I woke up this morning and didn’t feel any older, but according to the calendar, I’m now 38 years old — which is weird, just yesterday I was 37. But now I’m 38, another year closer to 40. This is supposed to upset me, but it really doesn’t. As I’ve said previously: I think I’m going to get better as I get older.
Early this morning I went out for a long run around my town. I tried to look at things with an eye for the past-present-future. I saw what was, what is, and what could be. It filled me with exquisite joy and a yearning ache. For all the intermittent urges for going, my heart is so intertwined with this place, with these people.
Returning home, I stripped my sweaty clothes and stood naked before the bathroom mirror. “This is me, aged 38 years,” I murmured in a low growl.
I didn’t see the old, weary pushing-40 pater familias I feel sometimes at the end of a day. I saw a powerfully-built, robust man of many winters. Granted, I possess very little youthful beauty. My luster has instead stolen inward. Increasing shaggy gray hairs overtake their curly silken brown and black adversaries, I wear this silver like the feather headdress of a chieftain. I boast in my years. I celebrate my stout and indefatigable frame.
The next phase of my life lays just beyond my grasp. In my early 30s I predicted my “real career” would not start until my 40s, and so it would seem. I aspire to make a living by writing books, and it is so tantalizingly close.
Currently I’m collaborating on an autobiography of a local public figure that should give me an interesting launching point. We’re still early in the writing process, but it’s looking terrific so far. It should make a pretty good splash. Well, it should make a splash around here. I don’t know that it’ll be anything more than a regional attraction, but still… I’m enjoying researching and writing about this man. It’s going to be good.
As for my three completed fiction works… <sigh> I feel obliged to say they’ve since been deconstructed beyond recognition. Not destroyed, mind you, but disassembled and temporarily shelved. An old friend brought John Steinbeck’s “Journal of a Novel” to my attention, and it upset my personal literary apple cart in ways I cannot describe here. Reading through Steinbeck’s process brought some aspects of my own into great relief, and opened my mind up to a new and potentially better method. I wanted to start all over again, and write these stories “right.” So I will. Upon completion of the biography I am now writing, I will set about re-writing each of the three books. It will be a methodical and sometimes tedious endeavor, but it will also be fun. I eagerly look forward to starting.
However, I have not abandoned my present occupation. I am still a journalist and editor of my county’s newspaper. Despite some recent (possibly ill-advised) flirtations elsewhere, I remain faithful to her and expect to remain so for the foreseeable future. There was strong interest of out of Fort Worth (again), and an outright offer from another part of the state (for more money). I also was in serious conversation with two sexy media outlets in Oklahoma. But providence won the day. I will diminish, stay in East Texas, and remain Galadriel.
Life is good here, and I know I am a man blessed beyond measure. My children are amazing, wondrous gifts I enjoy daily. The wife of my youth is my greatest delight. I have so much to be thankful for, I could not count my blessings were I to live 100 years. 38 years is but a trifle, and I have miles to go before I sleep.