Have you ever considered how a “typical” life unfolds?
You are born. You go through your childhood being a “kid” and having fun. As a teenager, you test the boundaries, and you experience crushes and love and heartbreak. In your twenties, you start to find yourself, your relationships mature a little and you discover the real joys of sex, maybe you are in college, you start your life in the “real world”. By your late twenties, you start engaging in your career, or at least making some inroads, and maybe you find “the one”. In your thirties, your life matures, you don’t necessarily go out all the time, your home life begins taking shape and possibly you start a family. By the time you’re forty, you’ve made considerable headway into your career, hopefully you have some money invested for your retirement, and if you’re lucky, you’re still married, you have kids and even a house.
I have always felt like I am living my life out of order. Instead of being a linear life-long development, my life resembles the story structure of a Tarantino movie – back and forth and forth in time with no real clue to how everything will tie together at the end.
When I was a kid, I played and had a great time, like most kids. But, I was also blessed with some smarts and often felt just as comfortable around adults with a lot more experience than I had. I guess you could have called me an “old soul”. I wasn’t a troublemaker, and often did everything I could to avoid trouble.
I was most certainly not your typical teenager. Did not go out with my friends much, didn’t date much, enjoyed my alone time, and I certainly did not rebel. At least, not a lot. Maybe my parents remember it differently…
In my 20s, I did not have the drive and ambition of those around me. I discovered the joys of cutting class and doing just what I wanted, when I wanted. Procrastination became a way of life. Days of college stretched into months stretched into years. Having fun with my friends took priority over anything else. Fumbled my way through a few short relationships, the kind of shallow and hormone-fueled relationships that I had shunned as a teenager.
By my late twenties I finally started feeling the pull of the real world. I reluctantly, slowly, achingly, gave myself over to the reality… I needed to move on.
Finally in my thirties I broke the cord. Out on my own for the first time in my life. Stunningly enough, I did not feel like a loser. Just felt like I was jumping into “real life” with a bit more seasoning. Decided to go back to school and get my teaching license because I really felt like teaching music was what I wanted.
Spent my thirties getting geared up for my “career”. Entered my career and it went fine at first. Then, in my third year, I found out that I had waited too long to get my act together. I had no connection to my students. The culture had changed so dramatically and I had been unplugged from it for so long that I had a hard time finding my passion for anything. Never honed my piano skills to the fine edge needed to be a really successful choir director. So, back to the drawing board…
In the meantime, I had entered my first real relationship. Lost my virginity. She was “the one”. I grew more in these three years than I had in the preceding 20. It was wonderful, eye-opening, educational beyond anything I had experienced, and full of fatal flaws and mistakes, because I had never worked through these issues in earlier relationships like most people do. Heartbreak and regret on a scale I had never imagined before.
Now at 40. Enjoying what I do, but looking to truly reinvent my life and move on. Take all these years of experience, unique and/or mundane as they are, and begin as if I were 22.
Because, after all, mine is a life lived out of order.