As I enter my 40th year of existence, I find myself reflecting on the past that I call a life. Everyone seems to have one of those age milestones that really hits home, this one seems to be the one for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saddened by what I see looking back, and I’m not anxiously looking forward.
To give myself comfort that I have done something with my life to this point, I decided to break down the last 40 years in 10-year segments. I know that my life is half over and reminiscing about past accomplishments has given me the energy to take on whatever awaits me in the second half.
I have pushed myself in the past, and I will do it again.
In my first 10 years of existence, I don’t really remember much; especially the first 5 years. We are designed by nature to forget that far back and for a probably good reason. We do a lot of dumb shit when we are young. We are too busy learning to walk and talk and don’t the need to remember what prints were on our diapers or what our first bedroom looked like. From the little that I do I recall during that first decade of life, I was reasonably happy, healthy and safe.
During the second decade of my life, I was just confused. This was a time where most of my social development began to take hold, and I just started to stake a claim on what kind of life I would lead. Unfortunately, this decade saw me sexually abused by a close family member, and this would set the stage for the rest of my life. What had happened to me at that time would not really show it’s ugly side until many years later. While I did lose my innocence, I didn’t lose my safety. I wasn’t so much scared as I was baffled. I never realized at the time, what it was that really happened to me. As the years went by and I turned into a teenager, I spent my time trying to bury those dirty memories while trying to assemble some kind of healthy state of mind. That was a tough time.
I spent the third decade of my life running. I was free from the confusion of my teens and as a budding adult, I was happily distracting myself with accumulating stuff and staying busy. I found my wife and best friend during this decade who brought me trust, which I had so severely lacked. While I had successfully buried the dirty images of my abuse deep into my soul, I could not run fast enough from the emotional pain and a relationship with the person who had caused it. Every year that ticked by I knew it was just a matter of time before my past would rear its ugly head.
Eventually, my time had come. My life wasn’t mine anymore.
My thirties were spent healing after coming forward with my abuse and seeking the help that I needed to move on. My son was born during this time, and while I was figuring out how to be me, I was also figuring out how to be a father, I had spent the better part of this decade in trial and error mode. My life would become a roller coaster of ups and downs as I pressed hard ridding myself of the images and feelings that had gripped me for so long. Like a dentist cleaning plaque from a rotten tooth, I was continually poking nerves that made me cringe and cry until eventually, I grew tolerance from the pain. Little by little, I was cleansing my mind of the pain that had held me back for so long. While the memories of my abuse are still very vivid in my mind, the sharpness of the emotional pain has drastically subsided.
Now, I’m more of a father than a wounded child.
I don’t know what the next 10 years will bring me, but I do know that I’m entering my 40’s with a determination to finally live life to the fullest with whatever time I have left. I have never been in better shape mentally or physically as I am right now. I have a solid foundation of confidence and courage to execute just about anything I set my mind to.
I have accumulated the wisdom to know the difference between fulfilling needs and satisfying wants.
There are times when I wonder if I would be in a better place had I not spent a good majority of my life running from emotional pain. I remind myself of all of the good that has happened in my life, and it far surpasses the bad. Looking back, there is nothing that I would change.
Everything Happens for a reason.
My emotional scars have helped shape my mindset to make me uniquely me. The trials that I have faced and the friendships that I have called upon to help me through have enforced lifelong relationships that have been pressure treated with time. I love my life and all of the challenges that it has brought, and I look forward to living out another 40 years if I am so lucky as I have been in the past 40.