closing out the sixth decade

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picture by Kim Thompson

Well, that went by in a jiffy. Don’t get all jiggy yet… it’s still a few days away. Think of this as a pre-emptive write. Sure, there have been challenges along the way (and probably a fair amount more ahead to face)… but I really have no complaints. Besides, bitching without action is worth absolutely nothing… nothing… except to create annoyance to others. (Yeah, this is a not so subtle hint to some of my friends on FB.)

Looking back, the one constant in my life can be encapsulated in two words… starting over. This truism has been part of my life ever since I was a kid. “Of course.”… you are nodding your heads… “Your choice of profession dictated that!” Fair point… but it actually goes beyond that.

It is more with the people in my life. From a very young age, I noticed that when one feels blessed with the people in our lives… circumstances will ultimately shift those people out. You are then tasked with replacing them with others. Then you feel blessed for a while… until the cycle repeats. The upshot is you get to meet and know a lot of people along the way. So, it is not entirely a bad thing. It certainly has added richness to my life. The lesson here is to make the best and fullest experience while it is happening. The “leave it till later” is a sure death knell to “it” ever happening.

As for what I chose to do as a profession… it became abundantly clear early in my training that my destiny did not lie in the forefront but in the background. The reality of the market when I started sort of dictated that. But I still wanted to be a storyteller… so, in order to facilitate that, I created my own universe and invited others in. This was hardly a stretch since I already had the grounding from the culture of hospitality that I grew up in.

It is true that I grew up different. Sure, everybody says that… but in my case, it was sometimes painfully true. I once ugly cried to my Mum and between sobs desperately demanded, “Why can’t I just be normal?!” Poor Mum… it was unfair for me to pile this on her with the life-long ‘mother’s guilt’ she already carried for me being a victim of polio. Hopefully, I made up for it down the line. Though it has to be said… that was also that same day I decided to embrace my ‘different-ness’ fully.

I’m sure being stricken with polio at the tender age of four months did contribute to my disposition… somewhat. But honestly, I cannot completely attribute it to my disability. You see, there has been something inside of me that always ran counter to my immediate surroundings. I did try to be like everybody else… really… but there has always been a streak in me that was… odd. It is subtle and kinda sneaky… but odd. It presents an appearance of ‘normal’… but it’s not. It is odd. In days of yore, the title of Marcel the Odd would have readily been bestowed upon me to much fanfare… or maybe derision. As such, I have never really assimilated… but observed and integrated instead.

No, this post is not going to be a life history. Parts of it already exists on this blog. And if you know me on a personal level… parts of it has been shared with you… and for that I am eternally grateful. Besides, no one’s life can be encapsulated in one post… and I am in no particular mood to embark on some wanky tome of my life. Suffice to say it is one that is chequered. At times I sowed both smiles and hurt along the way. Hopefully, the percentages of the former are higher than the latter. I’ve always tried to be honest with all my dealings… but there are also times when I have failed in that virtue to my own regret.

Looking back… I am thankful. I have seen. I have done. I have loved… and been loved. I am especially thankful to those who loved me and who inspired me to want to be a better version of myself. I am even thankful for the let-downs, challenges and seeming disasters that have occurred. Without them, I wouldn’t be the ‘me’ I am now. And I am most thankful for my never-ending curiosity to learn.

So, what’s up ahead? Who knows? To keep on doing and learning, I guess. A day will come when it all stops… at least for me. That day is closer than it once was. Until then, it is all forward with the tools I’ve acquired along the way… and I hope to pick up some new ones as well.

On the fourth of January when I enter my seventh decade… there will be a whole new set of triumphs, defeats, and challenges to face… but that’s life, ain’t it? Life is both grand and finite… so, use it while you have it. I fully intend to… in my odd little way.


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