Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stormy Seas, Choppy Waters, Or Maybe a Whirlpool

You know how there's that time in your life when everybody's getting married? Well I seem to have entered the time in life where peoples' problems are coming to a head. You know, like the folks I know with alcoholic tendencies are ratcheting up the drinking and the damage, stable couples are proving to be otherwise, peoples' demons are biting extra hard now.

Looking back at my childhood it seems like the grown-ups all started whacking out when I was getting to be around eight or nine years old. Before that they were able to contain themselves to some extent. My theory is grown-ups get to a certain age and then hell starts breaking loose. I think I'm that age now. The age where you really do have to GROW THE HELL UP!

In attempting to explain the apparent mid-life crises my contemporaries are encountering my friend Jill put it this way: "maybe we start to focus on what is really going to make us happy and we're freaked out that we've just awakened from our deep childhood/young adult sleep to see that no one has really been driving the van!"

That would explain a lot. When you're young you think there's still time for things to fix themselves. You let unfavorable conditions continue because it's easier than doing something about it. Then suddenly you realize you're in a deep, deep hole and that in fact, nobody's going to fix it but you. It's pretty funny how sudden it is too. All at once you can see you've been a completely incompetent idiot.

I certainly haven't been driving my personal van. I definitely feel that I handled the years between 1991 and 2002 really badly. It didn't seem that way at the time of course. I suppose I did the best I could imagine. I can't say that I pursued my goals with aggressive determination. Mostly I tried out some wishy-washy plan or other that I thought might work. I think that somewhere inside I still thought someone was going to come along and hand me whatever I wanted out of life.

What's more I'm still not sure how to do the things I want to do. All the same I've got it better than a lot of people I know. I don't think my hole's that deep. At least I'm not planning any major life shake-ups. Not that you always get to plan them.

When I was a kid and my parents and their friends hit this stretch it seemed to last forever. With my parents, by golly, it lasted at least until I was 31 or 32. That's a good long hunk of time!

All those years of trouble and work and trying and failing finally paid off and they're really happy and satisfied now.

But then I think about what happened to me and my brother and all the kids we grew up with while our parents were sorting themselves out. Here it comes around again. Fortunately most of my friends with these problems are childless.

So now are we all due for twenty years of tribulation followed by surgery, radiation therapy and retirement someplace warm?

You know, that's a kettle of fish I'll let the future open.

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