Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Mid-Life Crisis Adventure Time


I am, at the very least, halfway through my life, and most likely more than that; closer to two-thirds, if you look at average lifespans and the worsening health outcomes facing the majority of Americans. (I prefer to think of myself as only middle-aged, rather than accelerating rapidly toward my doom, so I’ll stick with halfway.) It’s a sobering, even depressing, thought, but something odd seems to have happened as a result of it.

Age brings certain gifts (which is great, considering all the things it takes away), among them things like wisdom and experience and perspective. I’ve been recognizing these in myself and beginning to understand their value and usefulness. I also seem to have acquired another gift, quite unexpected, and one that I haven’t yet fully assimilated, and that is clarity—of purpose, or direction, or focus. Where it came from I don’t know; it just appeared one day like a stray kitten on a doorstep, waiting patiently for me to notice it and let it in. It’s really quite alien to my way of being, but I’ll take it.

I feel as though I’ve spent all my life up until very recently sort of sampling my way through my existence, tasting a bit of this and a bit of that, trying out various things but not going very deeply into too many of them. You might charitably call me a dilletante, though the way I describe it might make me sound shallow (and haha, how much easier my life might have been if I were shallow). My interests are vast, and the world has always looked to me like a massive buffet. Many of the dishes looked unpalatable, but many, many others were intriguing enough for me to try them. Some I tired of quickly, while others had a more lasting appeal; some were done and gone, while others would cycle in and out of my attention. I never managed a great depth of proficiency with much of anything, because my focus was always being pulled off in multiple directions to examine other things.

And then one day, quite recently, that changed.

Don’t misunderstand me; I still have many and varied interests, and I’m sure I always will. However, I find that I suddenly have focus, a clear understanding of what I wish to pursue. To those of you lucky bastards who “got” this at a young age, I envy you. To those of you still wandering and wondering—well, if it happened to me, there’s still hope for you!

Maybe it took the change in perception of time that comes with growing older, along with the simple fact that I work longer hours now than I ever have before, making me very conscious of the time I have to spend at pursuits of my own choosing. A while ago I was being pushed toward taking on a project that I felt an inexplicable resistance to. I eventually realized that my level of competence for the task at hand was insufficient, and that to develop it sufficiently would require an expenditure of time that would force me to focus on that to the exclusion of much else—and when I asked myself if I really wanted that, I knew almost instantly that I didn’t, and further, I knew almost instantly what I did want—a miracle in itself. That kind of certainty is so foreign to me that it almost seemed to come from outside me, and perhaps it did. I’d been invoking for clarity, and I got it.

So now, as I wrote elsewhere, my task is to not only get back what I’ve lost, but to exceed what I’ve ever had, and I have begun. Let’s see where this leads.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Bless The USA


Driving in to work this morning I found myself behind something so quintessentially American, so quintessentially 2018, that if I’d seen it on Facebook I’d have dismissed it as a plant from a Russian bot. If my phone had been accessible I might have photographed it.

 

“It” was a huge jacked-up Ford pickup, black rims, loud enough to be straight-piped and belching black smoke whenever he hit the pedal, which was frequently. Driving both aggressively and poorly. But oh my friends, it was the embellishments that really made this truck scream MURICA!

 

Dead center across the back window was the phrase “In GOD We Trust!”* The random capitalization and ironic quotation marks are reproduced verbatim. There were a couple of vinyl cutouts that I couldn’t quite identify, but one was very obvious: it was a portrait of 45, appropriately rendered in orange, and depicting him in one of his most iconic poses—finger in the air, scrunched-up piggy expression on his face (the only thing more iconic would have been the one where he’s mocking the disabled reporter). It wasn’t a flattering vinyl, and something tells me it wasn’t meant to be; what it was, was an honest depiction, showing simultaneously the truth of the man it depicted and that of his admirers. The whole thing was both hilarious and sad.

 

But it’s also reality. This is where we are in 21st century America, and this morning I caught a perfect glimpse of what the rest of the world sees when they look at us.

 

 

*My brain followed this up with the next line of the Ghost song and an Airghoul keytar solo.

Monday, 1 January 2018

And Another One Begins

Another New Year's Day, and thus another birthday, has come and nearly gone; as I write this, it's just past 10pm, and despite two solid days of near total inactivity, I'm exhausted and ready for bed. I'm aware that the exhaustion is the physical manifestation of the melancholy that usually attends this day of the year, but that doesn't alleviate it--and since I have to be up as usual for work in the morning, I might as well go with it.

Having a birthday on New Year's Day is a bit surreal in any case, and it feels odder with every passing year. In a way I almost feel cheated--if my birthday was any other day of the year, I could celebrate the New Year festivities without the added baggage of my advancing age--in a different way than I did as a child, when people would sometimes tease me by telling me that I was getting no gifts for my birthday because I'd already gotten them all for Christmas. I know, I know, be grateful for getting older because it's a privilege denied to many. Yes, I know that, but right now getting older is terrifying in ways that I never expected it to be, here in a country that's gone right off the rails into Whatthefuckistan. (And no, if you're wondering, I'm not old yet, but I am very firmly middle-aged, and maybe on the outer rim of that unless I get a nice long lifespan. Some of my ancestors enjoyed quite long lives, so we'll see.)


Tonight the moon was full at almost the exact time of my birth, a scenario that certainly must be auspicious. I was too drained to do more than lift a glass in toast, which doesn't say much good about my Magical Occult Powers, but every living being in this household has been just drooping around for the entire weekend, so clearly it's not just me. Thank the old gods and the new that there are things upcoming to be excited about: season 11 of X-Files on Wednesday, National Skating Month clinic on Saturday followed by the start of the next cycle of classes in another week. If only we could get out of the wretched single-digit cold which is so rare for this area, that would improve things as well. That, and maybe another viewing of The Last Jedi


Fuck it. 2018, I am in you.