Plenty of time to reach my prime
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I’m closing in on one of those birthdays that doesn’t see as much notoriety as, say, 21, 30 or 40. Or 100.
On Monday I’ll celebrate my 37th birthday. When the mental picture of the number bounces around in my head, I wonder how it could ever calculate correctly to equate to my years of existence. For the most part I feel as great ” and sometimes better ” than I did in my 20s. That’s mostly because my gall bladder was removed at 25, so I was a little sickly back then. Mostly I think of myself as a sprightly, young, 27-year-old.
Ready to take on the world, a bright future unfolding.
Flash forward 10 years and I’m still ready to take on the world. And my future continues to unfold like an origami dragon dissected by a curious child. But I’m hardly settled into where I should be, which is how I always pictured myself as I closed in on 40. I always assumed I’d have the great corporate job, kids in day care, a beautiful home, two cars. Maybe a ski boat or a pair of jet skis to take to the lake on weekends.
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Moving to the mountains changed all that.
Everyone who lives in the valley knows too well the high cost of living. But with skiing and rafting in our backyard, living in the mountains is worth the sacrifice. We all seem to figure it out, even when that can be as difficult as solving a nonlinear partial differential equation. In the past six years my priorities have shifted. I’ve held off on kids and remarriage as I seek the stability needed to make such important commitments. Sure, a lot of people figure that out in their 20s. But I’m on a different kind of schedule. It’s a better-late-then-never type of time frame.
That one can be a real relationship killer.
Birthdays are always great for contemplating one’s purpose in life. And evaluating happiness. Especially when 40 is knocking on my back door, looking to borrow a cup of sugar. Instead of being confused on where all the time has gone, I should realize I haven’t even hit my prime yet.
Of course that all depends on when my prime is.
When asked, “At what age do women hit their prime in their life?” WikiAnswers.com replies, “Around their 30s.” I like that answer because it’s vague. Much like my life can be. Like a centipede with heads at each end, I often have trouble figuring out if I’m coming or going. That can either make life a whole lotta fun or as disorganized as my lecture notes in college.
When thinking about my writing prime, I certainly know I haven’t hit it. The last time I checked, my name was nowhere near a list of best-selling novels. Or on the masthead of Rolling Stone or The New Yorker. I can at least say I’ve written for one of Aspen’s four-color glossy publications.
Thanks to my distorted sense of procrastinating reality, in my mind I have some time.
In the past, the San Francisco Chronicle has published its list of America’s best writers over 50. The list includes literary marvels such as Larry McMurtry, J.D. Salinger and Toni Morrison. If I do the math ” using simple subtraction as opposed to nonlinear partial differential equation ” I have at least 15 to 20 years to really get this writing thing going and make that list.
It could take that long for me to get a book published. …
I’m also happy to learn many golfers don’t reach their prime until their 30s. So I have that to build on this summer. I’ve been playing a lot of Tiger Woods Golf on the Wii lately so maybe I’ll see some improvements on my short game on the links this year. Who knows, maybe one day I could play on The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA. I’m sure there are all sorts of women in their prime on that tour.
If I practiced and made golf a priority for the next 15 to 20 years, maybe I could be one of them.
Of course that depends on when my prime is.
April E. Clark always has a conversation starter when people realize she shares her birthday with a counterculture holiday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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