Wednesday, January 19, 2011

can I go again?

I'll be turning 41 next week. Yeah, that went fast, didn't it.

I've been reflecting on this past year of being 40 -- how extraordinary it was. One of the most extraordinary years I've ever had. So many dreams come true. So many successes. A few failures along the way, too. Some deep lows as well as steep highs. And as the cycle rolls to an end, I feel as most roller-coaster enthusiasts feel the moment they get off the ride: Can I go again?

Seriously, I'd like to be 40 all over again--well, not exactly re-live it all, just keep being 40 for another year. As if it was the number that somehow manifested all the good fortune. I want to make it last a little longer. Keep drawing all that good energy to me. Keep meeting the people I want to meet (or have already met, and meet them again), achieving the goals I want to achieve, and manifesting the intentions of my creative imagination. Keep having all that fun.

And let's face it: I'd like to keep covering up those greys.

It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to stay on top of the mountain once you've reached it, especially since there's nowhere to go but down. We've seen it before: Some people (and not necessarily the ones I mention below) who achieve phenomenal success so early on become paralyzed by that success and can never quite live up to it. And of course, the demanding public and critics never let them forget it. Everything McCartney, et. al, ever did following Sgt Pepper was forever compared to it, as Brian Wilson was to Pet Sounds, Michael Jackson to Thriller, Aaron Sorkin to The West Wing, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to Good Will Hunting, JK Rowling to Harry Potter, and so on. We want Oscar-calibre on demand. We want to keep them on the pedestal, where they dazzle so brightly in the sunlight. We want the thrill of the roller-coaster ride to never end.

But it has to.

Thing is, some never realized it was a phenomenon in the first place.

It'd be pretty difficult to match, much less top, the year I've had. I can already see myself falling into the trap of disappointment at times: Sure, my book sales are good right now, but not as good as this time last year... But I can't let myself get sucked into that. I can't create with the intention to match that success; otherwise I'll never be satisfied, and I'll never, ever make it. I can't hold every achievement and every moment next to the Year of Being 40.

But that's not to say that I can't set the bar high on my intentions. No, I'm still thinking big. But I'm thinking big for this year. A new year, new ideas, new markets, new events, new readers, new possibilities. A new ride, with new thrills of its own. A new mountain. Different, rather than better or worse than the last one. That's my goal, to keep sight of that.

And numerologically speaking, "1" is an important number this year. So perhaps 41 will bring a magic all of its own.

As long as I get to keep coloring the greys.


Elspeth Antonelli said...

Great wisdom here, Elisa; not the least of which is to keep colouring up the greys! How I wish there was a magic formula for achieving our best all the time and for staying atop that mountain.'s a thought. If I'm on top of a mountain, what happens when I run out of pop tarts?

Chilling thought.

kathyj333 said...

Aging really isn't so bad. I'm 52 and more comfortable with myself than I ever was at 25. Good luck with the book sales.

Maureen said...

Diana, Kristin and I are going to ComicCon in San Diego in July. Come visit!

Or, I may get my trip to Vegas at the end of that stay. You could come with me.

Or come over for The Wedding.

Elisa said...

Beth: I don't like to think about such things -- too disturbing. ;)

Kathy: Thanks much. I do find myself getting more and more comfortable in my skin the older I get (the grey hair being the exception). :)

Maureen: I've got a very expensive to-do list this year!! But man, I would love to do ComicCon. Or Vegas. Or even the Royal Wedding, if I can get myself on the bloody plane... :)

Anonymous said...

For me, 40 was uneventful. Robin and I had a 7 year old son in the house with all the mayhem that can entail. I can say that I enjoyed it. I will say that 52 was pretty amazing and 53 started out even better. I got to meet some pretty extraordinary people and one of them selected a photo I took of her for publication. I have since been published 2 more times and I have people I don't even know asking me to photograph them. Don't be surprised if it keeps getting better Elisa. I never expected it to be this good. My 50s started out a bit rocky but I learned a great deal from that. I also learned a great deal from very smart and talented friends.


Elisa said...

Larry, as someone once said, "You're a very lucky man."