I have had some of the most wonderful and unique people both enter and exit my life. Collectively, my love, my sex, and my communication with these people have taught me the following lessons about who I am. Much like me, this order of this list is pretty random:
1. I am a workaholic (this dream ain't gonna grind itself and neither is my coffee);
2. I am selfish (sometimes in a healthy way and sometimes not healthy at all);
3. I fall in love too easily (at times my heart is more open than the grand canyon with as much room inside);
4. Fear is powerful (it has kept me from things I have wanted all my life and I continue to struggle with it);
5. I do not like to be told what I cannot do (watch me);
6. I am connected to the moon (or maybe I am the moon, metaphorically speaking, or an alien);
7. I am a creature of habit (as fluid as I am, I am no fan of change. Even when I know it is necessary);
8. My capacity for forgiveness is has its limits (some shit I may never get past and I'm ok with that);
9. I can be petty sometimes (I do my best not to act on them but damn these evil, petty thoughts);
10. I love Love (I mean I love it, i bathe in it, it replenishes me, I feel it there even if you don't want me to);
11. I am an empath (the worst kind though...I couldn't tell you what you're feeling but damned if I don't feel you feeling all those damn feelings around me—read that one twice);
12. My mind doesn't ever rest (I mean like never ever: I am in a constant rotation between thinking and making);
13. I don't meditate normally (clearing my head is impossible,so I just focus the stream);
14. I joke a lot (not that I don't take things seriously. I just am quite a goof!);
15. I don't let go easily (I really don't like to lose things or people-you know, that aversion to change thing from #7);
16. I am not like other people (I used to always say it but nowadays, I see it more clearly);
17. I am like Prince (except taller, and not as pretty, and I can’t play any instruments [yet] or sing well [yet]…well, maybe I’m not, but I sure won’t let anyone convince me otherwise—see #5);
18. I have a big ego (well, I have been told it’s bigger than most, but not too big-- Sort of a perfectly sized ego—but maybe that's my ego talking);
19. I can be a diva (no, seriously… I am an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit!);
20. I need to make every day (considering I have at least 7 pans on my 4 eyed stove, that’s easy to accomplish);
21. I am a unicorn (or rather, I am a muthafuckin' unicorn)!!!
Seriously, 39-40 has been one hell of a ride! I have lost Love, found it, let go of it and found it again. And OMG, the Sex (no seriously Oh My God)!!! And the Communication, like a river, has had many streams--all flowing at different speeds.
The thing is, I know I can't continue lighting this candle called 'life' at both ends. I'll just end up covered in hot wax and burned the fuck out. At some point, this momentum must lead to balance: Peace.
Things will get better (I am setting that intention). Through all of this learning, change and growth (which are so not the same thing), I am challenged to....
Love myself as I am, have amazing sex (even if it has to be with myself sometimes to keep the peace) and communicate(yes, with myself) with intention.
The 40 year old David
P.S. I wrote a poem about it. Wanna hear it? Here it go!