June 12, 2012

Shifting out of reverse

Lloyd Dobler: Why can't you be in a good mood? How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and be in a good mood once in a while?" 
Constance: Gee, it's easy.

~ From the movie, "Say Anything"
I have been in a funk for months, and I did not want to celebrate my birthday this year. I am not huge on birthdays in a normal year, but this year I just wanted it to slip by unnoticed. It wasn't any false modesty with secret hopes that my protests would be ignored. I really didn't want to be the center of attention for even a moment in my current state of mind.

I suppose to put a broad label on it, I am going through my mid-life crisis right now. It is not the sort where I snap and act out in a self-destructive manner (cheating, sleeping around, drinking, drugging, etc), or the sort where I make extravagant, impulse purchases to fill the emptiness, or reclaim my fading youth with a little red sports car. I do not wish to be any younger, and I am fine to be 45. No, it is the more quiet lamenting on how little I have done in the past four and a half decades.

I am sure this is nothing particularly unique. Most of us thought we would be farther along at this point in our lives. All of us had secret, or not so secret dreams that never came true, or that we failed to even pursue with any passion. But of course, to me, it is terribly unique. It is my failure, my falling short of my own particular ideal.

But even the ideal was poorly formed. I did not clearly visualize what I wanted my life to be at any point along the calendar. There were no pictures pinned to an inspiration board. I did not plan to make my first million by the time I was 40, dream of having pool in the backyard, or a vacation home in Hawaii. I just wanted a home, a yard, a wife, a dog, and enough money to get by with a little cushion for the unexpected.

Though the vision of my future was never particularly clear, I know at 45 I am nowhere near where I should be. I definitely imagined I would be farther down the road by this point. I have not only been coasting for too long, I have actually been going in reverse. Feelings of failure, despair and depression have been my companions these past few months. I have wallowed in it, and made myself more miserable for it.

But I am blessed. Blessed by a wonderful family, and terrific friends who would not let me hide away in a cave an sulk. When I said I did not want to celebrate my birthday, they would have none of it. They dragged me somewhat kicking and screaming to spend a lovely afternoon on a patio in sunny San Diego. There was good food, great beer, and even better friendship and conversation.

When it comes to family and friends, I have won the lottery. When I think of you, I have nothing to complain about, and the joy that they have brought to my life has made me a better man. You will always be my priority, but I need to make some changes. I am only making myself miserable, and by being miserable, I am doing no good to these people that I value so much.

Thank you dear family and friends. You change this guy:

to this guy:

And I am forever grateful. I will try to bring this guy out more often.


matt said...

That's right. We snatch the balloon out of your hand and replace it with BEER! mmmm . . . . beer. You and I should do that sometime soon.

Holly Linden said...

Love you.

Me said...

When I first read this post I thought of my favorite angel, Clarence, telling George Bailey - "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

Then, at the end of the movie, inscribed in the book he gave to George - "Dear George, remember NO man is a failure who has FRIENDS. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence."

I find it pretty damn extraordinary that you would be in a space that allowed you to relocate to a different state and move in with good friends that needed you just the same.

I hope you're finding a way to climb out of your funk.