2013.10.30 Resurgence
2013.05.09 Needles, man
2011.08.16 Tex-dar
2011.01.31 Thirteenahedron
2011.01.16 Steak, Texas Style
2010.12.06 The Great Dental Debacle
2010.12.03 For Your Safety
2010.11.08 Redneck Cred
2010.10.11 The Definition of Ugly
2010.02.21 Welcome to effing Vancouver
2010.02.02 Evolution of a New iPhone User
2010.01.30 Who is Who?
2010.01.26 Fast . . . food
2009.12.13 Iceland
2009.10.25 Eye of the Tiger
2009.10.24 Contemplating the Orb
2009.10.08 Canary IQ Test
2009.06.01 Flickr Fubar
2009.05.31 Five Years Later
2009.05.21 The Nacho Incident
2009.04.10 Tax Time
2009.03.25 Hey asshole!
2009.03.15 Egg a la Mode
2009.03.05 The things you think about
2009.02.25 The Whole Enchilada

day to day
o canada
stories: now
stories: then
texas our texas

[rss feed]
A bad pattern has started, at least bad in a first-world kind of way: working hard during the day, coming home and making something good and entirely too filling for dinner, often accompanied by a beer or a shared bottle of wine, a TV program which often turns into two or three, and a nagging sense of not accomplishing much of anything outside of work.

I was thinking what I used to do about this kind of thing in the past, and the answer which came to me like it did over 12 years ago: write. So here we are again.

I used to kind of laugh at people's so-called mid-life crises. "Look, man, you've got a good job, a house . . . you've kind of figured out most of the owner's manual of life, more or less . . . what is there to be morose about?" But I'm realizing there's something to it. It's not that anything is broken or wrong, but more like that very first time you wonder about doing something, and the conclusion which pops into your head without even being asked that, "I'm too old to be thinking about starting over with that."

And you know it's not 100% true. It's never too late to start anything if you're passionate enough about it. But by doing so, you're giving up on a thousand other life paths that are abandoned by taking up that first one.

Approaching middle-age isn't quite about being literally too old to do things, not in the 80-year-old manner of "I wish I could still see. I wish I could still hear. I wish my joints and muscles worked the way they used to. I wish my fingers could still do the things they used to." You might not be a star rugby player at 40, but you can still play rugby if you really want to.

Middle-age is about realizing that life is indeed finite, that you make choices, and your choices define you. That some choices preclude other choices, often directly.

When you're young, no matter how cynical you are, some youthful bit of your psyche believes that you have all this time to do anything you want, and the reason you don't is that you simply don't want to. Change careers. Go back to school. Learn a language, or a musical instrument. Live anywhere. Date.

But one day, that little voice silently grows up, and without realizing when exactly it happened, you just know. You just know that in your life, you're going to live in one place or another. You're either going to have kids or you aren't. You'll be known for this career or that one. You'll be married, or single, or maybe leave a long string of exes in your wake. But whatever it is, and even if it's the best of all possible lives, it's a track that you've already chosen, and any frivolous changes of direction seem ill-advised.

And the what-ifs: They eat at you. What if I'd gone to that university, gotten that other degree, lived in that other place, wound up with that ex permanently and had the kids she has with that other guy. No matter how certain you are that you prefer the life you wound up with in all possible cases, the what-ifs are with you to stay.

So here I am. 40 is around the corner. I'm an American-born Canadian citizen in a beautiful neighbourhood and with good healthcare and other perks that I'm thankful for. I'm happily married. I own a pretty cool townhome. I have a great IT job. In the past 10 years I've made up for a lot of the world travel that I never did before that. I've freed myself from the shackles of religion and superstition that tormented me for so long. And in general, I've grown up so much: the examples are all small ones, but suffice it to say the shyness of my youth is almost entirely gone (I'm hailed as one of the warmest and most outgoing people at work) and in my day to day life I get things taken care of, unlike my still man-child self of ten years ago. Life is good. I wouldn't change it (well, maybe a bigger house sometime soon, with plenty of storage and my own little office space — that's a change I've decided I want).

But it's now Act III, and I didn't notice the scene change.