In less than ten days, God willing, I'll acknowledge 45 years on planet earth. Whatever thoughts I had about being 45 have been adjusted to my current reality. No matter what is going on in my life, I'm still a kid at heart. Most folks think I look ten years (or more) younger; in fact, some folks think I'm in my late 20's. Am I flattered? Yes, though aware that my body has experienced a great deal of living.
I tend to be introspective. I can be found on any given day deep in thought. I'm aloof, indifferent or standoffish at times - as a coping strategy - however, I'm very passionate about life. Ive always been hard, perhaps too hard, on myself. My standards are important to me, if no one else. As a child I strived for excellence, but when I was punished, I internalized anger, betrayal, resentment & shame. I tried to compensate by becoming a perfectionist: an unattainable goal. The lesson learned was self-forgiveness.
Giving myself a break has not been easy. I expect the best of myself. When I fall short, make mistakes or wander off course, I tend to react emotionally. Today, I'm learning to respond to life: my attitude, my choices, my feelings, my patterns, my responsibilities, etc. My mother tried to impress the significance of patience on me as a yung man. Did I listen? No. I pray for patience, despite my daily worries.
I was at the gym thinking about working out for two & half hours. I laughed at the absurdity. What am I trying to prove? And, for who? I'm no longer obsessed w/ a six pack. I like my body. But what I don't like is feeling as if time is running out on me. I lack energy & motivation more than I care to admit these days. I get tired quicker w/ out doing anything at all! My sex life is null & void. The end seems closer than the beginning.
Nevertheless, I'm determined to try to & enjoy each days as it comes. I remember some time ago a guy saying he lives every days as if it's his last: finally, I understand. You know how you hear something & you want to reject it immediately because it sounds too good to be true? Then you remember somebody saying anything too good to be true, probably IS.
Regardless of how I feel, I'm grateful for each moment God gives me. I have what I need: family, friends, happiness & health. I continue to set goals, but I'm more flexible than my younger years. The urgency is gone. As a result, I can relax a little. I take a mental health day, week or month if I choose to. I do my best & let go of the rest. Besides, so what if I'm lazy? My spiritual condition is most important. As a Black man, I desire to grow old gracefully, like Ossie Davis. So what if I'll never run a marathon? I can still dance my ass off.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.