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Archive for December 7th, 2009

40

Hello everybody. I am 40 today. I am sitting here wondering if I have anything smart-assed to say on this topic. Of course, usually I have something smart-assed to say about everything. It’s how I get through the day. It’s how I get through conversations. It’s how I get through dessert. I have, since age 12 at least, tried to think of something funny to say whenever I’m talking to somebody. Why? Because I do not want you to walk away from me. I value your company whoever you are. Yes, you. Whoever you are–whenever you walk away from me it feels mighty bad. Maybe we just met at a party. “Wait!” I wonder. “Where are you going? We just met and already I’m suffering from separation anxiety. I can’t bear it if you leave. If you do, I hate you forever. You’re horrible. Go then. Leave me! Oh! The pain!”

Of course as I get older, I realize sometimes I don’t have to be funny all the time. Sometimes people like you for other reasons. They want you to say how much you liked their movie about the Vietnam War. “Really, Oliver Stone, I told you I liked it. Please, don’t be so insecure!” Other times people just want you to loan them money. As in Oklahoma, where I grew up. That happens a lot there.

I’ve noticed that as we get older, we get more unique. Fewer people get us. Despite the fact that we have more friends and more memories to share, our roads sometimes seem at the same time more lonely. We all deal with defeat and death and rejection, but we handle it differently and we know it differently. Our values might have started the same, but then they change, transmogrify into kaleidoscopic differentiation and never look the same again. I’ve contended with death and loss in my life, but I’ve handled it differently than my friends, and sometimes that can be a more insurmountable wall of communication than if we’d never suffered loss at all. My road is different than yours. You can hug me but not understand. I can hug you but not understand. We love each other anyway.

I now have a single desire, which is to make as much film, literature and music as I possibly can until I drop dead. I don’t say that blithely. I say that as if it could happen tomorrow. Because sometimes it does. The weird thing about turning 40 is that a lot of your idealism goes away, but you also see things with more clarity and perhaps optimism about what you can actually do. I feel that as long as I keep making breakthroughs and learning and keeping my mind open to the vicissitudes of life by applying my mind to the new tasks at hand, I’ll be young. I have a lot of goals, and I haven’t let one of them go. And for that reason, too, I still feel young. Also, I still feel the compulsive need to be funny. And so that makes me feel young, too, because it hasn’t changed.

It takes some of us longer to figure life out. I’m neither faster or slower at that than most other people. Maybe when I have figured everything out, there will be some prize at the end. Maybe it will be something with sound and fury, like at the end of Highlander 2: The Quickening. Or maybe it will be deathly silent and empty. I promise myself that whatever it is, I won’t be bitter if it’s different from what I expected. It’s just time. Every moment I’m awake I can change it.

Happy 40th birthday to myself and love to everybody else.

Eric

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