I started thinking a couple weeks ago about what, if anything, I wanted to write here on the blog regarding my 40th birthday (which was Tuesday, in case anyone is compiling a dossier). I've tried not to be a drag about it, but if you've been paying attention, you've probably picked up on the fact that I'm not too happy about reaching this particular milestone. My reasons are pretty unremarkable, even cliche'd, mid-life crisis stuff, which means they're probably utterly pathetic and boring to anyone who isn't me. So I won't bother to elaborate on them, beyond simply saying that I've been struggling for a while with a nagging sense that I've wasted a lot of time, energy, and money on unimportant crap instead of forging the life I used to think would somehow just happen. I realize that nobody's life turns out the way you imagine it will when you're a child or a teenager or even a college student, but it seems like a lot of folks at least end up in the right ballpark, even if they're not actually pitching the game. I don't feel like I have, and I know I've got no one to blame but myself. And that's not an easy thing to admit or accept. Even worse, I'm afraid I may have missed the window of opportunity, passed my peak without even realizing it had arrived, and now a lot of what I've always wanted simply isn't going to be possible.
But I said I wasn't going to bore you all with that stuff, and honestly, I'm not nearly as concerned with it now, two days after the calendar page turned over, as I was earlier in the summer. My depression and angst seemed to peak last week sometime, and I was actually in a pretty good mood on my birthday itself. For this, I thank my friends and loved ones, who all realized I was having a hard time and did their very best to cheer me up. My
coworker friend Diane surprised me with brownies and some nifty Bettie Page collectibles on Monday. My former coworker friend Amber surprised me with an Amazon gift card. Then there was the flood of good wishes from my various acquaintances on Facebook (I've been somewhat dubious of the sincerity of social networking "friendship," but I have to admit that each wall posting from old coworkers and classmates gave me a genuine boost). Anne, my lovely Girlfriend, was wonderful, of course, as were my parents. Anne's and my friends Dave and Sarah brought me a delicious homemade cheesecake.
And then there was the "present" I received from my old buddy Cheno. I don't know how funny this will be to anyone who doesn't know "The Dudes" -- i.e., the guys I worked with at the multiplex way back in the day, who are still somehow, improbably, my friends -- but it cracked me up:
In case you don't know what I look like, I'm the dashing bearded guy in the middle...