Today is my 36th birthday.
It’s hard to believe that I am probably about middle-aged. Hopefully not quite, but certainly on the way to halftime. What have I accomplished?
I think I make my own tiny sphere of influence a better place. I have certainly matured to the point of trying to shine a little light rather than just create chaos; the latter seems to have been the point of my twenties.
I have learned that I do not, in fact, know it all. I'm pretty sure I was unconvinced of this fact for many years. I am certainly more tolerant of the faults of others. In most cases I have become everything I have ever mocked. I’ll still mock others, but outright scorn is hard to muster these days.
I am still irreverent, often inappropriate, and quite cynical. I do not consider these things to be faults as much as just aspects of my personality.
I am much more comfortable in my own skin than in my twenties. I'm the same short fat guy, but I'm mostly okay with that. I want to lose weight, sure, but really mostly because of health reasons. I'm attractive enough to have attracted the love of my life. While I don’t intend to go completely to seed, she’s seen me naked and is not repulsed. There’s comfort in that. I am learning to look at myself through her eyes and see the positive. The negative aspects of myself I have always seen, but now I'm better able to face them directly. I can only hope it gets easier as I get older.
In a sense I have recently tended toward embracing my faults. The blog is called “the Panic Blog” because I am medicated to eliminate or at least lessen the effects of panic attacks. Freakin’ adrenaline junkie police dispatcher who thrives on reacting to pursuits or to dispatching shootings, etc., but once in a while just freaks out for no reason in the goddamned grocery store. How cruel is that fate? As it turns out, not all that cruel – just a little inconvenient. Some meds are good. I could have easily ended up being a total shut-in freak without them.
I’ve already said over and over in my blog that I consider myself very fortunate. I will probably repeat this in the months and years ahead. One thing my job has taught me is that someone always has it worse than I do. While growing up, I always felt that my family was just plain weird. Now I realize that my family was pretty typical and full of a bunch of darn good folks. I am hard-pressed at this moment to think of a member of my immediate family that I would not choose to be my friend.
Are there many things in my life I would have done differently knowing what I know now? You bet. Would I be the same person had it always made the right choices? Doubtful. I’ve always learned a lot more from my failures than my victories. I would not revisit my past for any amount of money but I am grateful for all the experiences along the way.
When I'm 72 I hope to read this and think “Christ, what a melodramatic guy you were back then. You’ve come a long way.”
Re-reading this at 36 years old I know I’ve already come quite a way. The future is deliciously unpredictable.