I remember thinking that I’d be 36 years old when the year 2000 came around and that age seemed so OLD! And today, I’ve turned 50 and I still feel young. If I close my eyes, in my heart of hearts, I feel 25 years old. Of course, the mirror punctures that fantasy.
When I think back to those dusty dreams of my 25 year old self, a lot of them remain unattained or almost forgotten. But the most important of them have been reached:
- I married the woman of my dreams. She’s beautiful, funny and sexy. She’s a wonderful mother. And I still watch with interest as she dresses or undresses. 😉
- I have three beautiful kids. Each of them is unique in their own way. I cried for joy at each of their births. (And my eyes are watering here in Starbucks as I contemplate how much I love them.)
I’ve been blessed with a great family. My parents were supportive and although they are both gone, I’m grateful for the time I had with them. My last words to both of them (even though their deaths were unexpected and years apart) were “I love you.” My siblings are supportive, amusing, sometimes annoying, and loving. And my extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins are incredible, caring people.
I’ve been ridiculously lucky to have a cornucopia of wonderful friends. I mean, I’m still friends with the guys I hung out with in elementary school! But I continue to meet awesome people that I’m privileged to call friends.
As a kid, I had a technique for making friends that never failed: run into someone’s back yard, dance around like a crazy person and do a couple of somersaults. It’s been a while since I’ve used that technique, but somehow I still manage to make new friends.
There have been some bitter experiences. I’ve experienced my share of losses. My brother and my mother left this world much too soon. And although my father had a longer journey, it would have been nice to have him around for many more years. I’ve said goodbye to friends and family members and I miss them.
It took me many years to reframe what felt like one of my greatest failures. I was kicked out of the National Theatre School after one year in the Acting Section. Of course, it wasn’t so dramatic. They just said, “please don’t come back next year.” I even gave the artistic director a hug because he looked so miserable giving me the news.
But it was devastating to me. I took it as a confirmation that I had no acting talent or skill. I had no confidence in my acting abilities and it seeped into my beliefs about my writing, too. Within a couple of years, I shelved all dreams about being an actor or a writer.
The crazy thing is that I didn’t focus on the positives. I let the opinions of a few people affect my beliefs in myself. Instead of focusing on getting kicked out of NTS, I should have remembered the accomplishment of being accepted there. They audition all across Canada and only take in about 15 students every year. It’s a lot easier to get kicked out of the school than it is too get accepted into it. 😉
The other thing that I should have focused on was how much I got out from going to the school. I was asked to be in a play solely because I had been accepted to the school. A young woman named Deb Dagenais played my wife. Two years later, life imitated art and we were married. I can trace so many great and wonderful things in my life because I met Deb and that wouldn’t have happened without going to the school.
Also, some of my closest friends I met at the school or through my connections with the school.
The lesson that I eventually realized from this experience was:
Pursue your dreams. They may not always lead you to where you think they will, but they’ll always lead you to where you should be.
If there was something I wanted to pass on to my kids (or anyone else that will listen), it would be to always look for the opportunity to learn. Don’t be afraid to fail – we usually learn the best lessons from those experiences. There is no such thing as failure if you’ve learned something from the experience. It’s okay to look foolish. Ask for what you want. Get used to rejection and don’t let the fear of it prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Love is an action, not a state of mind. Love the people you love.
The realist part of me knows that I have more days behind me than in front of me. The optimist, though, knows that there are so many more things to experience, goals to reach and people to meet.
I feel younger today than I did ten years ago.