I thought it would be different. My mind envisioned something dramatic, something intense, something ferocious. A tornado ripping my values from their moorings, for example. Instead, it has been more like a destructive lava flow: full of heat and tumult but hardly the immediacy of a tornado.
This, of course, is my mid-life crisis. As much as I wish it weren’t true, I’m an adult now. My mortality is my biggest fear, and hangs over my every decision. I’ve dealt with it by doing adult things like setting up 529 accounts, opening an IRA, buying life insurance, and a minivan. All created in some way or another with a mind towards leaving a legacy and a life for those I love. The problem is that all of those are material ways I adjust and plan for my mortality. They address none of the questions about the person and example I want to be in my community, the husband, son, or brother I need to be for my family, or the father I must be for my kids.
I spend my working hours using every ounce of my energy and patience helping others, in particular other people’s children. Creating a substantive legacy for those closest to me is given short shrift as my work saps my strength and passion such that when I get home my patience and enthusiasm are on empty.
So, here I am. I’m living my mid-life crisis. Publicly. With you watching.
I’ve spent the last year or two reading self-help books, books on career changing, books helping me identify my skills and interests, writing, planning, talking, but not doing anything to make change happen. I have been scared. Scared of rejection and failure. The uncertainty of change is frightening.
In the grand scheme of things, I am lucky and blessed. My income is comfortable. I have 2 wonderful, healthy children. A gorgeous and strong wife who makes delicious dinners and patiently indulges my mid-life crisis all while not lifting a damn finger to clean our wonderful home. In short, what do I have to complain about? Looking at it this way, it seems I have much to lose. But, if all I provide and plan for is material in nature, and I can only provide those things by doing something that empties me, I haven’t provided much.
I love to write. I love uncovering questions I had never considered. The battle with uncovering hypocrisy and ignorance is exhilarating. I get to see others battle similar demons only to realize we slay those demons differently in the end. It’s frustrating, and irritating, and mind numbing, and inspiring, and hopeful, and fun.
Writing though is a solitary task. Solitude is to be savored especially for those of us who can’t hop in the shower without a chorus of “Papa, Papa, Papa” in the background. But, I’m not a solitary person. I love people, and their stories. Listening to their passions, their inspirations. All of this brings us here to this place on the internet. I’ve designed this place to allow individuals to do their thing while also being an opportunity to interact and be social through writing. It’s a place where solitude meets soiree.
Will this solve my frustrations? Will it restore my vitality? Can I achieve all my dreams and provide for a family? I haven’t the foggiest. But, I am tired of being paralyzed by fear of rejection. And, over the last few months since I started seeking out writers, building this community, setting up the website, and explaining my idea, I found my fears were manifestations of my own imagination. Few people discounted my idea out of hand. Fewer still were unsupportive. Most in fact were happy to be included and wanted to be involved. Most had some trepidation like me, and lots had suggestions about how to make this a better place.
It’s not possible to change things if you don’t try. This is my attempt to deal with my mid-life crisis. The road ahead is filled with uncertainty. But, looked at differently, the road is full of hope. Whether you’re a reader, writer, or both, I’m happy to have you along for the ride. Vacationing in solitude hardly seems fun!