The v.L birthday

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, July 4, 2023, 8:31 PM | comments: 0

What a weird time. I turned a half-century last weekend, and it's difficult for me to even use the actual number.

I have generally been OK with the inevitable end that we all face. I would even say that if I got hit by a bus today, I had a pretty good run. And yet, for some reason, this particular landmark really gets to me. If longevity is in my favor, sure, I could only be half done. Statistically, I'm more likely in the two to mid-four-ish decades left range. As I like to say to people, I'm closer to wearing diapers than I am to wearing diapers.

As my therapist and I have discussed, a "midlife crisis" is more a clinical thing than what people typically call it. It usually involves a lot of depression and reckless behavior. I mean, sure, in the last few years I got a couple of tattoos and electric cars, but no hookers, blow, or Porches. But midlife "adjustments?" Not even sure I've made any of those other than my more recent desire to log more hours moving around.

And as long-time readers know, I'm definitely not one to keep score. But if I were to do that, oh, I could win that game. I graduated from college, started a career, broadcasted my voice across the air, changed careers, coached dozens of young women and made them better athletes, started several online communities that had who knows how many positive outcomes (marriages, life-long friendships, careers, etc.), wrote an actual published (technical) book, leveled up across more jobs than I'm willing to admit, divorced and remarried, maintained more than one open source software project with thousands of downloads, kept a child alive for more than a decade, moved around the country six times in under a decade, built three houses, had some pretty great .com email addresses, did a radio show decades after leaving the business, built my own music cloud service, picked up video production decades after leaving it... it's a list. And in the moment, I'm in the middle of making a documentary film, and for reasons I can't explain, writing software to control theatrical/concert lighting.

By the way, all of that happened without even knowing that I had autism and ADHD. I think I deserve a little credit, even if that sentiment is in fact influences by said conditions.

I was never really one to have a plan. I spent too many years wandering aimlessly, too. But if I could have predicted that I would be where I am now, well, I couldn't have predicted it. My present isn't at all how I imagined it, partly because I didn't imagine it, and partly because I had some pretty dumb/naive ideas about how it may look.

With that in mind, it's slightly ridiculous to suggest that I have any idea about what things look like ten years from now. If there's any issue with that, it's that I am obsessed with living on the beach. I think about it constantly. The natural rhythm of the waves breaking on the shore is like crack to me. It calms my ever noisy brain and allows it to truly be peaceful, without any external chemical influence. (Lorazepam also gets me there, but I take that very, very rarely.) I feel like that situation is necessary to allow me to truly be present and peaceful. Over and over again, I think back to the time that we rented and AirBnB in 2001, and what that felt like. This causes anxiety itself.

The reality is that there are so many variables that I can not control. And maybe that's a good thing, because I've met a great many people in my life who are convinced that they can control everything, ignoring the chaos that they've endured to that point. I am not one of them. But maybe that illusion is a more peaceful way to live. I dunno.

So I hit another decade, and it's 50% more time as an adult than as a non-adult. So much math. I try to lean into the fact that I know a whole lot more than I used to. That's worth something, and payment for the years experienced.


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