With a few five months shy of 40, I find myself going through a shifting series of inner and outer changes. Most of which I welcome with grace, ease, and excitement. I feel such gratitude for the gift of life and reaching the mid-way point to feel a new sense of aliveness that occurs once you realize that time is ticking away and you aren’t going to be here on this planet forever. Gone are the days that I lived feeling invincible; leaving those days behind with no remorse. For I have awoken to a new sense of appreciation for the little things in life that are really, the big things.
Some call it a mid-life crisis, but for me; it’s more of a soft and subtle awakening...
Throughout the last year, I have literally felt as though a veil has been lifted from my eyes. I have started to see things so differently; everything from finances to family to career to how I want to spend the last 40 years of my life. Of course that being the assumption that I will get 40 more while humbly knowing that there are no guarantees how many days we will get. Isn’t that enough motivation to get busy living, finding your purpose, and doing what you really want to in life? For me it was…
I used to live with the perception that I was invincible and death couldn’t touch me. When I think of the class V whitewater rapids I used to kayak, I am reminded of that feeling. I never blinked an eye. I loved that pulse of adrenaline that would rush through my veins and the excitement I felt driving to the put-ins of the rivers I paddled. As my friends and I would gear up, I’d pull out my ‘river dust’ which was a tube of cheap glitter from Walmart and dust the cheeks and eyelids of the gals I paddled with giggling and goofing around and then we’d pull the dry skirts over our kayaks and off we’d go like it was a walk in the park. I’ll never forget the first day I paddled the Futaleufu at high water in Chile with a gal who wore bright red lipstick when she kayaked big water. She looked at me and said, "If you swim, you die. You ok with that?” I shockingly felt my head nod yes. She then handed me her red lipstick as I tossed her my ‘river dust’ and off we went with her husband and a handful of Chileans kayaking in front and behind me as safety. That was the best day of my life for I had reached an accomplishment that I dreamt of since my early kayaking days.
Sometimes I am in awe of the courage I had to reach those goals and other times I wonder, “what the hell were you thinking!?” I love all those memories of kayaking and wouldn’t change those experiences for anything in the world. What I can now see though is that I was pushing the limits with invincibility. And what I failed to see was that it could all be over in one small paddle stroke.
I still get after it, but it’s different now. Sometimes it annoys me that I stop and think more about the consequences of the lines that I take but I’m glad that I’ve gained a sense of awareness that my life is precious, as is my body, and I need to take better care of it by giving it more respect, rest, and relaxation when needed. And I notice now getting older, that my body definitely needs more and I can’t go like I used to, nor do I really want to. Instead of having to ‘prove’ myself recreating (to whom I still don’t know? Most likely ego), now it’s more for the pure simplicity of getting out with friends and enjoying the stunning beauty and scenery of the places I am lucky to recreate in. It’s about the giggles and screams through the wildflowers and that rush of ‘holy shit I am so freaking lucky’ feeling that flows through me and comes out as a shit eating grin plastered to my face as I bomb down the single-track.
The inner and physical changes with sports is easy for me to see and feels more tangible. But even more, there is a deeper intuitive shift that has taken place. I think about my purpose and why I’m here. What legacy do I want to leave behind and how will I bring myself to fulfill my greatest potential. I’m exploring the gifts I was given and how I can serve people, bring positivity to the world, and help change lives along the way. Instead of ‘running’, I am ‘sitting’ when things feel uncomfortable. I’m taking the courage I had to kayak class V whitewater and turning it towards investing in my truth and getting out of my way to embody greatness. Because now looking back, I realize, I have been my own biggest obstacle in life.
This new awakening and awareness to my life and my purpose has positively rippled into other aspects regarding relationships, finance, and career choice. And I am beyond excited and motivated to creatively move forward through the next 40 or so years only to await new experiences to come and all of the little awakenings ahead.
Goodbye invincibility; hello wisdom. Here’s to turning 40 this December; my mid-life, kick ass awakening.