I turned thirty-nine the other day. That means I’m almost forty. For a long time, I had a list of things that I wanted to have accomplished by the time I was forty. Some of those things have been achieved, others not. Forty was the age I had in mind for when I would have reached a level of composure and integrity that I considered noble. I’m not sure where I stand. I haven’t even opened that list to see where my last aims at perfection might be in the last year before the pinnacle moment arrives. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on trying to improve myself. It’s a life-long process. I guess I see more that it’s hard to set temporal targets on inner growth. It might be useful as a motivator, but we can never ensure that we reach those goals because there’s more to personal transformation than the will to achieve it: there are also the obstacles in the way, and the Grace that dictates when our hearts can be opened from ‘above’.
But getting close to forty is also a nice reminder of my mortality. Statistically, I’m nearing the middle of my life. When young, one seems to think that life is eternal, or at least that death is so far away. Death is an inevitability, and the older one gets the more real that becomes. This truth used to frighten me to the core, hence another reason I turned a blind eye to my destiny. Now, I am more at ease with it, perhaps a sign that in fact I have shifted something within.