There is only one week to go and it turns out that after 33 straight days of contemplation, information gathering and creation I’m ready for forty. Bring it! Ten years from now, when I’m composing T Minus 50, I know I will have an amazing collection of stories from the coming decade.
I’ve spent a lot of years imagining that there is some alternate universe in which my life went the “right” way. A universe where the record companies didn’t pass on me or I actually got the part and not just a call back. A life in which I had the stones to keep trying. An alternate universe that would let me create without the fear and sensitivity that held me back in my 20s and 30s. It’s a place where money doesn’t get in the way, it doesn’t factor in at all. A life in which people were nothing but supportive. A universe where I believed enough in myself to buy into what I was doing as an artist and create things that pleased me without worrying about commercial success. A world where the saying “do what you love and the money will follow” was a reality as opposed to a notion reserved for those who have already achieved financial success.
I’ve spent a lot of time ascribing blame. I’ve placed it everywhere, on the industry, on the clients, on circumstances, but mainly on myself. T Minus 40 has unlocked something I thought I’d lost. By committing to this project I gave myself permission to tap into my creativity again. I’m taking baby steps each day. I am only accountable to myself, so the blame has fallen away. It’s simply not useful to the process.
There have been some days that almost got the better of me (and I’m still not done) but I didn’t want to feed the demon of failure so I widened my definition of success. In so doing, I remembered that it’s OK to take pride in accomplishment. Humility has it’s place, but it’s not appropriate in every situation.
Spending all of this time reviewing my life and mining it for material has been incredibly eye-opening. About midway through the project I realized that the all of the topics that I thought would be “deep” or “sad” no longer interested me. I realized I had no desire to whine about loss or missteps or injustices. I wanted to enjoy the project, so I put a spotlight on the last 39 years and it revealed that there is no “right” way a life should go. It’s been going the way I’ve been leading it and I’ve got the memories and the material to show for it.
I started out afraid of turning 40 as a female and as a performer. I worried that I had missed all my chances. But unlike so many of my fears that I’ve simply avoided, this birthday is inevitable, so I chose to steer into the skid. I chose not to hide or lie and tell people I’m 32 (that starts next week). I chose to own it, to buy into myself and my own relevance. I gave myself the gift of finally accepting that all of the things I’ve done, the hats I’ve worn to facilitate my life don’t necessarily define it. I run a business, but I’m not a business woman. I handle the finances, but I’m not a bookkeeper. I know my way around the kitchen better than most, but I’m not a chef. I use social media for self-promotion, but I am in no way a marketing whiz.
I’m beginning to understand that change doesn’t have to be bad. Forty looks peaceful now. I know I can’t control the outside world (that’s the wisdom that comes with age), but I also can’t quiet what’s inside to fit into some pre-conceived notion of the perfect woman. Sometimes I have to drop the ball and trust that I’ll be able to pick it back up.
Thanks again to everyone that’s commented, liked, shared, emailed and supported. I didn’t know when I started if anyone would read any of this and no offense, I didn’t care, but sharing this event has been a truly wonderful part of the work.