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Thoughts on Four Decades of Being Rik

rik at easter parade 09Today marks my 40th year on this planet.

I wish I had some grand epiphany to share at this point in my life.  But being a Quaker, I know that revelations don’t necessarily work on a schedule.

People have been asking me what it feels like to turn 40.

On the one hand, not much has changed. I feel as young, energetic and creative as I ever have.  I can do things with my body now that I couldn’t do at 25.  I am just as frenetic and busy as I have ever been.  And I am still making big life changes while others my age are starting to “settle down.”

On the other hand,  I feel like I am just starting to feel comfortable in my own skin, to feel integrated within own multi-layered identity.  I feel more at ease being the Filipino-American / Quaker / lindy hopper  / b-boy / geek / activist / virtual world explorer / blogger / Brooklynite. For once, I feel like I can be all those things, all the time, and have that make sense.

In the past, I have felt like I have had to draw hard lines between my different identities, to try to keep apart my different lives. I couldn’t let my work colleagues know that I was a swing dancer.  I couldn’t talk about Quakerism to my family.  I found the role-switching often confusing and exhausting.

Now I am just too old to work that hard to keep those roles in their little boxes.  I’m just... me.

I’ve had a crazy journey to get to this day -- from the slums of Juarez, Mexico to the stage at the Apollo Theater to a fossil dig in virtual Tanzania.  There has been very little that was conventional, or even logical, about the paths that I’ve taken. But somehow, everything has worked out alright.

Here’s what is on my mind, right now.

Right now, I am organizing a virtual summer camp for 20 New York and Chicago teens in Second Life.  

Right now, I am working on my breaking swipes and fast lindy skills.

Right now, I am preparing for a camping trip in August with my cousins in Northern California.

Right now, I am dreaming of buying my own place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Right now, I feel so fortunate to get to live this life. And I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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