Hard to believe, but there are less than 4 months left in the year.
When I look back at this year so far, 2012, I think of it as a lost year. It wasn’t exactly a bad year, but there’s been something off about it like it just never got going. I don’t feel like I accomplished much, or grew, or learned. I didn’t go in any one direction. I didn’t go backwards or forwards. It’s been… fine, but if you are even remotely like me, you’ll understand that fine is not fine.
In my efforts to create as much of a stable life for our family as I could over the last 5 or so years, I think I’ve recently come to realize that the stability that I craved might also ironically be the thing that is keeping me in the same place. Things are chugging along, not always smoothly, but life is happening, no doubt. But we’re also in that space where things have been status quo for the last few years. And this is my struggle. There has always been some major life change in the last 24 years – moving from apartment to apartment, from state to state, from school to school. Traveling, jobs, careers, back to grad school, marriage, a new baby, our first mortgage, a second baby, a new business. You know how it is when you’re young. It’s all big and scary life changing stuff, but it’s also really exciting. We’re at an age, however, when the big stuff is settling down. The kids are getting older, we’re settled into our apartment and refinancing. Like I said, life is happening, but sometimes I can’t help but think, what’s the next big thing? Where is the excitement?
If I knew the answer, you can bet that I would be making a plan to get us there. But I don’t. I haven’t known for years. And I’m not really used to that. I’m lost, and yesterday I actually felt angry about it for the first time. This directionless feeling has taken away any motivation to want to actually do something about it because I don’t know where to go. As a result, life and business and my career is just moving laterally and not up.
Ok, you are thinking MID LIFE CRISES. Maybe you are right (I have actually been wanting a small tattoo, hahahaha!). Hormonal changes which I guess is normal for someone my age is not helping things either and I suppose that will get worse (sorry, family). I’m neither sad, nor happy, but I am working hard to push the equilibrium towards happy. So, we make the few trips that we take every year a priority in how we spend our money so that we can break out of our everyday world. I make sure to meet new people and see friends because they mean the world to me and keep me sane. I keep the house nice and tidy so that we have a nice home to live in (though I’m beginning to think that this particular OCD is just a distraction to create this illusion that I have my life together).
And then there is this space which I have kept up for 4 and a half years. It’s also directionless at this point. What is it for? I don’t really know anymore! Sometimes I feel like it’s predictable and every year we have the same pattern: freakout during the holidays! Another birthday, another anniversary! Here we are in Seattle again in August, just like every year! Why in the hell am I sharing all this with strangers? I love getting emails from readers who have expressed that I have helped them achieve clarity in their lives in some way. That is amazing. But it’s also funny because I don’t feel like I have anything figured out in my life right now, less so than when I first started writing here.
I’ve had a few friends this year end businesses, closed chapters in their lives and moved on to different things. I’ve been keenly interested in their stories. I also found a small little book on my mother’s bookshelf, The Dip, by Seth Goldin. I started reading it. In a really quick nutshell it’s about winners who know how to quit things at the right time. It’s not that I want to quit anything right now, but I am in a dip and I do need a change, preferably a big one.
I’ve also come to realize that this is why I have such a deep connection with the NW. It represents a time when I made a big change. It represents a blank slate, new experiences, and the feeling that something was going to happen even though I didn’t know what. It’s also about youth and music and all that other stuff steeped in early 90s nostalgia, but it’s that feeling that I miss. It’s an interesting realization when I think I might have this connection with any other city had I chosen to move to, Boston let’s say, or Boise, Idaho. Who knows. Maybe NYC represents that for some of you out there too.
It’s definitely a myth that people should have their lives figured out by the time they’re an adult in their 40s. Maybe some people do, but I don’t. I may not have the guts anymore to facilitate change like I did when I was young, but I have to believe that I can’t be that scared of it even though the responsibilities make the risk greater. I just have to laugh sometimes that the things we spent so long building in our lives to create this stable life for ourselves and our family can be the very things that make you feel trapped sometimes. We’ve arrived! But where are we? That’s classic mid-life crises fodder right there. So I don’t know what’s going to happen, if anything is going to happen, but I will spend a lot of time trying to figure stuff out. And if I don’t, I’ll see you back here, I’m sure.