Two days ago, I turned 35. One day ago, I finished reading Mozart: A Life in Letters. Comparisons to Mozart are bound to end in disappointment, since he accomplished so much in his short life — more in 35 years than most people do in 80, and more brilliantly. Yet, just as I thought of Jeanne d’Arc when I turned 17 (when she began her crusade against the British), 19 (when she was burned at the stake), and again at 20 (when I reached an age she never reached), I can’t help thinking of Mozart at 35. Had he lived two months more, I would be thinking of him at 36, but 35 is also when people reach their creative peak. I don’t know where I read this, and perhaps it’s complete nonsense, but Mozart and creativity go together, since he is the most protean of composers, and perhaps of all artists. What he did would be akin to a visual artist becoming unsurpassed in painting, sculpture, and architecture; or a writer mastering poetry, novels, short stories, essays, and plays.
I find it interesting to read what I wrote when I turned 30. Unlike then, I am out of my parents’ house; like then, I am still not published (minus my poetry book). But I am closer to being published. Much closer. I visited my brother and sister-in-law last week and found new resolve in making the publication of my novel my top priority. Even with SIFF coming up, and all the posts I will be writing about the festival, the novel will be finished this year. With luck, the search for publishers will also begin in 2014.
Since I already looked back at my accomplishments at 30, I don’t feel I need to at 35. Instead, I am trying to live more in the moment, while still attempting to peek around the corner and see what my future looks like. To help with that, I have started meditating once a day. Only on a few occasions have I not been able to keep up this practice, and whether from this or from signs of spring that are appearing in Seattle — like sun — I am hopeful. I feel that my thirties will only get better, and that my future struggles will be not be the past struggles of survival, but of thrift.
And, if I live what’s considered a normal lifespan, I have more than half my life to still look forward to — unlike Mozart, who had less than a year.