July 2, 2017

In and Out of a Midlife Crisis

Coming up on my 30 year reunion I am forced to face some issues that I really didn't want to deal with. I was not a huge fan of High School, probably because I developed some pretty stinky thinking that I still battle today. I barely graduated with a 2.0. That made me dumb. I knew I wasn't, but that was the label I gave myself. I find it quite ironic that most of my friends were super scholarly and geared toward academics. The football team just assumed that I was an academic type, and I thought of myself as pretty intelligent, but those damn grades just kept translating into "loser." I promised myself that one day I would write a book. Labeling myself as dumb was a huge mistake. I knew that label meant no good jobs for me, because to be successful you had to get a degree and the thought of going back to school was overwhelmingly painful. The minimum wage mentality was a huge wall and I built it myself brick by horrifying brick, and have battled tearing it down for most of my adult life. It is frustrating to me to see others who I knew were not nearly as capable as myself making far more money than myself. I know it is a mental issue, but it is real, to me, as the ground I walk on and the house I live in.

I went to college for a year after my mission, and failed miserably at the one thing I so desperately
wanted to succeed at, writing. I wanted to learn to express myself so other people could understand what was going through my head. I can relate to so many people, but I struggle connecting with anyone. I have always been a day dreamer and feel great empathy for people. I sometimes feel far more than I wish I did. I seem to be able to feel what others feel, but for some reason I don't feel the same way that others feel. I feel like I lack a normal sense of emotions. I have never been diagnosed, but I would say that my attention span is pretty short, my thoughts are often scattered and to try and concentrate on anything is nearly impossible. I would call myself A.D.D., not having the "hyper" part of attention deficit, which kind of makes me sad, because I wish I had more energy. Anyways, back on track.

I have had several jobs, but I have managed to stay away from any jobs that would fast track me to a comfortable living. And the battle between what I truly feel in my heart and what I think in my head concerning success is a constant battle for supremacy with casualties on both sides of the war. I usually end up taking the position of inferiority. Not healthy I know, but it is the war I am engaged in. And it is not because I don't think I am anything special, I just see everyone else as better than myself. I am prone to depression, which I know tends to darken how I view myself and so I try to counter act it by learning new things, for the past several years it has been through my writing, photography, and as of late I started singing karaoke to get myself over the discomfort of hearing my own voice.

My wife and I have been married 25 years, I don't feel that I have been the husband that she deserves, nor the one I saw myself being when I asked her to marry me. I haven't been the father that I pictured myself being when I dreamed of being a father. I dreamed that I would have a dozen children, but I ended up with 3. And we had to rely upon miracles for each one of them. I guess you could say that I feel like my life is out of my control, and I realize it is my fault. I am responsible for the decisions I made, or didn't make.

Before you think that I am ungrateful I want you to know that I feel blessed beyond measure. I am happy more days than not. I accept that if life were only smiles and sunshine I might not recognize how good my life really is. You see my life is exactly what it needs to be in order for me to become who I am suppose to be. I can look back and see where my lack of money has been a blessing, where not having more children allowed me to have the children I do have, and my A.D.D has given me insights and empathies that I might
not have had otherwise. I would be a completely different person without the baggage I carry. I have been given gifts that I might have ignored had I been given the rosy path. I do dream of more, but I am grateful for what I do have. I have not given up, but sometimes it is hard facing the reality that I am not where I thought I would be, nor where I want to be...except I am.

I love the fact that I live in my old neighborhood. Sure I would like a nicer home, but my children live right down the street from my mother, and I can't think of a better living situation than having my mom's influence on my children. Someday maybe I will have a nicer home, but in all reality I am having a blast creating my world around me where I am.

I guess when it comes down to it, I think that there are more people like me than not. I am an average Joe, who struggles to get out of bed some days and can't wait for the next vacation. I live paycheck to almost paycheck and despite all of the things that may seem to be depressing and unfulfilled in my life. Life is good. I still have many chapters to write.

So, coming up on my 30 year reunion I have struggled with the thoughts that I would have anything to contribute to a reunion celebrating a time in my life that I left behind with mixed emotions. I loved my friends, but left feeling like I was unprepared to face the world. I didn't keep up with my friends. Although I have, on occasion, run into several of them and have enjoyed visiting with them. So, despite the fact that the definition that once was the muscle I sported in high school has given way to the latest fad of the "dad bod," and I feel like my life has not turned out exactly as I have planned it, I am planning on attending my reunion. Not to brag about my accomplishments, but to reconnect with people that I have learned have gone through just as much as I have and have turned out to be pretty dang good people.

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