I am a 36-year-old man. Man might be stretching it, but as far as age goes I am a long way from being a mere boy. I am staring at 40 in the face as I creep up on my 37th birthday. I’ve lived through seven presidents, several map redesigns, a couple of wars and I lived through the beeper.
I have seen many things and I’ve experienced awful and amazing things. I’ve been to Europe, Africa and both Americas. I’ve been to college and I lived in Idaho. I’ve worn wacky polyester shirts and I’ve worn J-Crew. I’ve had every facial hair known to man including the Charlie Chaplin – which someone else made unfashionable for eternity.
I spent some time caring what others have thought about me and tried really hard to impress them. I have bought music, books and clothes just because I thought people would want me to. I have not experienced things because I was too closed-minded or thought people would not want me to. I have made fun of people for what they were into because I thought it would make me look better. I regret the times I let fear rule my cultural preferences.
I have fallen in love, been broken up with, cheated on, dumped, broke hearts, got my heart broken, had extremely inappropriate sex, made decisions based on a woman that I regretted later and spent very few days not being involved in one way or another with a woman. I have dated women that on paper would be a therapist’s nightmare and I’ve dated women that my mother was proud of. I’ve dated cutters, pukers, starvers, coke-heads, sex addicts, depressed & anxious, angry, over-achievers & under-achievers, professionals, young and I’ve dated girls that were none of those and extremely boring.
I’ve had lots of jobs and spent time not working. I’ve done just school, just working and worked while I was at school while resenting those that just went to school. I’ve worked in radio, at a hardware store, slung coffee, rolled pizza dough, scooped gelato, managed a café, sold plumbing fixtures, was a line cook, planted trees on the shoulder of Mt. Hood, built fences, decks & tree houses, phoned people to take a 45 minute sociology survey and I am now a bartender. I wanted to be a therapist, a cartoonist, comic book artist, a painter, a journalist, a radio broadcaster; a psychiatrist, a drug & alcohol counselor and now I want to be a writer. I have been scared of every single one of those career goals.
I have been mostly poor. I have never had a hunger for money. I get a little self-conscience when I have to ask my parents for help still. Sometimes I get tired of waiting for my next paycheck and decide it’s time to throw away what I love doing and get a grown up job and sell houses or insurance, but I know that I would watch my soul seep into the atmosphere.
I love books. I’ve read a lot of books and will never feel I’ve read enough. Sometimes I’ve read a bad book and it takes awhile to get going again. Other times I read a book so good that it takes awhile to find a book that doesn’t pale in comparison. I read everything from classic literature, modern fiction, poetry, history, religious & theology, sci-fi & fantasy, biographies and I will read the back of a cereal box or shampoo bottle if I need to. I love magazines. I love their layouts and the way the writers construct their essays. I subscribe to Playboy and Harper’s. I’ve always wanted to start a magazine.
I’ve been told all my life to be a comedian. I sometimes think about it, but I like writing it more. I’m not generally scared of standing up in front of a bunch of people and having them not laugh, but it would be a doozy on my self-esteem. Sometimes I get mad when people quote from comedians because I feel like I’m funnier. A lot of the time I am.
I’m politically less involved than I’ve been. When I was younger I was involved with Anarchists, Socialists, the Democratic Party and would argue anyone even if it was me eve dropping on your discussion at a coffee shop. Yes, the world is fucked up and it could do with some change, but hanging up my argue hat was the best thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes people will say something and I’ll have to reach up and put the hat back on. I don’t worry about revolution because it’ll be memes and posts on social networks and it’ll never spill into the street. I sometimes will watch news footage from Egypt, Syria or wherever there is a people’s push for change and I get jealous that we Americans aren’t a tad bit more passionate about politics. Not that I want bricks to be thrown or people getting shot in the face with tear gas grenades, but a gathering of people that just won’t take it anymore. Occupy Wall Street was soooooo close, but it was destroyed by laziness, drugs and not being on the same page on what it was all about.
I don’t know what kids are talking about anymore. I have to look up phrases and acronyms on the Internet all the time. Sometimes I see young girls and I blush from what they are wearing. I don’t understand some of the music that kids listen to. It doesn’t seem very good. I am confused by drama. I don’t feel that anything kids do these days is at all relevant. It’s like they saw the culture that my generation had made and the previous generations had fought to create and said no thanks, we’ll be mindlessly dancing at discos, thank you.
I happen to know that I’m in love. I happen to know that there are huge differences in what I thought love was before and what love is now – I still could be wrong about everything. I find that the same things that annoyed before do not annoy me. I happen to know that I feel the same as she does and there isn’t that awkward feeling of over or under loving. While I miss her when she’s gone, I don’t obsess over what she’s doing, who she’s talking to or if she is going to forget I exist. She is someone that I feel like we’re dancing when we’re hanging out, a ballet of opening doors, walking, cooking and working on our own personal projects in the same room. I can be exactly who I am and feel exactly the way I feel and I don’t feel like I’m doing something wrong or I’m not what is expected of me. I am just right. She is just right.
I’ve gotten old and I’ve put myself closer to who I am. I am doing what I like and being who I am with comfort. I write when I can, draw when I have time, peruse the internet when I have a few minutes, try to be a wonderful boyfriend, son, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew, friend, sponsor, sponsee and worker if I can remember to. I still have a lot of fun staring at walls and drifting into dreamscapes and fantasy worlds. Sleep come and goes. I smoke now, but I’ll quit soon. I play softball with enough competiveness to do well, but not too much where I become an asshole. I read the news and cluck my tongue at the mess the world is in while rolling my eyes at your reaction to it on Facebook. I am happiest at twilight and have a love for the comfort of coffee.
Everything is going to be okay and I still have things I want to do. I will travel, publish books, discover new music, see art and learn something new everyday. I will try to stay open-minded and experience new things while not caring what others think of me. Age has been the biggest end to my care-what-others-think, so I’ll care less and less as I get older and older. I will continue to love baseball and classical music.
I am alive.