Feb 12, 2012

On Getting Older...

I turned 40 a couple of months ago, and I didn't think it bothered me.  I really didn't.

But today, I'm not so sure.  Am I going through a mid-life crisis?  Is that what this is?  Shouldn't I be buying something extravagant for that to be true?

I've found myself today trying things that scare me a little.  ("I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel...")  In order to see if that's what the creeping boredom comes from.  I just don't find myself liking my passion the way I once did.  But is it because I don't take any risks at it any more?  Because I back away from things that scare me?  Or is that adulthood, maturity, and prudence?

Part of what confuses me is this:  I understand that I have responsibilities.  Do I!  But maybe it's my upbringing, or maybe I'm just lazy, but I find it hard to accept that adulthood means you simply go to work and follow your child(ren) around, doing nothing that is fun for yourself.  And don't tell me that doing things with your child is fun- I understand, and agree with that.  I'm speaking of something different.

Do I need a new hobby?  Is this when I'm supposed to take up "sedate" activities like fly fishing or stamp collecting?

Or is it not my age, but my weight that makes things less fun?  Is it a lack of variety?  They say that IS the spice of life.  But the thing is, I've spent a lifetime narrowing down choices, carefully selecting each piece of my life.  So now that it is where I wanted it, why should this be the time to change it all?  Was I simply foolish to think that there was a "perfect", that there was a safe place that once you reached it, you didn't have to keep changing?

I've always tried to pursue the "classic".  Whether material goods, or clothing, or literature, I've tried to choose those things that have stood the test of time, so that I could put them into my life and THERE:  that's taken care of.

But was I wrong in my thinking?  Does life NECESSARILY mean change?  And if so, what does that say for relationships?  For 'friends for life'.  And I won't even think about that most precious relationship.

My wife thinks (maybe you all do) that I'm only talking about bicycles when I bring these things up, these questions, but if you'll pardon the pun, they're only a vehicle for the questions I'm asking.

Also, please don't bother to comment and tell me this sounds like the symptoms of depression.  I've been conversant and at times battling depression for years, and I'm very well aware of the 'loss of interest in things you once enjoyed' angle.  In fact, I believe the symptom is SUDDEN loss of interest.  This isn't sudden, it's creeping and ongoing.

Tell me you feel the same way.  Tell me that we're all the same except for a few minor details, so that I can feel understood like I did when I arrived a freshman at college.  'You mean we ALL worry about this stuff?'

And then the whole faith thing gets involved.  Have I lost interest in God, or in the church?  Does life lack saltiness because I'm not praying enough?  Not reading the Bible enough?  Questioning?  It's a whole separate ball of knotted guilt that yes, I do take up quite often in prayer.  But how much is enough?  'Pray without ceasing', but did he mean that literally?  Martin Luther said 'I'm too busy NOT to pray', but perhaps that was easy for him to say- he was the father of the reformation!  Besides, it's not that I'm too busy to pray, it's that it feels like walking into an empty cave and talking to myself.  That's not doubt:  I believe God hears me.  But do I feel or see immediate answers?  No, I do not.

That should just about do it for now.  I feel no better, exactly.  But now, if you feel like asking:  "How are you doing?", I can just send you a link to this blog entry.  So there.

4 comments:

  1. Hey Rob,
    It's not just you -- I know how you feel. I was thinking about you and Evalina on December 11. And I've been having something of a mid-life crisis (a fairly relaxed crisis, if there is such a thing) for the last 6 months. Weird. Don't know quite what to make of it. I'm happy but I'm troubled. I love my life, but I wonder what else there is. Strange.
    Christina

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  2. ahhh...me too!! Sometimes all I hear in my head is David Bryne saying, "Well, how did I get here?" And then I think this is the sign of a life not needing to strive very hard for food, shelter, and safety. For this, I am thankful. I'm pretty sure that guy in Apocalypto didn't have time to ponder self contentment.

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    1. I didn't see Apocalypto, but it's a point well-taken. Thanks for your comments.

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  3. Hi Rob,

    I don't really know you and have only been subscribed to your blog for a short time, but wanted to say I can relate to how you're feeling (I turned 40 this past August, for what it's worth). I like my life and I've worked hard to arrange things as they are, but sometimes I wonder if there isn't more. Sometimes I feel kind of "blah" about it all.

    One thing that's helped me a lot is finding a way to help others. I've stumbled on a project that uses some of my skills in an area I'm passionate about that also benefits other people in a pretty significant way. Having something to focus on outside of myself and my immediate family and my usual work and hobbies has been really rewarding.

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