This week, while we're almost at the end of it, has been better in weather and less achiness, smoother in terms of productivity. I'm plowing through library tasks and gearing up for the new semester that starts Monday. I'm getting closer to being caught up on orders and author copies. I'm feeling calmer and less overwhelmed. (Though productivity comes at a cost of creativity, so while I've put the writing and art on hold momentarily til the weekend, I've been indulging my artsiness via design projects for work and cover art for forthcoming books.) This works for awhile, but then I start to get itchy.
I was watching the episode of Friends tonight while folding books and it was the episode where they all freak out over turning 30, which got me thinking about decades and spans of your life and whether your feel like your really an adult, like you've really accomplished the things you feel you should have at any given age. I've always considered my twenties as a time period I was laying a lot of groundwork..college, my first apartment out on my own, grad school, my first real job (well then my second real job that was much better.) I was also sort of laying the foundations of what I guess could be considered "voice" in my writing, or at least moving toward a range of voice. While I completed that first rather awful manuscript at 25 (in a rush, mostly because I felt like I needed to get that done before I hit that particular age) by the time I hit 30, things were beginning to happen--publications, prizes, finishing up what would become my first book, the fever almanac. I was enrolled in the first year of my MFA program, was just starting the press, was just starting the poems that would become in the bird museum. Given all that, I was not all that fazed by that particular birthday, mostly becuase I felt like I had accomplished alot in my twenties and was pretty much doing exactly what I wanted with my life. My thirties were definitely more of the same, more writing, more books, the wild and amazing success of the press and how its grown. Building on the groundwork I'd laid in my 20's and really coming into my own. Granted, my focus was on various things at various times---sometimes more on visual arts and crafty things, sometimes on the press, sometimes on my own writing. I also feel like the last few years I've gotten more comfortable in my skin, in my sense of self, in articulating the things I want and value most.
While I've been 40 for nearly a year and am staring down 41, I'm both excited and terrified at what the next decade brings..I don't quite feel all mid-life crisis-y, but I feel like what I want more is balance, to not being careening from one thing to another, always that need to be more organized, more able to be in the moment and not be racing, both mentally and physically. To enjoy things and not being ticking off checkmarks on a list and allowing the unchecked to impede my enjoyment of the thing I am doing right now. I still plan to work just a hard and do all the things, but to luxuriate in all the things I love much more than I have in the past.