Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Pirate Looks at Forty

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all
Let's get the basics out of the way first. On December 30th, 2006 I turn forty years old.

Several people have told me lately that forty is no big deal - it's fifty, or sixty. Or just forty-one, because that proves your on your way to fifty. Whatever. After all it's really just an arbitrarily ordered random number. It's based on our base10 decimal counting system, which has its origins in the fact that we all have ten fingers and ten toes. As this guy taught us, had we been born with twelve fingers and twelve toes our counting system would've been quite different, and our age milestones would come about (what we call) thirty-six and forty-eight. This wouldn't even be the year 2006, it'd be... um, well actually I have no idea what 2006 would be in base12 but that's not the point - the point is that just because forty, in human terms is a nice round number and starts off an other set of ten numbers, it really doesn't mean a heck of lot different than thirty-nice or forty-one.
Watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of 'em dream, most of 'em dream.
So what does this mean to me? I don't really consider myself a "pirate" like the song says but I do see myself as a romantic, a dreamer, a creator - someone who enjoys the lure of adventure and drama.
Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late,
Cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate.
Arrivin' too late, arrivin' too late.
But I've not traveled the world, barely ventured beyond the borders of the U.S. I've not written a Great American Novel (though last month I sure tried). I'm not a captain of industry, not a great leader, not a person of any particular note outside my immediate sphere of family and friends.

I've never sailed a sloop through the Keys, never climbed El Capitan, never rode horseback in the Colorado plains. Never scuba'd the Great Barrier Reef, never watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace or walked the Great Wall of China.
I've done a bit of smugglin', I've run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last, never meant to last
I've never started a business, run a business, been responsible for the management of a business. I don't have a stock portfolio - if you ask me if I have Bonds, I'll ask you "Barry or James?" I'm not sure what my future holds for employment - I'm still looking for what I want to be when I grow up.

I've had some small success in performance arts. I've created a small name for myself in musical directing plays, which certainly keeps me in theatre but it's past time I move up and become a fully invested director.
And I have been drunk now for over two weeks
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks
But I got stop wishin', got to go fishin'
Down to rock bottom again
Just a few friends, just a few friends
So now, at forty, where does this leave me?

I have a wonderful family. A wife who loves me, and whom I love. Two kids I think the world of and are growing up before my eyes. My parents still encourage me, my brother's getting married. My church has given me a host of friends I will cherish the rest of my life - of which about 16-20 will be at our house Sunday night for New Year's Eve. I'm comfortable, I can still get out and play a game of softball without keeling over.

Heck, maybe now that I have my thirty's out of the way, I can start really living.
Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupation's just not around
I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown
Who knows? Guess I'll untie from the dock and shove off - looks like the sea is smooth and the weather's calm. I wonder what's beyond that horizon?

Let's find out. Wanna sail?

"A Pirate Looks at Forty"

-- Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett

1 comment:

  1. Yanno, Barry? Some people DO have twelve fingers and toes...but that is the result of a kind of backwoods way of living. ::chuckle::

    Hey, youuuuuuu, Happy 40th! I have long heard and even seen evidence that men are in their prime during their forties...workwise and otherwise. That "prime" can go on long past the forties, too.

    You have a good world that just needs tweaked to leave you feeling you are exactly where you want to be. (Referring to musically and in regard to work.) I just know you will do whatever you can to make it possible.

    ::releasing balloons and tossing confetti:: Enjoy your forties, my friend!