Forty-one is fine.
My mother called this morning from a beach in Portugal with birthday wishes. She caught me in the middle of a scramble — getting the kids ready for school after sleeping in too late because I got home last night at 11:30PM from a whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania and back (12 hours of travel for a 45 minute meeting — and I’m an “energy conservation” consultant … ).
Life’s a beach for the grandparents, but I still wouldn’t trade places with them.
I have to say that at 41 years old I’m happier and healthier than I have ever been. I’ve had enough tragedy in my life to make me appreciate the good things, and I’m not ashamed to celebrate the little wonders – like the mystery of a berry on the street in winter, how an eight-year-old can still have innocent baby eyes, and why people die but tulips keep coming back (today they’re 2″ high and defiant against the retreating snowbank at the foundation of my house!).
I don’t really have the time to think about what I’m saying here — which is the only thing about my life now that I resent: I’m too busy. People say they’re worried about me “burning out” and I suppose people on that track don’t see it happening until they’re locked up for a few weeks on their knees trying to find their lost marbles. I keep sane amid the madness by running, writing and noticing little things. I also love my work, and I’m constantly meeting people who amaze me. I officially don’t believe in “hope” because it puts too much pressure on the future and takes eyes off the present. But I feel it. I can see the future in my kids, and I just know that they’re going to be fine. And when they ask me in 30 years what I did to try to make things better in the world, I will be able to look them straight in the eyes and say I did my best.
It took me 41 years to be able to say that I’m really content with things just as they are. I’m a lucky man. And if I get hit by a bus today, people could honestly say “He was happy.”
What else could anyone ever need?