I turned 43 in May. I’m quite happily married. We own a big house in an exciting neighborhood of a decayed but vibrant city. I make more money now than ever before, and work a ten-month contract with a lavish oasis of time off in the summer. Our house is full of gizmos and gadgets and art and there are thousands of books around. We’re child-free by choice. I have friends and family. I’m fit and strong, especially for an old codger. I have all my hair.
And yet? At an age where one should be comfortably fitted into an identity, where professionally one should be content and prepared to ride out a job to retirement, I feel more and more like a 13-year old: What do I want to be when I grow up? Who am I? Have I made the correct decisions? Am I a good person?
Suddenly everything which has given me joy in life: guitar playing, reading, travel, art, history, philosophy, film, exercise, politics, music, writing…somehow it all seems fraudulent, like I did it only to impress others, and not for authentic reasons. I feel detached and disinterested from nearly everything and everybody. My job feels contrary to every fiber of my being, and yet in order to keep the list of things above I chose to work my ass off to get it. I’m starting to hate it now, and that fills me with dread. What can a middle-aged guy do in this economy? Start a business?! Ha.
We’re leaving for Prague this afternoon and I’m not even excited at the prospect. That is very unlike me, or at least unlike the me from previous years. A new country, a new adventure, and I’m mostly bored and bothered with the details of getting ready to go.
Maybe the trip is just what I need to shock myself out of this narcissistic whirlpool. I hope so. I need to get my spirit back in shape and get some true relaxation time in before the school year starts–it’s going to be a new level of work in the fall, and I need to be firing on all creative cylinders.
I feel like I’m cut off from something, like I have a mission to accomplish and I can’t find it, or a role I’m supposed to play which I’m avoiding. People who find their true passion in life are lucky. I hope I get there.