Wednesday, September 05, 2007

On turning 45...

A week from today, I will be turning 45 years old. I think that I look pretty good for someone who's five years away from the half century mark. I have no hair on my head by choice. My goatee is a heavy salt and pepper. I don't weigh as much as I did about four years ago when I was almost pushing the 300 lb mark, although sitting at 260 lbs isn't really that much better. There are days when I feel more like 55 than 45 when I wake up in the morning. The ache of the day varies from the knees to the back to the teeth to whichever limb decides to protest because I slept on it wrong, or whatever. I more or less waddle or sway when I walk now. I can remember things I did 20 years ago, but I can't remember what I ate yesterday. More and more I'm walking into a room to do something, but I can't remember what. Over the past few years, I've started exhibiting all the signs of advancing middle age: a dislike for the music, clothing, and culture of today's youth; a disdain for the garbage that passes for entertainment on the TV. I have refused cable because I'm not interested in paying Comcast a bunch of money for channels I'll never watch; the desire to just be left alone, and I've started to realize that a lot of the beliefs I grew up with no longer seem to jib with my current world view. I'm still very much a Christian, but I don't do the evango-fundie, "bring a soul to Jesus, by hook or by crook" thing. I'm tired of all the shit that "Christians" and "The Church" does in the name of Jesus Christ. As I've said before, It's not Jesus that's the problem, I'm cool with Him, It's the nuts that make up his church that make me want to shave my head, climb the highest structure in town with a high powered sniper rifle and start shooting randomly, all the while cackling like a madman. But enough with my disillusionment with the current state of the Body of Christ.

I guess that this is my way of looking over my life and taking stock in it. Trying to get a handle of where I am in the grand scheme of things. What goals have I accomplished? What more needs to be done? If I wrote a book about my life, would anyone care to read it? Judging by the number of posts I get on this blog, I'm guessing not. One of my great success/failures is that I take on a very laissez-faire approach to my life. I don't make a lot of plans nor pursue big time goals because I know that plans ultimately fail, and goals need to be reprioritized, and I'd just rather not deal with the hassle. Lucky for me, I'm single and have no dependents that would suffer if my way of living were to implode. I don't want to take anyone down with me if and when all the accumulated crap in my life turns to bite me. I'll admit, I've screwed up a lot of stuff in my life. I went to college after the Navy, made up the plan as I went along, enjoyed the hell out of the experience and learned some important lessons along the way. But like I said, I made up the plan as I went along with little concern about how my choices would impact my future. As A result, I have a Sports Management degree that is essentially worthless. I'm doing the same damn job I was doing before, during, and after college.

One good thing is that God in his infinite wisdom or an infinitely warped sense of humor decided that I should be treasurer of my church. Me with the grand total of three accounting classes of experience, and no professional background whatsoever. Well going on 4 years as of September 1st, I can say that I haven't munged things up horribly, although working with a consultant for the last six months or so has shown me how much I really needed to learn in order to do a good job. I'm surprised that I did as well as I did considering. It has been a learning experience and if the church wasn't paying me for playing around with their books, I'd do it for free. I couldn't give this job away if I wanted to now. No one in my church is crazy enough to do it. They clearly saw me coming, but I won't complain, because I actually do feel that God wanted me to go to college to perform this small service, and I do get a lot of pleasure out of helping the church. Getting my American Legion post back on its feet is another project that has used some of my college training in administration. We were really in a bad way last year. The bar was closed, the former finance officer had fouled up the books beyond all recognition, the phone was disconnected, the insurance policy was rescinded and disconnection of most of the other utilities was just around the corner. With the help of the commander and the service officer, I was able to get the bank accounts separated, the utilities restarted, the insurance paid off, the bar reopened, and were still able to sign the highest percentage of members in the district last year. Not too shabby if I say so. And we've reorganized eveything, got the office computerized and things are starting to look up. So while I didn't plan to manage the books of my church and reorganize my Legion Post when I decided to embark on the Relentless Pursuit of Higher Education, as I like to call that 7 1/2 year journey/death march through CCAC and Robert Morris, the experiences and the training I received as a result made those opportunities possible. And I guess that's one of the advantages of living a laissez-faire life. Stuff pops up when you least expect it.

But maybe it's time to start thinking about my future. I'm cool with the possibility that I will be facing my declining years alone. Marriage is not an option for me. I refuse to marry someone that I cannot support, and I can barely take care of myself. I'm used to being on my own, and alone. I don't need to adhere to other's schedules nor live by other's rules. I still have some marketability job-wise if I can get up off my lazy ass and apply myself. My problem is that I have become complacent and comfortable where I am and It'll take a major life change to get me to change. I'm not a good strategy person. I don't plan well. I know that a major life change is coming. I've been extraordinarily blessed with good health, I've never spent a night in a hospital bed. The few times, I've gone to the hospital have been outpatient procedures. But I'm getting older, my body is breaking down. The minor aches and pains will become more major. My job doesn't offer comphrehensive health insurance, and they sure don't pay me enough to buy it on my own. The little supplemental plan they offer is a joke. The life insurance benefit they offer me is enough to cremate me but not much more. I don't want to use the vision and dental benefit until I absolutely have to. My job is chimp work. It's a crappy job with crappy bennies and crappy pay, and until I get motivated enough to change the situation, it is what it is. Don't pity me, don't cry for me. My situation is my own, and I'll take the credit and the blame 100%. I will figure out a way to survive and thrive, I just hope I can figure it out before it's too late.

But you know, I can't let my problems destroy me. I have to move forward. All the wrongs I've committed over the last 44 years is water under the bridge, that can't be reclaimed. Do I have regrets? Damn straight, I do. But there's nothing I can do about them, except learn from them. And I do that every day the Good Lord sends me. I won't live any longer than God wants me to live, but I have to learn to live better.

So I'll be 45 next week. I'm glad to have made it this far. As for what the future holds, Let's just say, as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise said at the end of the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Encounter at Farpoint, "Let's see what's out there!"

No comments: