“Because I am afraid of things, of being hurt, and death, I have to attempt them.”
~ T.H. White,England Have My Bones
Later this month I will celebrate a birthday. And not just any birthday, but my 50th. I’ve heard phrases before like “40 is the new 20,” but I’m not sure 50 is the new anything. 50 is what it's always been, or for at least as long as I can remember - the halfway mark, the top of the hill. Besides, I don’t think I want to be 20 again, or 30. Oh sure, I can long for those younger days, but the reality is I’ve already lived them. I believe a man should be his age. And I’m about to be 50.
There is a real sense of time slipping away, a sense I didn’t feel at 30 or 35. I’ve had a few classmates from high school to die and that’ll sure jolt you awake, because you to want to make the most of the time you have. I’m not bucket-listing necessarily, but there are some things I want to try, some things I feel I have to attempt, some things that now, here at 50, as a man I must risk. One of those is self-publishing a book of poetry. I’ve wanted to do this for quite awhile, but the timing has always felt off. Well, now the timing’s on. And while that may not sound all that daunting, the truth is I’m afraid. But that’s why I have to do it.
There are stories of self-published poets catching the eyes or ears of someone of influence who then becomes a patron of sorts and the rest is history. But those kinds of stories are the exceptions. It's not that I don’t believe I could be an exception, because I do, but that’s not the reason I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I can’t let the fear win. To let fear win means dying with regrets, it looks like struggling for those last breaths while thinking, “I sure wish I would have…” and you finish that sentence with whatever it was you knew you were to do, but didn’t. But you don’t have to celebrate a 50th birthday to start attempting those things you’re afraid of. In fact, it is much wiser to get started a bit earlier if you can. So, what are you afraid of? Whatever those things are, just don’t let the fear win. You’re a better man than that. Attempt them.