I thought a lot about my life’s trajectory while lounging on a Florida beach, soaking in the sun on my 40th birthday last week. The thoughts weren’t too deep. After all, I was about this beer-buzzed when I had them:
In my tipsy and relaxed state I came to two conclusions.
First: My life is not in “crisis.”
Things are mostly OK right now. I enjoy my job, have a small group of close friends and a supportive, loving family.
Sure, I have my struggles (mostly with my own insecurities), but I am not running from or chasing anything either. I do not need a sports car or a much younger girlfriend to compensate for any fear of mortality or lack in my life (I am though perfectly ready to meet someone to enjoy spending time with.)
Second: Time is limited.
The first conclusion does not preclude my age from motivating me to change some things.
Forty feels so far off, until you’re 40. Then you’re all like “woe, how the hell did time go by so fast” as reality sinks in while you’re drunk on a beach. There are so many little things I meant to do by this point but put off because they might take too much effort, courage or discipline to make happen. At the very least, it is so easy to tell yourself there will always be tomorrow.
At 40 I feel like I don’t have a choice but to ask myself if I want to be the guy on his deathbed at 80 (if I’m lucky) wondering, “woe, how the hell did time go by so fast and why didn’t I ever do all those little things I wanted to?”
Tim Robbins’ little jail yard speech to Morgan Freeman in “The Shawshank Redemption” also came to mind. Now is as good a time as any to “get busy living.”
So, once I sobered up I decided to take some small steps to make my life a little better by consciously deciding what I do with my time as much as possible.
For example, I took a few minutes to speak with a real estate agent friend of mine once I got back from my beach trip.
I have talked about selling my house and moving to a better, more pedestrian friendly neighborhood for years. I’ve put off looking into the move because I am afraid the house will never sell. I bought during the marketing bubble of 2006 when real estate prices were severely inflated. It also needs some repairs.
After telling my friend about my situation she was confident I could sell my house and make enough off of it for at least a partial down payment on another home.
On another front, I always save events or activities on Facebook that I am interested in. I promise myself to go to them. Then the allotted time comes and I stay home instead. Some of it is due to my introverted nature. And sometimes it is because I don’t have someone to go adventuring with me.
So, I made a goal of doing one activity a week that I would otherwise say I might do and then skip. So far I purchased tickets to attend an event about the history of whiskey making in Cincinnati this Friday AND I’m going to an Old 97s concert next Friday by myself.
I don’t even care if I do look like this old man dancing during the concert.
And finally, I always wanted a tattoo but I have a huge pain, blood and needle phobia. I put all of that aside and started researching online. I read people’s experiences with getting ink and found the least tender spots on the body to have one placed on. I settled on the inner forearm. I also have a general idea that I want something that symbolizes all of the Flying Pig marathons I have run. On Thursday, I started shopping around for a reputable artist to put something like this on me:
I’ve also reached a third conclusion because of all of this: The things I want to do aren’t really THAT big of a challenge to realize if only I plan and start them.
I’m at a place where I realize the small things matter and are what add up to a memorable and pleasurable life. This includes day drinking on a beach and watching random gif of cats drinking beer. (I just made up that last thing because I stumbled upon this awesome gif. Enjoy!)