On being thirty-nine

Dear Jester,

I’d say that’s a funny way to start a letter to myself but we all know that it fits.

What an adventure it has been, yes?  Thirty-nine years full of adventures.  Far too many to list out here so perhaps we should just focus on the last little bit.  Perhaps, perhaps.  Though I doubt I can say much now that doesn’t relate to something that came before.  We all know that fits as well.

It’s an interesting thing to reflect on the passage of time, to admire the triumphs over the adventures that went sideways and to bask in the remaining glow of those that went better than expected.  I’ve done far more than I thought I would by this age and far less at the same time.  That’s part of the hypocrisy that is at my core.  Hypocrisy isn’t exactly the right word but it harkens to something I think about a lot.

When I was young I assumed there would be a point when I would stop being a child and would be an adult.  It would be a clear delineation.  One or the other.  And I keep waiting for that to happen.  Yet, here I am at thirty-nine and it hasn’t happened yet so now I have to assume it never will.  Which then makes me wonder about all the generations that came before.  Did they go through life always feeling like both?  Young at heart but wise with age? That’s not quite either but it is close enough for now, especially since this letter is for me and I know what I mean even if I can’t articulate it.

The logical answer is that yes, of course, they felt the same.  But logic isn’t always the easiest thing for me to accept.  And by that I mean, that I grew up on stories with clear distinctions with well defined endings, where the heroes were either children or adults, and have thus romanticized that.  And I feel like neither and both at the same time and that can leave me feeling out of sorts, like something is wrong with me.

Again, logically, I know that nothing is wrong with me and I need to be kinder to myself.  That’s true for all sorts of things.  I have expectations that are likely impossible to live up to and thus constantly disappointing myself even though nobody else holds me to those same standards and expectations.  Knowing this does little to curb the sting of failures and regrets.

That’s not entirely accurate anyway.  I’m hard on myself on some things and super forgiving on others… all part of the hypocrisy that is me…  Not the right word but close enough.  And I know it doesn’t really matter.

I know a couple other things too.  I have a beautiful and brilliant wife and two, going on three, children.  And know that all I really need to be happy in this crazy world is two things: my beloved mountains and family.  I’m blessed with both.

And that’s nothing to scoff off after thirty-nine years.  Or after any amount of time, really.

So, dear Jester, be kind to yourself.  Be patient.  Remember that you know what you need to be happy and let the rest slide to the side.  As best you can.  Some days you’ll do it well.  Some days you won’t.  So it goes.

Now go hug your kids and wife and tell them that you love them, including the tiny one still hidden away, and then dream of the wild places, the high places, the valleys and rivers, and snow-capped peaks that call to you.  You’ll be back among them soon enough.

You’ve got this,

Matticus

21 thoughts on “On being thirty-nine

  1. Congratulations! So happy for you. I so enjoy reading these letters. Little slices of life to nibble on when you’re too full from your own pie. 🙂 I hope you are well can’t wait to hear about the new little one. Hugs

  2. Happy birthday! I smiled when you said you couldn’t find the right word, but “close enough.” That’s how I feel about pretty much everything these days: “Welp, I can’t get there, but I suppose I can try getting closer?” Life, in a nutshell. 🙂

  3. Love this, and yeah, you will always be a kid in your heart and an adult outside when you need to be ❤

  4. Matticus! The problem with the world, in my humble opinion, is that we adults have turned into serious, adultish human beings. We forget where we came from. We forget that we were kids, and what that meant. We get all serious and single-minded, dour, fucked in the head a bit, dependent, addicted, like we’re looking for something that we used to have. I say it’s better to keep that thing we used to have, and just say to hell with adult life. It’s not real. There’s only the life that we have, and that includes those many years when we were kids. We’re still those kids, we don’t need to forget it. So thirty-nine years in, I hope you keep that kid within you and outside you, because that’s what I would define as a successful life.

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