I am generally good at following my dreams and being happy. In my humble opinion, those are some very good things to be good at. It’s led me to where I am now, which is a pretty good life! I have (a few) people who care a lot about me. And that’s always been plenty. I have a roof over my head and food on my plate. I have always done things that I enjoy, so I love my work. But…
Lately I have had these unexpected and unusual feelings. I find that I want a larger (by a few people, not a crowd) circle of close friends. I want people in my life I can be myself around. Talk to about minutiae and the weather and deep philosophical theories. Complain to about the minutiae and the weather and my deep philosophical theories. People who can accept me with all my flaws and shortcomings. Flawed people I can accept and want to spend my time with. For the first time in my life, I feel lonely. My circle of friends has slowly shrunk. So I’ve been trying to fix that issue by reaching out. You never know what person will turn out to be a fantastic friend.
I have all the things I need. I don’t have to sleep on the ground outside in the rain. I don’t have to worry about my food or water making me ill. Or if there will even be any. I live a very comfortable life. For now. But I am finally feeling my age. I am finally starting to consider a time when I won’t be able to provide for myself any more. It’s a bit frightening. I certainly have no faith that the government will be able to help with that. I also don’t have any children who might help support me. I can see a time in the future where I might not be able to work. Or even just a time when I’m tired and don’t want to work any more no matter how much I might enjoy what I’m doing. So I’m trying to learn about retirement planning. It’s slow going. But if I don’t start now, I might end up never starting. Then when I want (or need) to retire, I won’t be able to.
I’m already feeling that the physicality of my work taking a toll. Yet it is daunting to think of starting a fourth career. Especially at this age.
Partially, I think that surrounding myself with younger people is now affecting me differently than it usually has. Usually I find it energizing and fun and I don’t feel any different than them. But recently that has changed. I feel… different. I feel that I am in a very different stage of life even though I am looking at going back to school. I may read the same books, listen to the same music, wear the same clothes… but I’m not the same.
I see their passion and I think I’ve lost mine. It’s been a while since I felt the excitement and passion I see in people just starting out on their life path. I remember it. But I don’t have it in my life right now. I haven’t for several years. I used to be where they are. I have been there three times. I suppose it adds up. Now when I have an interest in things, I look at them with an eye to the future. I realize that something I might find all-consuming now, I might be disinterested in 10 years down the line. It isn’t that I envy their passion. I just miss it.
I also feel very keenly that while they have all the time in the world to study and learn things and perfect their art/craft/profession… if I were to find something I could feel that unbridled passion for, I don’t have that kind of time. I no longer have all the time in the world. For the first time in my life, I feel the passage of time. I feel my own mortality. I feel my body slowly betraying me by slowing down when I want to run. I feel that there are things that I might want to do, places that I would like to see… that I won’t have time for.
I don’t regret the life I have lived so far. I have done things I loved. I’ve loved passionately. I’ve lived happily. But for the first time, I feel like I want… something different. I want to do something different. And I fear I won’t have all the time in the world to explore whatever that turns out to be.