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A Song for…

Embracing 43.

It amazes me that I can still be rendered speechless when I listen to a song. There are many I can rock to for days on end, on replay, effectively annoying everyone around me.

Then there are others like this. A song created and sung so beautifully that it humbles and haunts in the same instance. That’s the emotive combo I get whenever I hear Donnie Hathaway’s voice on this particular ballad. It’s probably the reason why I don’t play it often. But on a day, like today, a stormy day in Texas, which just happens to be my birthday, Donnie gets to play loudly and make me happy and cry all at once.

Making the transition from 42 to 43 as a digital nomad is a refreshing and mind-blowing feeling. So many thoughts and dreams are swirling in my head. So many things I want to experience and do. Learning to bypass my dominant wiring to overthink myself into oblivion instead of just living in the moment gets frustrating at times. It’s also a bit lonely but that’s par for the course with the journey I’m on.

The best part of this birthday was the fact that it was one I did solo and that finally felt okay. I’ve done solo birthdays before but there was a hint of loneliness that hovered in the air. Not this time. Being alone feels… nice.

I’m house-sitting in a little nook of Texas with a name that speaks volumes to the way I view life and feel right now… Humble. That’s right, Humble (pronounced sans ‘h’ by locals) is where I’m at courtesy of a dear friend and her family. I have always considered the name of this place to be a little odd. This time around, I’m finding it very apt for this new stage of life is nothing if not humbling.

It takes a mental toll to pack up and leave your safety net for the unknown. Not having a job while knowing that my accounts will tap out in a few months and still being willing to take this leap into the deep end of life has me on edge.

No, I don’t regret my decision.

Yes, I am freaking out, nonetheless. Although not as much as I thought I would be and that’s pretty damned satisfying. But still…

I am humbled and grateful that God has allowed me to see the age of 43 – a full decade longer than the author of this song. There are many I thought would be here who just aren’t. It’s a sobering reality check that one, we’re all made different, and two, no one knows when it’s their time.

I am humbled by the women who have taken me in and who have offered their homes as a respite while I for lack of a better phrase, get my shit together. This journey of short sprints is a shock to my system, to say the least, and I’m enjoying each mad dash while doing my best to quell the dread and uncertainty that tries to creep into my mind each day. I’m getting better at shutting that down.

I am humbled by the sheer willpower I am discovering with each new day, the willpower that drives a new sense of self-love and urgency to workout and eat better more consistently to protect this one body I must channel the gifts that God gave me.

I am humbled by the fact that I am experiencing a level of peace that I haven’t had in a very, very long time. Even with the sporadic bursts of anxiety, I feel a level of serenity that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I think I’m beginning to dare I say, love myself. It’s a bit unnerving but I like it.

I am also shocked. I’m shocked that I’m just coming to the realization that I am also on a celibacy tour and I’m okay with it. Go figure.

It’s taken a lot to get here but no time is ever wasted if you learn lessons along the way. Hell yes, I wish I had this level of understanding about myself 15 years ago, but I didn’t and, at this moment, in this quiet, I am happy. I am happy that I got the chance to learn some of the lessons and I am excited to learn more.

I am happy that I am learning to love myself unconditionally. The years I spent lamenting over the fact that I wasn’t where I thought I should be in all aspects of my life, I am now grateful for it. Knowing myself, I would have been totally consumed by everyone and everything else had life taken me in another direction.

I’m discovering my inner resilience and levels of vulnerability. I’m unlearning unhealthy habits and how to say no to those I love for all our sakes. I’m getting the hang of fully embracing each day as a gift and not just a pit stop. I’m unearthing secrets in my mind that I didn’t know before…

I think it’s fitting that I’m posting today. It’s my last day in Houston. Tomorrow, I will bid this fair city adieu and head north for a few weeks. It’s been a whirlwind here. It’s been exciting and fun and tumultuous and nerve-wracking. It’s been a trip of anxiety and one of happiness. It’s been a trip of wonder and self-actualization.

I’m going to miss my one-year-old room inspector and his adoring family. I’m going to miss his laughter and playfulness. I’m going to miss his bouts of anger and the look on his face ten seconds later when he discovers that everything is going to be okay.

I’m gonna miss his parents and their great rapport. It’s inspiring really. It gives me hope to think that I can have something similar one day but also grateful that I don’t have it right now because if I’m being honest, I’m not ready.

I think it’s great that I came here one age and I’m leaving here another. I’m grateful for the space to build a proper routine and the silence to define what I really want in life. I made decisions in Houston that I hope will bring more balance into my life. I made changes here and I’m excited to see what the benefits of those changes will be down the line.

It took four years that began with a heartbreak I didn’t know was even possible to get me to this physical place and mental space. I can’t say I regret any part of it. If anything, I am grateful that I got to experience it all and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Song: A Song for You
Artist: Donnie Hathaway
Album: Donnie Hathaway
Release Date: 1971

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