“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today is my birthday. I am forty-freaking-four. Trust me. There are a lot of “F” words there for a reason. While I can’t believe I’m this old, I’m grateful to have made it this far. This morning, after sucking down the latte hubby brought me for breakfast, I decided to go for a walk. We’re up at our home away from home in Steamboat Springs, and there are lots of trails within walking distance of our house. So, I leashed up the dog and headed out while Steve took the kids swimming.
The trails around here are not deliberate. They meander as if the persons first traversing the area weren’t quite sure which was the optimal way to travel. Each path ends in a fork. It’s quite easy to get turned around and forget from which direction you came. As Ruby and I traipsed along turning this way and that, I thought about how today’s walk was a metaphor for my life because I am a wanderer perpetually sauntering in a new direction.
I’ve always admired people who are driven, who found their calling early in life and pursued it with a relentless passion and a fervor for success. I have admired those people because I’m not one of them. Although I am motivated when I find something that interests me, I’ve discovered too many things that intrigue and inspire me. I’ve been a bit ADD and, throughout my 44 years, I’ve flitted from thing to thing seeing what each had to offer. Consequently, if you look at the sum total of what I’ve accomplished in terms of measurable career achievements, my work resume is fairly flimsy. It’s a hodgepodge of eclectic jobs, from retail manager to meeting planner, from library research assistant to communications specialist. I’ve cleaned houses, rented cars, and handled the drive-up lane at a bank. I’ve managed movie theaters, merchandise, and people. I’ve been all over the map, and my resume reflects that. It is what it is. I’ll never be a woman with an enviable career, and I’ve had to come to terms with that because before I knew myself better I planned to measure my success with a brilliant curriculum vitae.
My path through life has been like the flight of a butterfly, erratic and seemingly directionless. There is a beauty to the rambling that I’ve done, though. Because of my ardent, if temporary, interest in so many things, I’ve learned a little bit about a lot of what life has to offer. I’ve studied French, Spanish, and Italian, and spent a year and a half learning to translate Latin. I’ve been artsy and tried painting, jewelry making, paper crafting, scrapbooking, drawing, and needlepoint. I’ve taken classes in cake decorating, rock climbing, drama, baking, tap and swing dancing, cooking and culinary skills, and burlesque. I’ve tried my hand at athletics: tennis, golf, gymnastics, water skiing, snow skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, sea kayaking, mountain biking, softball, canoeing, and yoga. I can twirl a baton, bake an awesome pear and almond galette, and point out some constellations or tell you about your astrological sign. I can still turn a cartwheel and do a headstand at 44, and I think that’s pretty cool.
So, I guess what I’ve discovered about myself after all these many years on this planet is that although I may not have a very impressive resume, I’ve got a fairly diversified life portfolio. Without consciously acknowledging it, I’ve been taking Emerson’s advice and making lots of experiments. And, I’m not finished yet. There are a multitude of things I’ve yet to try that are on my long to-do list. For example, I’m still looking for a friend who is willing to jump from a perfectly good airplane with me on a future adventure. If you’re looking for something to add to your life portfolio, maybe a little skydiving is in order?