Before 40

The age of 40 is a touchstone, albeit an awkward one. 30 is still seen as the dividing line between supposed youth and supposed adulthood. (A look over at Hikaruland might prove that debatable), and 50 means you’ve lived half a century. 40, I reckon means that you should’ve cast off those last vestiges of youth and become a full-fledged adult.

  

Now why is my 36 year old self pondering 40?

Well, much as how people talk about “Bucket Lists,” I’ve been coming up with a “40 List” of experiences I’d like to have before I hit middle adulthood.

  1. Spend a month in Uruguay or Chile learning Spanish. 
  2. Interview Ben Cousins and tell him in person that his story saved my life.
  3. Visit Mississippi, in particular the area where my father grew up and also visit Jackson (the state capital) to acknowledge my great great cousin Blanche Kelso Bruce (1st Black US Senator to serve an entire term).   (Jessie Mae Hemphill, a blues performer from the area of Mississippi my father’s family is from.)
  4. Find out more about the Irish & Choctaw sides of my family.
  5. See another openly gay NRL player play and succeed professionally.
  6. Visit Australia outside of the East Coast.
  7. See one of my plays performed.
  8. Visit Quai d’Orsay (the home of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
  9. Get married. (The child aspect, is, as per family tradition, going to happen after 40.)
  10. Finally become an Australian citizen (though not until after #6)
  11. Become an advocate for a healthy body image amongst gay men.

So that’s 11 experiences within 4 years. Hopefully it’s doable.

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A Sacrifice for Mississippi

 

 

Belzoni in 1939

Belzoni in 1939

 

I’ve completed 2 full days smoke-free.

 

I’m not doing so for any forced reason such as lower health fund costs or due to a health scare.

 

The reason is mostly financial and personal.

 

I’d like to visit my father’s hometown in Mississippi.

 

My father and most of his family left Belzoni, Mississippi in 1943, when he was 7.

 

When they left, his family likely saw scenes like the picture at the top of the post on a daily basis

 

My father passed away in 2002 having never returned to it in his entire life, something that I think probably saddened him immensely.

 

Belzoni is a part of myself as well that remains mysterious.

 

I don’t know what to expect, but I know that I have to do this trip.

 

Given that my great great great relative Blanche K. Bruce was also the Senator from Mississippi (and served as Sheriff for Bolivar County, which is only a few counties North from Humphreys County where Belzoni is), there’s a strong calling from that side of the family as well.

 

Sign seen upon entering Mississippi

Sign seen upon entering Mississippi