Well, I made it to 45. Interesting ride so far. Didn’t think I’d still feel so young, or at least young at heart by this time. Thinking back on 45 when I was in elementary school, I wondered which brand of wheelchair I’d be in instead of which workout I’m going to do at the gym.
So where am I now, and what have I done?
Been married to my best friend what will be 20 years this New Years Eve, I have a 16 year old son and a 14 yr old daughter that make me proud enough to burst and crazy enough to snap all in the span of 5 minutes. We live in a nice area of a nice town in central Jersey. Yeah, as a kid growing up in Long Island making fun of Joisey, never thought I’d end up here, but I really like it. I even went so far as to not date people from NY and NJ in college because I wanted to marry someone from MD, VA, or south So I went to school in Virginia, to meet a girl online in Houston who actually grew up 80 miles from me….in New Jersey.
For those who don’t know, I was at James Madison University in 1993 playing a game on the school computers that was a role playing, text based game based on the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey. Back then everything was telnet, Bulletin Boards, and Compuserve. It was all text based, black screen green type, old VAX machine stuff, and yet somehow, before the internet really existed, I made a connection online with a person in Houston who I ended up marrying a few years later.
I learned that I love scuba diving more than any other activity else I’ve ever experienced and yet I still live in NJ where there is next to no diving at all. I’ve seen colors and fish in the waters around Aruba that still take my breath away thinking back on them.
I have a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and loved teaching it for 3 years. I’ve studied martial arts for the last 20 years off and on, lately more off, but found that there’s something that connects me to western culture finding real peace when i’m moving through forms or sparring.
I got hit by a 26 foot delivery truck in my car and spun it 180 degrees, then flipped it 3 times travelling from the left shoulder to the right shoulder of a three lane highway and somehow walked away with glass in my hair, a wrecked car, coffee all over me, and what ended up needing minor surgery to fix my elbow. I’ve had both elbows operated on, I’ve had ‘the good’ skin cancer (13 yrs no issue) and lately I am in better shape because I went paleo and found out that I have celiac disease so now I eat no grains. I’ve had pneumonia, bronchitis, chicken pox, found out I have tinnitus and skin cancer, and I’m still walking around
I’ve had good jobs and horrible jobs, worked with great people, and nasty pieces of work, but through it all I’ve thankfully always learned something. I’ve travelled less than 10 minutes to one place that was 1.5 hours driving each way and into the city which was 2 hours each way, if I was lucky. The job I’m in now, my manager is fabulous and the prospects at this company are amazing, plus I’m only 15 minutes away. Now that I’m a manager of a full group of people who are all local (most of my former management exp has been consulting companies), I appreciate some of the hell I put some of my managers through so I believe I’m doing my pennance
I’ve made mistakes, learned from most of them, wasted a lot of time in certain periods of my life and paid for it in others. Would I go back and change anything?
Nah. I like me where I am now. There have definitely been some rough years in there, but we got through them and I think we’re all better for it. Am I where I want to be? No man, I don’t own that island yet that has the huge house on it that I go scuba diving every day, but I’ve corrected the mistakes I’ve made and put myself and the people I love on the right track and see where I need to go and what I need to do to get there. If I can get off my ass and finish my book, maybe this will be more of a reality
We’re on this planet for a finite period of time and then who knows what happens. I won’t say the next 45 years are going to be doing everything on my bucket list, but there’s a quote I like –
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW– What a Ride!”
I don’t see the next 45 years as me being reckless, but I think it’s going to be pretty fun, regardless