40 Questions Upon Turning 40
by Christopher Luna
Christopher Luna in Newberg, OR August 2011
Photograph by Mary Slocum
Am I really wiser than my 20-year-old self, or have I merely
attained a more highly evolved version of the same old foolishness?
How much time do I have?
Can I get it together?
Can I flip the script?
Can one live in the moment while preparing for an uncertain future?
How can I prevent myself from allowing habit-forming thoughts to guide my actions?
Do the friends I have left behind, and the friends who have left me behind, know that I love them still?
Am I full of shit?
Can I quiet my mind?
If I quiet the mind, will the poetry continue to come?
Am I doomed to remain forever in debt?
What prevents me from reaching my full potential?
Will I ever stop being furious at the faithful?
Would opening my heart to the religious serve any purpose?
Who am I to judge?
Why am I so self-righteous?
Why do I miss opportunities?
Am I compassionate enough?
Am I fooling myself?
Am I aware of what is in front of me, or are my eyes clouded by ignorance?
Will I ever be able to forgive her?
Is there no way to stop Angelo, my soon-to-be teenaged son, from concluding that I am an imbecile?
What if I am an imbecile?
Will he be able to hold on to his sweetness?
Will he spend two decades (or more) convinced that I am a fool, as I did with my parents?
How can I be a better partner to Toni, who has provided me such sweet sanctuary and devotion?
Can I control my appetite?
Is insatiability a consequence of karma or temperament?
Is this going to be fun?
Will I find the answers I seek, or just new questions?
Are humility and aesthetic excellence mutually exclusive?
How do I avoid becoming an arrogant prick in sheep’s clothing?
Do I bore people?
Are they interested in my passionate rants, or are they just being polite?
Is it really possible to love everyone?
Does it matter that there are some whom I dislike with an intensity approaching fury?
Is self-analysis a trick of the mind, a distraction, mental masturbation?
Have I learned anything?
How can I be a better man?
What discoveries await me in my fifth decade?
September 10, 2011