You're only as old as you feel, they say.
I have always been a little bit blessed to neither look, nor feel, (or in all honesty, act) my age. Although I do confess I'm slowing down a bit. Those things they say are true. With a certain degree of relativity. As is the case with all things time related.
There are also certain expectations within our western culture regarding people who are late thirties, pushing forty. I've met none of them.
There is nothing really remarkable about 39. Its only real significance is that it's almost 40. That's the real big one now isn't it. I still have a year before I have to deal with that particular mental hurdle.
On December 23, 1973, I came naked, screaming, and bloody into this world. It was very early in the morning, during a blizzard in Spokane, WA. My parents lived there only because my father had found work up there. My father had grown up a farm boy in Wyoming, and it was less than a year after my birth that he would take his new family back there to stay.
I was a Christmas baby. I came home from the hospital three days after my birth in a large stocking and a little elf hat. I still have the stocking and hat. I do not however have a picture of myself wearing them. Shame. So instead, here's a picture of me holding a football.
I've been going back through my photo albums of when I was a kid. Reliving my own life memories, and being often amazed at how fresh some of those memories feel. Events that happened decades ago, are so easily replayable in my mind. Yet, I have a hard time remembering most of yesterday. Time does funny tricks to the brain. I guess it picks and chooses for me the things I'll need to remember. I'm pretty okay with that.
Also going through my pictures I see a lot of people that are now in the earth, instead of on it. People who in the grand scheme of things, made no significant mark, and in my own personal scheme of things, well, made all the difference in the world.
I have been a lot of places. I have done a lot of things. I have met some amazing people.
I have been married. I have been divorced. I have been in and out of both long and short term relationships. I have had friends that have moved me so deeply there is no way to express how I will forever feel about them. I have had mentors, and teachers. Influences of both good and bad. I have learned and forgotten, and learned again. I've laughed with rock stars. I've joked with Academy award winning directors. I've shared cigarettes with TV actors, and flirted with starlets. I've bumped fists with professional athletes. I've talked shop with professional comedians.
I have no money.
I have no car.
I have no career.
I have no home to call my own.
I have absolutely NO complaints.
I have lived a helluva life.
I've been on stage. I've killed on stage. I've been killed on stage. I've kissed, and dreamed, and fought on stage. I've been naked on stage, and worn elaborate costumes. I've been silent on stage. I've screamed and cried, and every night reborn on stage. I've lived a thousand lives under bright lights, and can only hope for a thousand more. This actors life has consumed me since I first discovered it at the tender age of 5. I have lived, and will die, a theatrician through and through.
And so, after so much time spent looking back, it seems that now, on the eve of my 39th, I should look forward also. I do have a bucket list. Certain things I would like to experience before I die. I present here now, my before 40 list. Things that I have a mere three hundred and sixty six days to accomplish. I give this list in no particular order of importance, or desire for achievement...simply laid out on digital paper for your perusal...if you want.
I am first and foremost an actor. This is how I choose to define myself. This was the answer I always gave as a child when presented the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?". This is the answer I still give when complete strangers present the question, "What do you do?" I'm actually very proud of that. It gives absolutely no indication of financial success, stability, achievement, or security...which is always the REAL question people are asking, when they ask "What do you do?", but it's what I do. It's what I always wanted to do...and I do it. To me, that is the real mark of success.
There does remain however that little problem of actually needing money to survive. Odds of me finding any type of financial security being a professional actor are probably 1 in 1 with a whole lotta zeroes after it. Statistically speaking, the odds of me finding similar financial security as a writer, are probably nearly the same. 1 in 1 with a whole lotta zeros after it. Here is the real problem I've discovered. I am not cut out for any type of corporate world job. Even though the odds of me gaining financial security as an actor or a writer are...what's the cliche...astronomical? I honestly think that the odds of me finding financial security as a corporate cog 9-5er are even MORE astronomical. That's a simple truth that has taken me FAR too many years to realize. I don't really have any true marketable skills. I can memorize lines, and I can put words together...but there is nothing I'm really good at that serves as a working part of a corporate machine. So I may as well pursue something I really love to do. I want to give the writing game a chance. I really do. I have a number of friends who every November are able to put together 80000-100000 words in only a month. I figure with 11 extra months to try, I should be able to come up with something.
This is the goal that is going to take the most amount of mental discipline. No one is going to make me do this. If I am lucky enough to find success with it, it will truly be MY success. Only I can cause it to happen. Only I can make myself sit down and write each day. So...here's to the next year.
2) HAVE "THE GOOD KIND" OF THREESOME.
I know it's trite, but it's my list so suck it. I've done the "bad" kind already. Truth be told it wasn't that bad at all. In fact it was a pretty enjoyable experience for all involved. All that Hollywood bullshit you see about awkward next mornings, and weird dynamics that come as an unfortunate consequence, is just so much morality preaching. It was, in reality just another really fun thing that friends did, and became a good memory with nothing but smiles for everybody later. Of course that's only my experience...probably different for everybody.
Here's another little truth. I don't anticipate the "good" kind being all it's cracked up to be. I'm not good with attention. I've also had WAY too many years to build it up in my head. Come on now, nothing can live up to that kind of anticipation.
Now you'd think with my incredibly sexually open attitude, and some degree of experience, (I've done a LOT of stuff) this is something that I would have had already...but nope. It isn't. And quite frankly that's the only reason it's on the list, so I can cross it off the list. I know it's like the ultimate male fantasy, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't among a few of mine...but really it's here...only because it would be something new for me.
It's also something I've discovered that can't really be planned. I've discovered this because it HAS been planned...and didn't happen. It's been discussed. It's been arranged. It's happened on paper...but alas. Also...to my knowledge, I don't know anybody...or the right anybody's...or the people I knew at one time, are at a different place in there life now...either emotionally, or geographically. Life moves us all wherever it will, and so it goes.
So being something I can't plan, and being in a place where other participants are pretty much non-existent, this is the one on the list that I have little to no control over actually making happen, outside of prostitution, and although I have no moral qualm with this, (in fact I'm all for it), that's just not the way it goes in my fantasy.
So this is the one on my list, that I actually anticipate will still be on the list at the end of the year. Regardless, it's on the list. So...here's to the next year.
3) QUIT SMOKING
I talk about this one a LOT. I've tried it a few times. I'm going to keep trying. Now that I'm insured, it's one of the first things I'm going to take care of when the new year rolls around. I intend with full purpose to get pharmaceutical help...whatever it may be. I simply don't want to enter my 4th decade a smoker. This is the one that will take the most physical/mental combined effort discipline. It is going to suck dog balls. I know that already. I apologize in advance to anyone who may have to deal with me when I am quitting. I'll in all likelihood become a whiny little bitch. I'll become snarky. I'll hate everything in the world except boobs on some days. I will want to throw, and break, and destroy beautiful things. I will want to punch kittens. I will want to angry fuck every living breathing thing. I will also get my taste back. My smell back. My breath back. Some amount of my bank account back. Much of my life back. The reward is greater than the loss. It's something I think is worth fighting for...and I do believe it will be a fight. So...here's to the next year.
Last year on my birthday I weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 210 pounds. I made a goal then that by my next birthday I would be back to a weight more suited to my personal aesthetic. By June I was down to about 160, and I have maintained that since. Now though...I'm soft and lumpy. I am thinner, but I have no definable shape. I'm simply a big pile of walking soft spots. I have neither the time, nor the financial means to actually join a gym, so I'm going to have to do this the old fashioned pushup/situp sort of way. Perhaps even take up running, and on the occasions I can make it to a rec center...swimming. I really want to put a little bit of definition on my body. Looking at the pile of goo in the mirror is getting as old as looking at the rolling cushions did a year ago. I know this one is going to take a lot of physical and mental discipline as well. Oh well. No one ever said self improvement would be easy.
Now I really wish that I had had the forethought to take before/progress/after pics of the weight loss process. I didn't. If I had I would post them here just to display the difference of how I was to how I am. Instead, here's a picture of me in a hoody, smoking a cigarette.
4) MAKE IT TO 40
I know that seems like a weird one, but people my own age, and even younger keep dropping dead. This is a goal I only have so much control over, but it's one I'm taking with a certain amount of seriousness. I have no particular fear of death, but I sure as shit don't have any desire for it. Even if I am lucky, disciplined, and smart enough to accomplish everything on my Before 40 list, it's only the tiniest percentage of what's on my actual bucket list.
I have led a wonderful life so far. Although it's true that no matter how bad it is, it can always get worse...it also stands to reason that it can always get better. I have had in my 38 trips around the sun, some pretty amazing experiences. I can only imagine how many more are possible. I'm going to do everything in my power to find out. I'm going to do everything I have control over, to live as long as it takes to find out. Yes it all comes with the price of aging, and physical pain, and emotional pain, and frustration, and loss, and all sorts of horrible things...but for me...all of that...is the tiniest price to pay for all the good stuff. I'm selfish I guess, but I want to keep having the good stuff. So...here's to the next year.
I have been lucky enough to love.
I have been, to my astonishment, even more lucky to have been loved.
I have been able to do what I love.
To continue to be able to, still always amazes me.
I will always be the explorer.
I will always be the observer.
I will always learn all the things I want to know.
I will always seek the answers to my own questions.
38 amazing years have taught me so goddamn much.
38 amazing years have given me so goddamn much.
Are part of life's gift to me. So...
Here's to the next year.