Another Year Older

Another Year Older

This post is going to be about sunrises, blind corners, and bridges.  And it’s a little introspective too. 

Recently, I celebrated my birthday.  I’ve had a few of the “milestone” birthdays, and when you hit them it’s never really as big a deal as you imagined in your younger years.  You’re only as old as you act and feel after all, right?  This one wasn’t a milestone, but I’m nudging up against another one of those…a really middle age one at that.

I’ve seen sunrises on 3 continents and on islands in the middle of the Pacific.  But most of them I’ve seen have been of the standard everyday variety in the Upper Midwest, which I’ve called home my entire life.

The sunrise above was taken before 6am on my most recent birthday as I was out with the dogs for an early morning excursion before the workday began.  On this particular hike, I had a lot of things on my mind.  Unwinding decades of accumulated “stuff” is eye-opening as well as exhausting.  When’s the last time I wore that, or used that, or even saw that? I’ve spent all but 7 years of my life living in 2 different homes.  One the place where I was raised, and the other that I’ve lived in since 1994.  That’s about 85% of my life.  (If you’re curious, and good at math, you can now probably figure out my age, but it doesn’t really matter.)  Things at this stage of life are usually pretty settled in.  Lots of folks are in the prime of their careers, raising families, even putting kids through college.  My wife and I, on the other hand, are getting ready to embark on a huge, life-changing move.  Not across town or across the state or across the country even.

We’ve got some ideas on how this will work, but it’s like this blind corner on the trail during my birthday walk.  You don’t really know for sure what’s around the bend.  I’ve walked this particular trail a hundred times with four different dogs over the past 20 years, so I wasn’t expecting any surprises – at most, maybe a deer or wild turkey.  The dogs would have loved that.  But the blind corner we’re approaching is a new one for us, and there certainly will be surprises.  And frustrations, and probably even some tears and second-guessing.  But you only live once, so we’re going for it.  The next year will serve as a bridge for us.

Like any bridge, this one from my birthday walk delivers us from a certain spot to another certain spot.  The dogs ran across ahead of me that morning, eager to see what was on the other side.  To them, it always seems new.  To me, again, this was a bridge I’d crossed a hundred times before so I knew what was waiting for me.  Sorry to use all these metaphors and imagery, but like I said…introspection.  When we step onto this bridge in our lives, which is basically the coming 12 months, we’ll be like Chloe and Maggie – eager to see what’s on the other side.  But, while dogs seem to be able to live without much worry, we humans aren’t so fortunate.  There will be lots of things that will cause anxiety and heartburn in the coming months.  But there will also be a sense of excitement and adventure that will hopefully help to propel us forward and overcome the challenges that will certainly arise.  I am stepping onto the metaphorical bridge now, and I’m leaving the place I’ve always known, as well as the people I’m close to – relatives and friends, and even my wife and our four-legged “kids” for the next several months.  I’ve got some friends on the other side of that bridge that will help make things easier – hopefully.  And I’ll forge new relationships too. 

When I wished for something on my birthday this year, I wished for patience and I thought of how lucky I am to enjoy the life I have and the people I share it with.  When I celebrate my next birthday, the upheaval and turbulence of the prior twelve months will be full of memories (good and bad, for sure) of crossing this bridge.  We’ll be living an entirely different lifestyle, in the early years of an adventure in a place that will be starting to feel like home to us.  We’ll be getting ready for family and friends to visit us.  Wish us luck.  We’ll probably need a little bit of it.  And start looking at airfares to Nicaragua.  This place is incredible.

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