Thursday, September 23, 2004

42 Down, ?? To Go (and don't call me "Ms. Lisa")

42nd Birthday photo
originally uploaded by LisaPal.
It happened on the 21st and I knew it was really true when I looked at my Blogger profile page and it no longer said I was 41.

How did this happen?

How is it that so much time has passed so quickly? I don't feel any different. I still feel like the same person I've always been, (just with a little more knowledge and wisdom), I even look pretty much the same (except for this wretched, soooo-not-me, short, and hopefully temporary Joan Baez-esque hair cut that I can't seem to get to grow out!!)--or maybe I even look better, as has been expressed by a bunch of people. I'm told I don't look my age, I look younger, though I have no idea what that really means because I think almost everyone looks younger than they are. Perception hasn't adjusted to reality, or vice versa.

Yet I get the impression that this numeric zone wherein my age resides means something to some (younger) people that it doesn't mean to me.

I've always maintained that age is relative. The number doesn't mean that much and I would argue that it has little to do with maturity, wisdom, or any other similar attribute.

In a recent e-mail exchange with someone younger, (someone who had innocently referred to me as Ms. Lisa, which has been a disturbing recurrence in the last two years!) I expounded a little on this subject. Her contention was that age (interpreted to mean maturity) was the ability to use reason over emotion. This implies that the former is superior to the latter, which is debatable in many circumstances. My response to her is excerpted below:

Age is one thing and it's not maturity. Maturity (in my opinion) is not measured by the capacity to use reason over emotion. I think it is shown in the ability to balance the inner with the outer sensibilities. It's understanding and coming to terms with who you are and what you truly value (which are emotional issues more than a rational ones), and then using reason to create the means to live from those values as an authentic being in the external world, complete with other people who may or may not understand you or share those values.

In my opinion, there's nothing meaningful in how many years I've been here. What's more meaningful is how long I've sought to live authentically, to truly know and understand myself and explore and experience every bright spot and dark corner of who I am, (and to love myself in spite of it), and to not simply accept the way things are as the only way they can be.

I've known so many people who've never stopped to ask themselves, "Is this the life I want to live?" Not much substance follows in a life that refuses to seek answers to the most basic questions. And for this reason, I know of people who have lived here longer than I have but seem much younger, and vice versa.

So there.

Now, to illustrate how faulty reason can be in the hands of the inept and inexperienced... when I was 16 or so, I declared that I wanted to die when I was 39 because I just couldn't see what point there would be in going beyond that. I'd surely have done everything (that I could think of at that time) worth doing and I'd probably have to resort to living the kind of "mechanical" life I saw my parents living. Oh, how clueless I was. I spent the entire year after my 39th birthday (which came just 10 days after 9-11) telling the universe that I didn't mean it. Life was beautiful. I had so much more to do. I really didn't mean it! I breathed a sigh of relief when my 40th came. I know I'm not even close to being through with what I came here to do.

Not even close.

Picture Commentary:
I celebrated my birthday on a lunch date with the one who birthed me. Notice that my mother (with fork in hand) had already scarfed a piece of my B-day cheesecake before I snapped the shot! She deserves it, though. After all, I am just the fruit of her labor.


Blogger Lasciate said...

That was awesome.

On the matter of maturity, I take it as a measure of how wisely a person uses their experience. Maybe not through reasoning skills, though it would be my preferred methodology, I guess. But I also think of fun-loving sorts of people who may not use a lot of reason, may be a bit wacky and eccentric, may even just go wherever their emotion flies them that day, but also knows the truth of the world when they see it, and knows that war is not peace, that freedom is not occupation, and that ignorance of reality is not strength.

Good post, Lisa...and happy birthday once more!

6:50 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Well put! Thanks again for the B-day wishes.

9:15 AM  
Blogger VW said...

Wonderful Post and Happy Birthday.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Lasciate said...

I still like your description of maturity better.

12:47 PM  
Blogger pi22seven said...

Happy Birthday!

7:33 PM  
Blogger more or less like you said...

All the love in the world, and more to come on the way!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Happy Birthday Lisa, to me you don't seem a day over yesterday (an odd phrase my gradfather use to say," I don't feel a day over yesterday"). Anyway, my two cents of the maturity issue is that maturity is the ability to reflect upon oneself and then relate it to what is going on around you. Happy Birthday again, and best wishes for a new year of your own making.

10:22 PM  

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