Next month will be my forty fifth birthday. Lena says that my maturity topped out at age twelve — a number she arrived at because that is the last age (she estimates) that normal people stop thinking that peanut butter, jelly, and potato chip sandwiches are haute cuisine. Personally, I feel pretty much the same as I did when I was seventeen, but the point is that forty five years on the planet have done little to dim my enthusiasm for laughter, friends, gaming, and porn. (But not all at the same time.)
When I was seventeen I did not think I would ever be married, and I really thought that by now “3-D” movies would be holographic, But most importantly I had no idea what I wanted out of my life. I had no idea how to make myself happy.
And I was not happy. It took years of stumbling and trying to even begin to find the things that fit into the very obvious-shaped holes in my life. There were serious relationships that self-destructed in spectacular and violent ways, that we look back on now and heave a collective sigh of relief — and there were brief, seemingly chance meetings that grew into the most important of my life. (Lena is first among these, but don’t tell her or she’ll get a big head about it.)
The most important piece of the Me puzzle I did not have was what, exactly, I wanted to do with my life. What did I want to be? While I have never really believed in the theory of diminishing possibility, (if I wish to become a speargun-toting shark-hunter at ninety eight I will enroll in scuba classes and do it, dammit) I did have to admit that there were probably a few acrobatic/super-spy/ninja jobs that I might be growing out of the age-range for.
Then, seven or eight years ago, and with my wonderful wife’s blessing, I got fired from my job and became a househusband. (I am surprised and amused that my autocorrect did not flag that word.) And even better, I became an illustrator/author for my own webcomic series. This lasted for five and a half years, and taught me the second best thing I ever learned: I do not want to draw a webcomic for a living.
The first best thing? I love to write.
So now, at forty four and eleven twelfths, I finally know what it is I want to do. I finally have the pieces of Me arranged in something that looks like a full, and happy person. Yes, it took a long time, and yes, I kinda wish it had happened earlier. But you know what? If it had, and it had been the wrong time, I might have missed it. I wouldn’t have been ready.
So, for everyone out there who might have been in the same boat as I was, I am here to tell you, and to show you, that it isn’t always easy, and you should give yourselves a break. Relax. You aren’t supposed to know everything — not even about yourselves. Try stuff. Enjoy it. How do you think you’re supposed to know what you are going to love before you’ve done it?
And try the PBJ-potato chip sandwich. That you will love.