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  • "You are going to be 50 soon," he noted wryly as we stood on the balcony in late afternoon light.

    "Soon?" I cried. "In 10 years! Ten and three quarters!"

    He raised an eyebrow and kept laughing.

    "You'll be 50 soon, too."

    At a year and a half younger than me, his jokes about age fell flat.

    "That's true," he conceded. "We are both closer to 50 than 20."

    I thought that for a second - about me at 20, him at 20, and both of us now.

    "Good," I said. "I am glad about that. I like me now. I was a big hot mess at 20."

    "So was I. We both were."

    A couple of decades ago, much closer to 20 than where I am now, I saw a quote on the side of the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder, Colorado. I lived close. I toured it regularly. They gave free samples, and I didn't have a lot of friends in Colorado.

    Decades later, much closer to 50 if not yet 40, I remember the quote. I cannot remember who said it or the exact wording, and my memory fades a little bit more each time I push, wearing thin like an old blanket. I don't even know if it's warm at this point, but I find comfort in the fabric.

    In my hazy memory, the words on the building told me to figure out who I wanted to be and strive to become it. Life is no more and no less than that.

    In recent years, I have heard similar thoughts and read similar words. Blogger Mel Hattie recently wrote, "Figure out who you want to be. Start making choices as if you're already that person, and pretty soon you will be. People who have similar ideals will love you for who you are, and even your enemies will admire your ability to stick to your guns."

    I have spent the better part of two decades doing just that. I have been striving to become the person I want to be. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, I fail. Sometimes, the big hot mess oozes out, but mostly, I manage to contain it. Sometimes, life throws a wrench in the works, and I have to find a detour. Sometimes, I have to find a different destination.

    For the most part, though, I am happy with the me I have become, and I cannot wait to meet me at 50.

    We stood for a while in the cold winter sun, my brother and me, thinking.

    "Let's go in."

    No one can go back and make a brand new start; however, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
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