Mid-life Without the Crisis

It really isn't the destination, but the journey. May be cliche, but it's true.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Olympics!

I love how two different conversations can merge in your head and form something completely new.  I was talking recently with family and friends about snappy comebacks.  I said that I always think of them much later - I guess I'm clever but not quick.  Then later that evening, I mentioned I was excited about the Summer Olympics and someone asked me why.  At the time I said something like, "Because it's the top athletes in the world competing in amazing challenges."

My clever response came much later, but here it is.

The Olympics is a competition that began centuries ago, but has been revived and updated in modern times, and continues to change with the times.  It is an opportunity for the nations of the world to meet in battle without firing any shots, other than starter pistols.  Nearly every nation in the world, recognized or unrecognized, participates.  Athletes show what dedication, training, and persistence can yield in the human body.  The strength, grace, agility and speed of human bone, muscle and sinew are on display in a way that nothing else captures.  Olympic athletes are winners, are beautiful, are to be emulated.  For a few brief weeks, the whole world comes together in a way that is so rare as to be cherished - we are in friendly competition, cheer for one another, and are involved in an activity together, watching our world's greatest athletes.  It is a thing of beauty.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Authentically Me

Cyndi Lauper in the 1980s
I remember being a teenager and wanting to do my hair like Cyndi Lauper, pop star.  But I knew I couldn't get away with that color or cut because of some of the places that I'd have to go, like church or school.  Even if my parents had let me, I was pretty sure I'd be shunned or ridiculed for my choice.

As I've gotten older, those pressures and societal constraints have changed but not gone away completely.  I wouldn't exactly be able to wear my hair like Cyndi in my job as a college instructor (at least not at the conservative Midwest college where I am).  But at least I don't have to worry about my school mates or church anymore. 

I've come to realize that is one of the great things about getting older.  I can look back at those things that prevented me from expressing my true self when I was younger and make the decision to leave those things behind.  I'm going to be me whether anyone likes it or not, and those who don't like it will be ignored.

Whitesnake has a song released a few years ago called "Best Years" with the lyric These are the best years...of my life.  I can really relate to that because these are the years that I know what I like, I'm unafraid to express myself, and I'm unwilling to spend time with people or in places that drain the happiness out of me.  I will spend the 2nd half of my life with people I love, I will do things I like doing, and I will not spend time in places that make me feel bad about who I am or what I like.  I will be truly, happily, geekily, authentically me.

Of course, that doesn't mean I still want Cyndi's haircut.  But I still love this song: