142. on turning 34
So I’m lying in bed, 10:30 on a Sunday morning. I’m trying to finish off T.C. Boyle’s latest collection of short stories when it hits me. I’m going to be thirty four in about a month and a half and I have so very little to show for it. I mean the sober facts are these: I’m still living at home with my parents, I have a job that pays me about $25,000/yr, I’m planning on moving to the mainland in July to try and make it in a rock band, I also have dreams of being a writer and actually making a living at it but I’ve never been published. Let’s see, did I miss anything? Oh yeah, and I’ve never had a girlfriend which means I’m six years away from being The 40 Year Old Virgin.
Not exactly where I saw myself at this age. Well, I didn’t really have any plans for growing up and so I suppose it’s no surprise I’ve ended up like this.
In the end, I’ve got no one to blame but myself. I could say that I relied too heavily on Sunday School promises that God would take care of me and guide my way, but what good would that do? And it’s not like I’ve been diligently seeking after whatever purpose is supposed to be driving my life.
Oh, crap. I just had a thought. What if I’m in the early stages of a mid-life crisis? According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, they typically start at age 35, which certainly puts me in the ballpark. Here’s some of the symptoms:
“It commonly involves reflection on what the individual has done with his or her life up to that point, often with feelings that not enough was accomplished. The individuals experiencing such may feel boredom with their lives, jobs, or their partners, and may feel a strong desire to make changes in these areas.”
“. . .reflection on what the individual has done. . .” hence this blog entry and maybe even the fact that I started blogging last year.
“. . .often with feelings that not enough was accomplished.” See the first paragraph of this blog entry.
“The individuals experiencing such may feel boredom with their lives. . .” Yeah, I’ve been meaning to blog about this.
I don’t know. I was talking about this a little bit with my friend, Luke, earlier today – not about the mid-life crisis thing, about the whole getting older bit. It was kind of funny. He’s the same age as me and it was kind of funny because he thought he was still 32, but I was like, “no, we’re both 33.” And he was floored.
As far as social conventions go, Luke is in a good place. He’s married, has two kids. He’s still living at home, but it’s a home that was recently renovated so that his mother can live in one part of the house and he and his family in another. He’s got the mortgage for the renovation, which was pretty close to the cost of building a new house. He’s also got a steady job. I don’t know exactly what he does but it’s some kind of upper-level, quality control, social work job. In other words, a real job.
Oddly enough, from our conversation, it seems like he actually envies me – me chasing my rock-n-roll dreams…
And it hit me just now that that’s the perspective I’ve got to keep in the fore. Sure I’m behind when it comes to where I should be in society at my age, but it’s not like I’m sitting at home watching TV all day, digging my nose and eating Spam out of the can. Worst case scenario, I go up to Seattle with my band, we make a good go of it for two years or so and nothing happens. I return to Hawaii 36 or 37 years old with some really cool stories of life on the road with a rock band. Whereas Luke, God bless him, will have stories of his two daughters growing older.
Of course I’ll also be 37 years old with a questionable resume and I have no idea what kind of job I’ll be looking for at that point. Maybe my writing will be better by then and I can try my hand at publishing.
“So you’re back-up plan is to be a writer? That’s your plan B?”
Hey, one step at a time. Worst case scenario part two, my writing is still only good enough for blogging and I become a teacher.
That’s not so bad is it?
In all honesty, I’m still optimistic enough to believe that my life still has the possibility to be extraordinary. Unfortunately, the path to extraordinary is not a straight one. I’m at a plateau right now, but the trip to the mainland with my band is sure to bring some interesting twists and turns.
Who but God knows, and what but time will tell.