Mid-Life

Quote of the Day       “Middle age is youth without levity, and age without decay.”     Daniel Defoe

By all rights I should be having a mid-life crisis.  After all, I’m thirty-eight.  But alas, circumstances are such that I’m not.  I’ve already been through years of excessive drinking and girl chasing and I don’t feel the urge to revisit those times.  I don’t need to experiment with drugs.  I’m not depressed.  

All that is not to say I’m not feeling the passing years and contemplating what they mean.  And because I can’t quite figure it all out, I guess I’m suffering from mid-life angst and uncertainty.  Yeah, its not quite as dramatic as a full blown crisis, though I suspect my introspection is more common than the stereotypical crisis guy. At this age we reach a pivot point in life, one of the last times there will be a chance to alter our destiny.  As I look back though, I realize I’ve only made an emphatic decision at a crossroads once.  I nailed that one too by God.  

These days I am feeling the tug to buy a new hot rod and drive across the country and back a few times.  I am grappling with whether I want to live in another region and start a new career.  I am realizing that I have done very little to contribute to the greater good, without charging a fee, and wondering how I can change that. The biggest thing is I’m realizing I’ll never have time to do everything I want to do in this life.  Thirty-eight may be only halfway or even less to the end, but when you take in to account those last ten or fifteen years we are going to be restricted in our physical abilities, the number of years left to experience life to its fullest is rapidly diminishing. Which brings us to the fact of our mortality.  As a kid, death is but a concept. After college it becomes an intellectual idea.  At mid-life its an unalterable fact, and we are aware that the age where it becomes an imminent certainty is just over the horizon.

That’s why I want to go, go, go.  Now. Europe, South America, Canada, even so many places in the U.S. remain unseen.  I’m still not a good skier, so I need lots of practice. I’m eons away from having the ability to communicate in a foreign language.  I still haven’t gotten in shape.  I’ve done nothing to secure my legacy for posterity.  I need to clean up my yard. Teen angst has nothing on the mid-life version.

So what to do?  I guess I’ll just take it one day at a time.  I’ll try to choose my spots and stay ready to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.  I’ll be thankful for my God-given abilities and count my blessings.  I’ll plow forward and cross each bridge when I get to it. In an age of doubt and uncertainty, it’s good to know the cliches that have gotten us this far are ever available, suitably vague and partially wise enough to keep us going a little further down the road.

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About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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15 Responses to Mid-Life

  1. OB says:

    TB,

    I’m not sure if you have kids, but if not, try and have a couple. They sure keep me on my toes and give me extra incentive to stay in shape and be all that I can be. If you don’t feel like having kids maybe it would be a good idea to get into coaching. You are really knowledgeable about baseball, football and basketball and you can give back to the community that way. I try and give back by participating in running, walking, and cycling events. I can’t personally give as much money as I’d like to different causes, but I can raise money and use sweat and tears to give back.

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    You seem to be concentrating on what you don’t have and what may or may not be out of reach in this lifetime (although you did redeem this in the end with counting your blessings). That never does any of us any good but I do think it is something we all put ourselves through in one way or another. To me you have had a well rounded life and done things that many will never get to do. You had a nice long single life and did alot of fun things prior to marrying and having what seems to be a close to perfect life now. It is a pay me now or pay me later society. You had your fun first and now have your family responsibilities whereas I had my family responsibilities first and now have more freedom. You are short changing yourself my friend – I agree with OB on his suggestions – you have alot to offer so while you are looking for opportunities capitalize and don’t let them pass you by. In fact, there maybe a softball team to coach in your future. Being content and taking care of ourselves (and those we love) is what we all need to strive for in this lifetime, at least in my opinion. But you know what that and fifteen cents will get you……

  3. Good suggestions, OB. BTW, I do have a beautiful daughter who is the direct result of that one decision I nailed. (No pun intended, I swear). And while my football knowledge is actually pretty minimal, I DID kick ass on my picks last week! Check back in Thursday for more on that front.

    JLM always has good insight. But do not worry for TB too much. Though this post is a bit of a departure from my usual musings, it is not an area of intense concentration. Simply where my travellinbrain went today for some reason mostly due to a book I’m reading and will post about when I finish. My focus is less on what I have or don’t have and more on where to go from here.

  4. Jessie Lou says:

    Personally, I believe your new career path should be psychology/psychiatry. That said, I hope you are not reading “Prince of Tides”!

  5. More like bait shop proprietor, or Pacific whale watcher or travel writer. No, not Pat Conroy, you will just have to wait a few days. It is a classic I should’ve read by now though.

  6. David says:

    Your mid-life crisis starts at 48, not 38!

  7. Stone says:

    Stop complaining and chain yourself to your desk like the rest of us. I figure I will need to work until 90 to pay for the kids. I will surely end up like the senior partner in “Intolerable Cruelty”. Of course I am only 37.

  8. zeek says:

    TB- I assure you that you could have it so much worse. I have made decisions that drastically altered where I have ended up in life. As we all know I went from the Frat House to the Big House in a matter of a few short years and I stopped making excuses and saying “what if”, “if only”, and “why me?” a long time ago. It has been a long hard struggle for me to attain even a semblance of a “normal” life, and sadly, due to my mistakes, I will never be able to make a lot of money or even enjoy what i do. Just a fact i have to deal with. Your mistakes amounted to some hangovers and C-‘s that should have been A’s. Maybe a coyote ugly nite or two, ya know? Mine were a little more severe. However, the Good Lord looks over fools and drunks and blessed me with the most wonderful, giving, loving wife, and two (step)sons who call me DAD and I love more than life itself. If my greatest accomplishment on earth is only that I was a good father to my boys and a decent husband, well, I can live with that. Oh, and BTW, Beach Music by Pat Conroy is my all-time favorite book and he is easily my favorite author. And that’s all I have to say about that.

  9. I don’t know where some of ya’ll are seeing any whining in this post. It’s simply about the things that go through my head on the topic of aging.

    I am glad that things have turned around for you Zeek, and I like Pat Conroy too.

  10. zeek says:

    TB, Did not mean it like that, even though everybody has to whine a little sometime. I just meant that for me sometimes it’s like that Montgomery-Gentry song “Lucky Man”– Sometimes I curse the rain/ Then complain when the sun’s too hot/ I look around at what everyone has/ And I forget about all I got. So FOR ME when I feel like I’m running out of time or way behind because I haven’t done this or that or been here or there and have no 401k, or retirement, or college fund,(the list goes on) like alot of friends my age, I just have to make it a point to TRY and be grateful,ya know? TRY Beach Music by Conroy, I’m telling you.

  11. smiley says:

    Get in a car. Take off north. Decide if you are going to go this way or that way. Head for 5 ballparks in 5 days. Take an idiot who rides in the backseat the whole trip because he is a grown man that hasn’t learned to drive a standard transmission. Sleep when you can. Where you can. Cussing out hotel clerks for not having open rooms and forcing you to sleep in a rest area. But don’t be late for the game. Oh to be young again.

  12. Madd Dawg says:

    yep. fun trip for the first 4.5 days. I’ll never forget waking up from a peaceful drunken snooze in the backseat at about 2:00 AM asking innocently “Why don’t we just sleep at a rest stop?” and having my hair blown back by profanity from you and TB for about twenty seconds straight not knowing that, while I slept soundly, y’all had stopped at approximately 35 hotels in Ohio and then made a pact that under no circumstances we would sleep at a rest stop even, a pact that was reluctantly broken after about 10 more hotel stops. I thought TB’s head was going to explode that night/morning.

  13. When we finally settled at that rest stop MD and Smiley fell fast asleep in the passenger seat and back seat. TB twisted and turned under the steering wheel for half an hour before punching MD in the arm and saying “move”. The one and only time in his life MD had nothing to come back with and the one and only time he meekly complied with an order from TB, maybe anybody. There must have been danger in my bloodshot eyes.

    Smiley, you should’ve just suggested I make a post out of this trip. A classic. Maybe I still will some time.

  14. Madd Dawg says:

    There is no doubt that I saw murder in your stare. Thereafter, I just did my best to avoid eye contact.

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