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.