Forty One Years To Life ... The Outro

Thank you to everyone that shared, commented, cried, laughed, loved, liked, prayed, shouted, counseled, tweeted, stumbled, posterized, tumbled, facebooked, emailed, plusoned, texted & reshared. It was an amazing display of emotion, value, personality, love, life, passion, ardor, desire, spirit, art, energy, reality, color, family & charm.I appreciate  each and everyone of you.

Magic Always …

Mama & Johnny

“… take nothing for granted, don’t assume anything, and take life one day at a time and let age do the rest.”

N. Wallace

Kari

‘Something happened on the way to 30, Weight Watchers called “We have the solution”

“Something happened on the way to 30, The switch in my hips turned into a limp”

“Something happened on the way to 30, The pretty complexion became mole central (Party up in here! Moles stay #winning!)”

“Something happened on the way to 30, Afternoons spent thinking “Did I take my medication?”

“Something happened on the way to 40,I finally stopped caring about my age…”

BlaQ Daisy

Dear Yvette

“And everything you have can be stripped from you in the blink of an eye. So my new stance on life is this: LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH, and make yourself happy, regardless of your age. Man up or put on your big girl panties (whichever applies) and live with NO more regrets. 40 is my new 30.”

A. Waters

L. Delli-Santi

“What is really important, and often overlooked in the grand scheme, is that your past and the obstacles that were hurdled will always be a beautiful part of you.”

L. Delli Santi

D. Dorce

“As i reach another year i can only feel closer to achieving those goals, that aspect in my life of fulfillment, of achieving, of finally resting on that i am who i was meant to be and more, and able to share that with someone special.”

D. Dorce

Young Cyn'

“The older I get, the more I realize that there will come a point where I… we.. will age no more. But we can still live on.”

Cynti’

Ms.Nikks

“I allowed myself to remember that there’s so much in-between birth and death. So much living to be done and I got back to the place I was before turning 25.”

Ms.Nikks

T. NG

“I love getting my hair wet in the rain, singing love songs and not worrying about being perfect. I’m excited about thirty because I’m going in as a woman who loves works and plays hard. You are always more blessed and beautiful than you think you are.”

T. Ng

Will

“I had a great life in the past. I enjoyed my early youth (hey, I think I am still in my youth)! But in order to truly gain and appreciate the gifts of age, you have to embrace it. And with that, I EMBRACE MY AGE.”

Willie Stylez

W. Tisdale

“Now at 41, I think Tina Turner and Sidney Poitier are awesome. I used to think if I earned $50,000 I’d be rich as hell, then I reached that milestone and the folks at Discover Card wouldn’t leave me alone.”

W. Tisdale

J. Francis

“Now with age I see purpose, legacy, meaning in movement. What do I stand for? The truest values of life now run through my head as I navigate the current storm of change that is this nation.”

J. Francis

Citizen Ojo (2)

“The college years were the beginning of adulthood. It was a time of reinvention and self exploration. I was coming into my own and was figuring out who I really was.”

Citizen Ojo

Jennifer

“As I looked back at my past year I was amazed at my growth and how far I’d come. Slowly I was able to find my place in the world as an adult. I could stand on my own two feet and with that I found my strength.”

Jennifer

Inspired Enigma

“Aging is inevitable and I’m a work in progress. Some days a masterpiece; other days a disaster.”

Enigma

Sunny

“My advice: Don’t trip over age; just remember those who you’ve lost that never got a chance to live to see that day in their lives.”

S. Salter

Lisa

“…whether it’s late nights or early mornings, my time is my own, and I’m cherishing every minute of it.”

Lisa

J-Up4Dsn

So now it is time that you start looking at your aging as a wonderful thing. Enjoy the things that you can still do and be happy that you can no longer do the things you once did. Know that there is truly a reason for that. It’s time for you to love who you are and love GOD for creating you.

Jay

spinks

These days I spend more time thinking about relationships.  I refuse to be a hurt person who hurts other people.  So I love hard.  I nurture all of my relationships and when I'm not treated how I want to be treated I don't linger...I just let go.

Y. Spinks

C. Black

“Planning is only effective if action immediately follows. The best way to live is to embrace every moment and use and enjoy each one. There is not a rewind button.”

C. Black

NewNew

“The tugging in my body & soul over this past year wasn’t the anxiety of turning another year older, it wasn’t the thought of any failures or regrets, it wasn’t about not being where I believe I should be but it IS about needing to make an impact, knowing that my existence matters.”

B. TramueL

R. Boyd

“Every day you wake is a new day with new possibilities. If you are out of shape then it is time to hit the gym become a physically fit middle aged, body beautiful, temptation to your spouse or intended. A new mercy from God opens the door for better second half of your life.”

R. Boyd

Mel'

“There’s an allure to complete important unfinished business that at one time drove your daydreams and goals for they have not perished but simply waited for the right time.”

Melzie

41 Years To Life
41 Years To Life

Forty One Years To Life ... Melzie

Good Times

The myth, the mystique…the big 4-0. As we slowly ascend to what many see as a peak of life, those ahead of us in years say there’s something different about this phase. That it’s the start of something so unique they often find it hard to describe, but try to reassure us it is the best time of their lives. Like any new stage of life, the months leading up are often shadowed by uncertainty and anxiety. It’s an age that pushes many to reach back to reclaim long forgotten dreams and relive carefree moments, only to embrace the fact that this shiny new crown carries an exciting level of maturity and insight. Admittedly, there's heaviness in the responsibility of knowing that from this point on some will look to you for wisdom and you will be sought out as one who has the ability to lend a hand to those following in your footsteps. Yet you feel equipped to handle everything that comes your way. Sure, the days seem to fly by and your time is invaluable, but your innate vision is crystal clear even though you may have to reach for a pair of spectacles every now and then :)

There’s an allure to complete important unfinished business that at one time drove your daydreams and goals for they have not perished but simply waited for the right time. There’s also a freedom in speaking your mind, revealing your heart and releasing the minutiae and people who no longer serve a purpose in your life. Throwing away the notion that the tangible things are all that we should strive for is an essential step, a layer that falls off on its own. Ultimately, you find the beauty and significance in the moments, experiences and awareness that drive your days and settle your nights. Undeniably, these are indeed the good times!

Wishing you infinite joy and abundance in the years ahead!

Your friend, Mel

Mel'

Mel'

Forty One Years To Life ... R. Boyd

Forty Years To Life

The story of man and his development is an ongoing saga of ups and downs. Forty years of living sets the stage for the rest of your life. If we look back at all of our experiences we find that we concentrate on a plethora of failures and our minute successes. But I think the best thing to do is look to the future and the possibilities.

What’s next?

When you hit forty you find your body has changed and your mindset has changed. Your body maybe a little fatter and your mindset is, to become as healthy as you were when you were twenty. The one thing you can’t change is as your age increases your body functionality decreases. Your legs get weaker and your arms get saggy. Your mind slows down and so do you. The worst part is you try to keep up with changing times but find that you are old. As my nephews told me the other day you can’t even find your expiration date because you have been around so long it has rubbed off. When you hit forty, life has become a crap shoot you may find yourself looking for an exit but because you have responsibilities you continue on. Because you have goals that you set for yourself when you were twenty and you have not reached them you press toward the goal that much harder. You stress over what I can accomplish before I get to old to do anything or possibly die. You live each day as if it is your last trying to leave a legacy or at least a mark on the world to say you were here. If you don’t have kids you begin to look for the first available dumb chick that will have your baby and not want to be married. If you have kids you pray that your spouse has not gotten tired of you and wants to divorce you leaving you to weekend visits by the little people you have given birth to. If you are divorced you are wondering if the opportunity to love will ever come again. Single mothers and fathers are in a more precarious situation they have to still trudge forward on a single income and hope that child support will be paid so they can afford to send the children to college or continue to provide while they are in college. What they have that is a blessing is the opportunity to advance financially now that the kids have left nest and are beginning their own adult lives. Now is the time, be a better example for your children don’t give into the notion that you can re-live the life that has passed; get over it, it has passed.

Life has not passed you by:

Yes the past is what it is you can’t change that, but life is not over at forty. The good news is now is the time to re-invent yourself and become brand new. Every day you wake is a new day with new possibilities. If you are out of shape then it is time to hit the gym become a physically fit middle aged, body beautiful, temptation to your spouse or intended. A new mercy from God opens the door for better second half of your life. You have to set new goals that are attainable in the near future and let go of goals that have since passed you by. Goals that make life worth living another forty years and into retirement that set you up to live comfortably while you rest in your retirement village. This is a time where you amass your wealth monetarily and spiritually. It is a time to become the new person you forgot about when you were raising your kids and concentrating on your career. A new person that loves hard, plays hard, and more importantly Praise hard. This is the time to love yourself and all your faults and make life the most enjoyable life you could have imagined. It is easy to get caught up in failures but now is not the time to worry about that; it is the time to worry about what to wear to the party; a party that begins every morning; a party that brings light to a dark world; a party that you organize on your behalf. This party includes a select group of friends that have stuck by you through thick and thin and wish blessings on you all the time. This select group of people is the ones who know where the bodies are buried and knows the bones that are hidden in your closet. They are the ones who will celebrate the next half of your life, occasionally taking you out to dinner and maybe buy you a gift or two just because you are you. This is the time to teach your children how to be upstanding adults and guide them in their pursuit of happiness. Teach them how to set attainable goals by giving them the knowledge of your failures and the lessons you have learned. Do not be ashamed to share life experiences with your children they are the best gift you can give them. You are the example not the governor so if they don’t listen to your warnings or your encouragements love them anyway and be there for them if they fall. If you are single explore being single and free, do not be afraid of the single life embrace it and feel free to live it to the fullest. Keep in mind that your spirit self is connected to the Holy Spirit so do not damage the relationship you have with God by living recklessly or unholy. If you are married live like you are on your honeymoon again and explore every inch of the marital vows, bed, and life. This second half of life should cause you to have a new love for your spouse and a new love for life.

Celebrate:

Do exactly that! Celebrate life for we do not know when the time will come.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted;

3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time dance;

5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6. A time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

7. A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

This is your season Forty years to life

R. Boyd

R. Boyd

Forty One Years To Life ... B. TramueL

Legacy

Powerful & Disturbing, Jeremiah 32:18

You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the father's sins into the laps of their children after them

It wasn’t until I sought clarity that caused my understanding of this verse to move from what I heard in hip-hop lyrics & barbershop philosophy to SHIFT. When I Am … selfish, when I Am … quick to anger, when I Am … sinful, I Am … not the only one my sins affect. We [Father’s] pass on these patterns, lay them in our children's laps & they carry them.

We receive an inheritance; more than a financial gift, the inheritance we receive from our environment and primarily our parents is the determining factor of why we are the way we are. It’s growing up with BIG mama teaching us to fold towels a very specific way & having that belief imprinted in our thinking allows us to be critical of anyone who doesn’t fold them the ‘correct’ way. Our inheritance is an assumption that our way of living, our way of thinking is right & secretly [or openly] we feel that others’ ways are wrong. Our parents, schools, culture and churches most times reinforce these beliefs. “I don’t care how your family folds towels, it is wrong! Our family will fold towels exactly like this.”  This selfish view and the convictions they are born from become part of the endowment we collect and pass along.

Inheritance flows into us, legacy flows out.

The tugging in my body & soul over this past year wasn’t the anxiety of turning another year older, it wasn’t the thought of any failures or regrets, it wasn’t about not being where I believe I should be but it IS about needing to make an impact, knowing that my existence matters. The desire in our heads & hearts to make an impact on the lives around us; inspire us, embolden us to focus on the legacy we leave behind. We can pass on selfishness, anger and sin with no effort, especially if we want to repeat the wounds of our inheritance, our father’s sins.

This year’s wish is for a conversion, a transformation, the guidance of my true Father’s hand upon my life to transform the legacy I will leave with others.

I Am … transforming my legacy.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Forty One Years To Life ... C. Black

“There's time enough, but none to spare.” Charles W. Chesnutt

I am getting close to the 42 mile marker in my journey and I feel like my trip has just begun. I get to reflect on the things that I have been blessed to have accomplished during my life so far, and I realize that I truly have been blessed. It took me a long time to be comfortable in my own skin and in many ways I spent a lot of time trying to be someone else. Though I have been a lifelong introvert I have found that one cannot hide from life. I have been guilty of procrastination in the past and because of this I have learned a few things. Planning is only effective if action immediately follows. The best way to live is to embrace every moment and use and enjoy each one. There is not a rewind button. The only aspect of time that is tangible and real is the present so living in the moment is paramount. Mistakes are inevitable but the experiences that come from the mistakes are invaluable. The only mistake that we can make that is valueless is the failure to live our lives to the fullest. Aging is a part of living but not something that should hinder our continued progress. Birthdays only mark the milestones of time spent on our journeys and I personally would like to continue my trip for as long as I possibly can.

13659_1173960030507_1273255820_30470829_7022747_n
254734_1937260392539_1273255820_31794597_8094594_n

Forty One Years To Life ... Y. Spinks

40 Years...I'm not sure how I feel about turning a year older this year. I'm still trying to process my feelings. On my 33rd birthday, I remember lying in bed trying to cope with the fact that instead of spending the weekend in sunny L.A. at the Blogging While Brown Conference, I had just buried my mother three days before. The thoughts of the trip were secondary to the fact that my mom wasn't there to tell me happy birthday. What a birthday!

I thought about all the times I took her "Happy Birthday!" calls for granted. All of the times she let me know that she didn't buy me anything because she didn't have a clue of what I wanted, but I could take her Sears card to find something suitable.  Every year I declined because I didn't want the stuff--a closer relationship would have made my heart content.  This year I wished she was around so that I could tell her that.

So I would have to say that this year, my 33rd year, I learned that the saying, "Live everyday like it's your last day." is not just cliché.  Sometimes things come along and shake our foundation helping us realize that life is so much more that the minutiae we fuss about daily.  My mother and I spent over half of my life bickering.  It wasn't until my mother lay on her death bed that I understood that the problem we had wasn't really "our" problem.  She was just a women who loved a man who didn't want to be loved.  I was the result of that union and a constant reminder of her love for him.

These days I spend more time thinking about relationships.  I refuse to be a hurt person who hurts other people.  So I love hard.  I nurture all of my relationships and when I'm not treated how I want to be treated I don't linger...I just let go.  In her own way, my mom taught me it's okay to let go and that it's okay to love. This birthday I learned to say, I love you freely, without reservation.  God forbid I leave here anytime soon but when I do there will be no question as to how I feel about the people in my life.  Yep, my mama taught me that in her own little way...

I spent my entire life waiting for my mom to tell me she loved me.  She finally did...on her death bed...In my heart I know she always did.

spinks sideview

Forty One Years To Life ... Jay

AGE - A three letter word with so much meaning.To start things off, let me take a page of out Mr. TramueL’s book and share a few definitions of the word with you.

As a noun, AGE is defined as a period of human life, measured by years from birth, usually marked by a certain stage or degree of mental or physical development and involving legal responsibility and capacity.

As a verb, AGE means to bring to maturity.

Lastly, there is the idiom of AGE which refers to being old enough for full legal rights and responsibilities.

As you can see there are a number of different definitions for the word AGE. Personally, I believe the word revolves around the evolution and maturation of our being. It has everything to do with the steps we take and the moves we make. At the end of our lives it is the sum of all of our movements, decisions and choices; with each one stemming from the very moment that we were conceived. Now when I say conceived, I’m not referring to our natural conception. I’m referring to our conception in the mind and heart of GOD. It is my belief that in that moment the aging process began for each of us. In that moment, we were formed, created, given unique personalities and characteristics and filled with a LOVE like none other, by HIM. It is for that reason that I define age as GOD’S masterpiece of our life. It contains every element that HE used to create us and the minor additions that HE gave us the free will to include. That is why I think age is such a beautiful thing.

There are many people who go through life and they dread the aging process. All they can see is the negative and the limitations. Well, I want to tell everyone who reads this that aging is not a bad thing. Just the opposite, it is a marvelous thing. Yes, we may begin to look different and even lose the ability to do things that we once did with ease, but I believe it’s for a reason. GOD has a season and a purpose for everything, including our lives. There is a reason why our looks change and we can no longer do certain things. It’s because those things have already been added to our masterpieces. Think of it like a painting. A painter may begin using the color black and that color may be used to form and shape the image that is desired for that work of art, but at some point the painter is going to stop using the color black and begin using different colors. Do you know why? It’s because if the painter doesn’t stop using the color black, or even picks it back up after adding other colors, and continues painting the canvas black then eventually that will be the only color on that work of art. Nothing but black. No variety. No color. No clear image, picture or design. Just black. How appealing do you think that would be?

The same applies to GOD’S masterpiece of our lives. HE wants variety. HE wants color. HE wants beauty. HE also knows that HE is the creator and is in control of the way our masterpiece will look, but HE does allow us to add our own uniqueness to it every once in awhile. We can’t take the paintbrush from HIM. We can’t paint our masterpiece of our lives for HIM. This is what I think a lot of people have lost sight of. They believe they are in control of their lives. They believe they are the one holding the paintbrush and dictating what appears on the canvas. Well, they are sadly mistaken. It is GOD alone who is the creator. Think about it. I believe if it were left up to us, many of us would have black canvases. Also, I think many of us would have identical canvases. No variety. No uniqueness. We would likely do it our way or copy the way that someone else was doing it. GOD doesn’t want that for our lives. HE wants all of us to age differently, because HE wants each of us to have a unique and one of a kind piece of art.

So now it is time that you start looking at your aging as a wonderful thing. Enjoy the things that you can still do and be happy that you can no longer do the things you once did. Know that there is truly a reason for that. It’s time for you to love who you are and love GOD for creating you. Make the most out of each step you take, every word you say and all of the precious decisions and choices you make. They all have meaning behind them. They all define you. Most importantly, they all are being added to the masterpiece of your life that GOD is crafting.

Stay Blessed,

*J

J-Up4Dsn

J-Up4Dsn

Forty One Years To Life ... Lisa

Does life begin at 40? Abso-friggin-lutely! 

I’m a planner by nature, but it’s totally by coincidence that my daughter would leave for college around the same time that I’m turning 40. I look at it as a time of rebirth for both of us. While she gets to create a new identity among people she’s never met, I have the chance to reintroduce myself to the me that slowly faded over time. Growing up, I was always Mary’s daughter or Jason’s sister. I had my daughter right after college and became Jordan’s mother. For 18 years, I’ve answered to that title proudly and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But for the first time since I left my college campus, I’m just Lisa again.

I made a conscious decision to move to a more diverse and active neighborhood back in May, one that fits who I really am when I’m not chauffeuring a kid around or making midnight runs to Wal-Mart for last minute supplies for a project. I’m free to go out for drinks after work on the spur of the moment or try the new recipe I saw in a magazine without worrying if someone else will like it. If I want to spend hours in the little bookstore down the street, I can. Wandering the halls of the history museum to check out the 1904 World’s Fair exhibit one more time or sitting in front of Monet’s Water Lilies for hours is no longer met with impatient glances. I’m not going to get all Jennifer Hudson on you and start singing about feeling good. I will say that whether it’s late nights or early mornings, my time is my own, and I’m cherishing every minute of it.

Lisa
Lisa

Forty One Years To Life ... S. Salter

Sunny’s Thoughts On Aging …

“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

~Author Unknown

I’m 28 years of age and I’m glad to have made it this far. So many friends I have lost early on, I’m privileged to see 28. I look forward to getting older… living past my 40’s is my goal as of right now.

My favorite birthday was last year; I spent it with close friends and family. Played cards and enjoyed the night. The age I felt most alive was 19, I had a baby girl who gave me a reason to keep things moving along. After facing death in the eye and making it this far I’m truly blessed.

My advice: Don’t trip over age; just remember those who you’ve lost that never got a chance to live to see that day in their lives.

S. Sarith

S. Sarith

Forty One Years To Life ... Jennifer

Coming of Age: Welcome to Adulthood

November of 2005 my parents and friends celebrated my birthday with a big party. As we celebrated the beginning of a year in my life I could only imagine what I had coming. I was in my second year community college and I knew in my heart it was time to get out and start my adult life and go off to a university.

So after the holidays I started pushing towards what I wanted my next big move to be. Since I knew that I wanted to study journalism and stay in state I started to look for colleges that met those requirements. I soon found the university I wanted to attend, and while it was four hours away from home I knew that I had found my new home.

Several months later, after applying and getting accepted I was moving into my dorm room. The experience was surreal to see moves that once made up my room now in a dorm room and watching my parents drive off without me. At that moment it hit me that I was alone and had to depend on myself.

Before I knew it November was here again. As I looked back at my past year I was amazed at my growth and how far I’d come. Slowly I was able to find my place in the world as an adult. I could stand on my own two feet and with that I found my strength.

me

me

MOADlogo_Web150x179

MOADlogo_Web150x179

Forty One Years To Life ... Citizen Ojo

Invisible-Man-780294

Invisible-Man-780294

I truly miss my undergraduate college years. Looking back on my life I believe those were my greatest years of potential. I know people will say "What about your life now? You have a lovely wife and a beautiful son. Shouldn't your life be great now"? I truly love my family and I am grateful for the life I have. But my college years were really great years. The problem was that I didn't know they were at the time. Those years were filled with so much promise and the future was wide open. Please don't get me wrong!! Everything was not picture perfect. I made a lot of missteps and missed a lot of opportunities. The college years were the beginning of adulthood. It was a time of reinvention and self exploration. I was coming into my own and was figuring out who I really was. My only regret was some of the decisions that I made. Because in my old age, I learned an important lesson. What you do in your past can effect your future.

Forty One Years To Life ... J. Francis

Coming of Age

To get older, to mature, to gain wisdom, to survive….With the passing of time many of these things and more can take place. I know for me they have. Some specific ages came with goals automatically attached to them. At 15 start working. My first job was a ride operator at Playland. At 16 legally drive. My first car was a Hyundai Excel 89’. At 18 I hit the stores to cop Philly blunts for the crew and at 21 I had legally purchased my $21 bottle of Bacardi Limon. It’s fun to think back on but in that jumble of young antics; by the grace of god I avoided other age associations. Incarcerated youth, High School Drop Out, “Baby Daddy”…..all those pitfalls of the American black man I avoided during my 20’s. And believe me I was hella close to a couple of those situations.

Now with age I see purpose, legacy, meaning in movement. What do I stand for? The truest values of life now run through my head as I navigate the current storm of change that is this nation. As time flies by we put more candles on the birthday cake. Perception changes every year, so what are you wishing for before you blow out your candles?

J. Francis

J. Francis

Forty One Years To Life ... W. Tisdale

It's amazing how time can teach you if you (the student) is willing and open. For example, when I was 19, I used to think 35 was OLD. Now at 41, I think Tina Turner and Sidney Poitier are awesome. I used to think if I earned $50,000 I'd be rich as hell, then I reached that milestone and the folks at Discover Card wouldn't leave me alone. Today when I think of all of who have left this earth too soon, I think of aging as a gift. To the high school dropout, I say aging is a gift that teaches if you are willing to learn. To the addict, I say aging is a helluva high that requires discipline. But to all who let life pass them by without truly enjoying the day, the hour, the moment, I say time never rewinds and aging well means you never have to.- Walker Tisdale

W. Tisdale

W. Tisdale