10-Year Crisis

Posted: March 27, 2013 in General Musings, Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

Newsflash: I just got an invite to my 10-year high school reunion. AND I STILL DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO BRAG ABOUT!

We have officially reached DefCon 1, people.

Okay, so I have a college degree and a stable job that pays well and a loving marriage and a home of my own. In the larger social context, these are huge accomplishments. In fact, most people, even the ones who share my demographic, don’t have these things all at once. I am well aware that I am one lucky son-of-a-bitch. But, as always, context rules. I mean, for goodness’s sake, I had people expecting me to be president by now (an expectation I always thought was odd and not a little demonstrative of the failure of public education). And my hair still bends in weird ways, even with product in it. And I lack a sexy six-pack. And I still get acne for chrissake!

(I wonder: Do guys have to worry so much about physical adequacy when it comes to school reunions? I certainly hope so because this shitty feeling needs to be shared, dammit.)

More importantly, I feel as though I’ve fallen pitiably short of all expectations that I would be a wunderkind of some kind at this point. And despite my professional accomplishments that I take great pride in, I still feel like they’re only take-pride-inable in the context of the office drone life.

Where are the daring adventures?

Where are the tattoos and illicit substances?

Where are the life cakes made of success and ultimate happiness?! I WAS PROMISED CAKE!*

Have I really been lulled into the life of a drone? Do I wake up every morning just to put my nose to the grindstone for projects that are ultimately small and unimpressive? Am I growing steadily softer as my life becomes more and more sedentary?

My first feeling (which can tend to be the most malicious) to all of these questions is, “Yes, you piece of rotting monkeymeat on maggot-filled driftwood.” But if I look honestly at the things I do and how I live my life, I have to answer in the negative. Okay, so the close-up might seem that way, especially to someone who might be looking to denigrate my life and accomplishments (i.e., me). But in reality, I’m still actively pursuing the adventure in my life that I’ve always wanted:

  • I have half a novel done and am chipping more and more at it every day. One day soon  it will be a whole novel!
  • I’m scheduled to begin archery lessons next month.
  • I’ll start running races this year (already signed up).
  • This summer, I’ll start earning a pilot’s license.
  • I’m even looking seriously into starting a PhD program in the next couple of years.

Of course, it’s not as easy as all of that sounds. Why do I have half a novel done? Because I write late and wake up early. How will I have enough time to take up archery? Because I wake up early on the weekends and clean my house while the sun is coming up. How am I preparing to race this year? By being conscious about what I eat and making time every day to go to the gym and train my body. Why am I earning my pilot’s license? Because it’s a thing to do, and I have a few free hours in the week. And why the hell am I considering a PhD program? Because I’m smart and I have something to offer and I’m curious and I want to explore that.

So, yes. I have an office job, and I’ve made office-job accomplishments. But, if there’s one thing I’ll be able to brag about most, it’s that I’ve persevered. I’ve persevered in my writing, no matter how slow my progress. I’ve persevered in my health, no matter how much cheesecake has tempted me. And I’ve persevered in my curiosity, no matter how much my schedule has tempted me with more sleep and easy mornings filled with reading books for fun.

My life lets me read great stories, write my heart out, and explore new skills.

My life sounds pretty fucking great to me.

I think I’m ready to start bragging now.

*Insert obligatory Portal reference here.

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