As my 40th birthday approached, I was determined to consider many of the facets of my life with an examining eye (the Indigo Girls, in their song "Watershed," sang "every five years or so I look back on my life, and I have a good laugh"). I want to determine the direction I would like to follow. I have always said that history must always play a prominent role in the work that I do, and that will not change. But there are so many times when I feel like singing Erykah Badu's song "Didn't Cha Know," because I thoroughly understand where she is coming from.
I am looking for different things in my life now. I hope to find love (I feel like I could sing Erykah's song "Honey," though I would change her lyric "love" to "like," since I am not in love at this time), and I want to consider the idea of settling down, though I know it may take me a while to find the right man. I want greater meaning in my personal and work lives, and I want to unwrap the passions that exist within me. I want to engage history in more meaningful ways than I have in the recent past. I want to get in better shape. In short, I want to lead a more fulfilling life.
The difference now is that I am ready to meet those challenges. I am ready to restructure my life in fundamental ways, and I think the world will benefit from the changes. My family and friends have been on my side the entire time, and I have not done poorly for myself by any stretch of the imagination. However, there are too many things missing. There is not a sense of satisfaction in my world (with the exception of my friends and family, including one recent burgeoning friendship). And I know that when I find the sense of comfort and space that I need, then the world will have to watch out, because I will want to take as much of it as I can before I leave (and I would dedicate it to my late uncle Joe, who introduced the beauty of jazz to my world, and the passion for cultural connections with both the United States and continental Africa).
I just need to take those steps, one at a time, each time moving one step ahead.