The boys and I have been making a real effort to do a better job of staying in touch. It seems that a group of us are all struggling to make sense of where life has taken us. Some might call it a midlife crisis, but I wouldn’t. I am 39 and on my way to living to be a 130 or so. For you math majors that means that I am well short of midlife.
But it also means that I have been out of college for more than a couple of years now. I am no longer the fresh faced kid in the office looking at the start of a long and successful career. Now I am a father with two kids in private school, a mortgage and a funny look on my face. Ask my father and he’ll tell you that I was born with that look. Do me a favor and laugh at his joke, it will make him feel good. Not to mention all that Kabed et Evecha v’et eemecha stuff.
So a few of us gather around a table to eat lunch and commiserate. We look at each other and ask when we became a caricature of a bad sitcom. There is the soon to be divorced guy who is sleeping on an air mattress at the home of the single guy who has sworn never to get married. Then there is the guy who is so happy and secure in his marriage and life that the rest of us want to puke. I love the guy to death, but when he mentions that life couldn’t be better I ask him how he is going to explain the large dent I am going to put in the side of his head.
He looks at us and asks if our lives are really that bad. We smile and give him a variety of answers. Life could be far worse, we’re healthy. We have a roof over our heads blah, blah, blah. But something is missing. The answer as to what is missing varies from person to person, but there is a general dissatisfaction.
I throw out the question of what happens if you get what you wish for. What if your dream comes true. What will you do then. One of the guys looks at me and says that it would be perfect, it would be amazing. I smile and ask him if anything is ever perfect. He gives me an answer about perfect moments. I smile back and tell him that I can relate to that. I have a list of perfect moments.
But what happens in between the perfect moments. What do you do to fill up the time. And really, life is never an exact replica of our dreams. Even if you live the dream you get to live some hard times with it. And so I wonder how many times we miss realizing that we are living the dream.
Or what happens if the opportunity comes and you miss it. What happens if that special thing you are looking for shows up on your doorstep. Are you ready to make the move and take the leap of faith. And that my friends is the difference between now and twenty years ago. Now we are encumbered with responsibility and the freedom that we had is gone. Now there are consequences to all of our actions.
One of the fellows looked at me and sarcastically thanked me for inspiring him. I smiled and told him that I believed that we could make changes. I said that it is not impossible and that we shouldn’t view things in that light. Every action has its own set of consequences and they aren’t always negative.
But I understood his concern and his position. Now it is harder to try and predict the future. Now it is harder to try and foresee what will happen if you take that fork in the road. Maybe it is the gambler in me. Maybe if it just because I have had this restless nature and a bad case of wanderlust, but there is something interesting to me about that fork.
So here I am staring off into the distance. I have dreams of the future. I have some fantasies that I hope work out. Can’t say for sure that they will, but then again, I can’t say that they won’t. What I can say is that I am trying to prepare myself so that if I get what I wish for I will be ready for it.