Monday, October 17, 2011

A Pirate Looks at Forty

When I started to look back at my life and contemplate where I am in the journey at the age of forty, an event that could arguably be the middle of my life, I started to feel the tinge of depression.  I have worked so hard for so many years and yet, where am I in the scope of things?  I still struggle every day with my jobs, my family, my religion, my inner peace.  But then my mediation took another turn. 

Where am I? 

I am a high school drop-out who now has three college degrees. 

I am the husband that got married at seventeen years old, and that against all odds, am still married to the same person twenty-two years later, with four great kids. 

I am the outsider whose parents never owned a home until after I moved out, and am the proud owner of a humble, but sufficient abode located on a very small patch of ground just a few yards from where I spent my formidable years in a basement duplex sharing a room with my younger brother.

I am the smoker that picked up the habit while working a summer job at the age of fourteen and quit after the birth of my son. 

I am the drinker that started drinking very young, but gave it up around the same time as the smoking. 

I work two jobs, but I get my bills paid, I have insurance and a 401k, and I am able to provide some of the luxuries of life to my kids.  I don’t make a lot of money, but I make more than a lot of people do and feel that I am blessed to be able to have two full-time jobs when some people cannot find one good job. 

I am at peace with my relationship with my Heavenly Father, although I am having difficulty with my chosen religion and some of the people within it.  I have the mind set that each person has the right to think, feel, and act anyway they desire so long as it does not interfere with another persons ability to think, feel, and act in the manner that they choose to.  To each their own.  Live and let live.    

I still have the urges and desire for my vices, and occasionally they get the better of me, but I keep them under control and have so far been able to avoid re-introducing those habits into my daily life.   

We certainly struggle, but with the help of family and friends, we make it through.  Raising teenagers is much harder than I had imagined it, and everyday it presents new issues. 

I have a hobby that allows me to look at life and nature in a whole new way.  I love to take pictures.  I wish I had time for art school, but for right now, on the job training is teaching me how to better create stunning images.  I shoot various themes, but I love to shoot people.  I love to shoot the beauty and depth that is the human spirit.  Not everyone finds beauty in the shots I take, but I guess that is part of trying to find some sort of inner artist.

I worry about Christy’s health and how much longer her body is going to function, but I am committed to help her with whatever struggles are ahead.

I have many goals that intermix will my standard bucket type list;

I want to be to the point within the next two years where I am able to work just one full-time job.  This requires debts to be paid and advancements to be made, but I will be working toward this. 

I want to remodel my house to include a family room/studio built in the carport. 

I need a new camera, lenses and studio lighting. 

I want to spend more time with my kids doing things that we all love to do.

I want to go to Burning Man. 

I want my insurance to start covering weight loss surgery.

I want to spend more time with my brother and sister and their families.

I want to live long enough to collect the retirement that I work so hard for, and hope that the government does not find a way to take it all away before I get there.

I want to see all of my children graduate from high school, move out of my home, and have families of their own. 

The last forty have been tough and I certainly have regrets, but my trials have put me in the place where I am today.  I regret not spending more time getting to know my neighbors and then having them move and missing the times that we never had.  I regret the financial situation that I am now in that takes me away from family when they need me the most.    

I look at the next forty years with optimism.  I look forward to getting my house paid off and getting a little bit of a nest egg built up so that we, with a lot of luck, will be able to spend quality time with family and friends in retirement.  I value the relationships that I have with the few people that I have relationships with, and look forward to building relationships with more people as time moves on. 

I know that this post has been long and meandering.  Thank you for taking the time to read it, it is nice to know that there are those people in my life that care enough about me to take the time to muddle through my meandering thoughts to see if there was any logical statement of conclusion at the end.  Sorry to disappoint you, this is it.